Photography for Beginners: Editing
Over the last few days, I’ve sent you the very basics of getting started selling your photos, including:
Today, let’s talk about basic photo editing. Just about every photo you plan to sell should go through at least the very basic edits to correct for color, crop, straighten the horizon, or clean up other issues. You’d be surprised what three minutes of editing can do for your photos (you’ll see examples in the articles below).
I do about 98% of my photo editing in Adobe Lightroom. It’s what both professional photographers Rich Wagner and Shelly Perry use, and it’s become the industry standard. I love Lightroom because it’s easy to use, it does everything you need for stock (besides removing logos), and it also acts as a catalog for your photos, for easy sorting and organizing.
I sometimes (though rarely) use Adobe Photoshop for removing logos or making other small edits to my photos.
But before I get into the specifics of editing, let me back up for a second because one thing you should know about processing is that the process for editing your photos is different for different photo markets.
- STOCK: All photos that you submit for sale as stock need to be processed. But all your processing should be kept to a minimum. You’ll want to inspect them at 100% before and after processing to make sure that there’s no artifacting or degradation in quality — and that’s what sometimes makes stock photography frustrating. (More on that in a minute.
- FINE ART: For fine art prints, you can edit them however you want. Get creative or simply correct for color. It’s up to you. If you like the end result, and want to hang the photo on your wall at home, then it’s likely someone else will want to, too.
- EDITORIAL: Editorial is tricky because you can’t alter the inherent “truth” of the photo. You can’t remove street signs, trash or logos. And you shouldn’t alter colors or change anything else that makes the photo different from what your eyes saw when you took it. That said, your camera isn’t really capable of capturing colors in their true vibrancy straight from the scene, so you should do a little processing to recreate the image as you saw it. Especially if you’re doing a travel story for a big, colorful glossy magazine. You’ll want your colors to pop, so you’ll most likely need some touch-ups.
I’m going to include a few articles from our archives on processing below. But when I started collecting these, I realized that it can be overwhelming to see them all in one place. So, let’s back up again and talk about what you’re doing here…
First things first — none of the below articles matter if you’re not getting out on a regular basis taking pictures. Next week, I’ll send you some articles about taking the kinds of pictures that sell best as fine art, magazine photos, and stock.
Once you have a collection of photos, then you can come back to this article and figure out how to process and edit them for the market where they belong.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything now. Getting the picture is the hardest part. All this other stuff will fall into place once you have the right photos to sell.
And if you’re still confused, I promise not to leave you stranded. Rich is working on the Lazy Man’s Guide to Getting Started that I told you about earlier this week and last. And I’m thinking about putting together a workshop for beginners, too — a place where you can get individual feedback on your work so you know where to start.
In the meantime, here are a few articles from our archives on processing…
FROM OUR ARCHIVES:
When you’re ready to start editing your photos, here are some articles that will help you get started quickly and easily.
TIPS FOR EDITING PHOTOS WITH LIGHTROOM
- If you’re not yet familiar with Lightroom, here’s a video that’ll give you a good introduction. It’s from a couple of years ago — you’ll notice that Rich mentions the Ultimate Money-Making Photo Workshop in New Orleans — but the information is still relevant: Introduction to Lightoom
- Here’s an article on sorting your images using Lightroom… the first step, even before you start editing: Sorting photos in Lightroom
- If you’re shooting for stock, each image will need at least a very basic edit. Here’s an article from professional photographer Shelly Perry: Basic, three-minute editing in Lightroom
- How to remove small issues like dust specks in Lightroom
- Here’s how to get creative effects in your photos with a simple mouse-click using Lightroom Presets: Lightroom presets
TIPS FOR EDITING PHOTOS WITH PHOTOSHOP
- When you shoot photos for stock, they have to be completely “clean.” What that means is stock agencies won’t take any photos with logos in them. Here’s how to use Photoshop to “remove” logos and other things from your photos: Removing logos from images with Photoshop Remember: Removing logos and otherwise altering photos is acceptable for stock and fine art, but not for editorial images.
- If you don’t have Lightroom, but you do have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, here’s a “basic editing” process that should work for you: Basic editing
- You can color-correct much easier in Lightroom, but again, if you only have Photoshop: Photoshop Tip: Making Color Corrections
- And one on correcting over-exposed photos in Photoshop (again, this is easier to do in Lightroom): Correcting over-exposed photos
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]