Editing techniques every photographer should know

Ever heard of the camera calibration panel in Lightroom?

Most people haven’t, and the people who have often ignore it. Camera calibration settings determine
how Lightroom will process RAW files, but this is beside the point.
There are many small things we can do to improve our photos, it Is just a matter of knowing these techniques and software features.

This list of editing techniques every photographer should know has both beginner and advanced tips to help you become a better photo editor. There are many features of editing programs that can be extremely useful in streamlining your editing process and making your photos look better. However, many people are either not aware of these features or simply choose to ignore them.



For you professionals out there, this is going to be head-scratchingly obvious, but it is an important tip, especially for beginners. Most cameras come set default to shoot in JPEG format, and if you are the type of person who simply shoots in automatic mode, then you probably never noticed this. RAW files capture all the data in the camera’s sensor, which means you will have much greater control over what you can change in editing.

JPEG files are much more difficult to edit; essentially, what you see in the photo is what you get; you won’t be able to change much about the photo once it is taken.

RAW files do consume much more memory (usually around 30 megabytes) than JPEG files meaning you will be able to take far less photos, but the trade off is worth it. If you must, buy a larger SD card or an extra one to carry around with you to make up for a lack of storage space.


Use Shortcuts

When hundreds or even thousands of photos are on the editing lineup, seconds begin to add up into minutes and then hours. Learning the various shortcuts in your editing program can help cut down on your edit time per photo. It is somewhat annoying to learn, but the shortcuts will stick with practice, especially if you are constantly editing. If you’re really having trouble, make some flashcards! This can save you the time of googling what that one annoyingly long shortcut was.

Calibrate Your Monitor

There is nothing worse than putting in hours into one photo and then having it printed, only to find it looks nothing like it did on your computer. Monitor calibration is an important part of photo editing because it ensures that your colors and black levels are correct and true to life. Some computers have built in tools that will allow you to perform a basic monitor calibration; however, these are only ideal if you have a tight budget (or if you don’t have a budget at all) as they do a very basic and simple calibration.

Play Around With Presets (Lightroom)

If you are a Lightroom user, then you may have noticed the array of presets on the left side of the develop module. These can play a valuable role in streamlining your editing process. The presets are not just glorified Instagram filters, they provide powerful quick edits that can easily be undone. The advantage of presets is that they are easy to apply, allowing you to perform edits that will radically change your photo with a single click. If you hate the edit, then undoing it is no more difficult than another single click.

Play around with the color and grain presets, they can be extremely helpful and may turn your photo into exactly what you envisioned.

Read more

Do Not Oversaturate!

We’ve all seen them, and most of us hate them. Oversaturated photos may look decent to your tired worn out eyes, but they look terrible to the rest of us. It is really easy for our eyes to adjust to the blown out colors while editing, only to realize later how awful the saturation really is.

Oversaturation is painful on viewer’s eyes and really should be avoided at all costs unless you are trying to make an artistic statement.

It is sometimes a good idea to take a break from editing and then come back to look over your photos with a fresh set of eyes. You will likely pick up on errors with your brightness and saturation, especially if your monitor was not calibrated for photo editing.

That being said, do not under-saturate either.

Read more