A poll I put up on Twitter said you guys wanted to know how I edit my imagery, so here we go.
As mentioned in my ‘Equipment I Use’ blog post, I use an app called Snapseed to edit my imagery. All editing takes place on my mobile phone (or tablet). I do this as its an easier way for me to edit and then upload to my Instagram and/or Twitter.
After transferring the images to my phone from my camera through the PlayMemories app, I will select which image I wish to edit since I take multiple images of the same subject. Taking multiple images sometimes means slight differences between images that makes all the difference for a great image. For this example, I will use the image below I took whilst at Hamsterley Forest, England.
I first open the image I wish to edit in Snapseed, simply selecting it from my device gallery. Although the image is good in terms of composition, capturing the sunset between the trees, the colour is lost and makes the image not as great as I wished for. As it was golden hour when I took this, I wish to emphasise the golden glow of this hour.
I first decided to straight the image as it was at a slight tilt. Most of my imagery follows the Rule of Thirds (which I will go into in a later post). To do this I selected the ‘Rotate’ tool from the ‘Tools’ menu.
Following the Rule of Thirds technique, straightening the image helps it look more uniform and more appealing to look at. It also helps keep the sunset as the focus of the image, with complementing features such as the path on the right and the trees surrounding it. To use this tool simply drag the bar at the top.
Now the composition has been improved, it’s time to improve the colours of the image. To do so I used the tool ‘Tune Image’.
This tool lets you improve things like; brightness, saturation, highlights, shadows, and so forth. I can’t give definite numbers on what you should use for each option, it’s simply a technique of messing around until you like the results. Again, to use this tool drag bar the across the top and to change what element you are editing click the bars icon on the bottom navigation bar.
For this image, as the colour was lost, I improved the saturation to make the colours brighter and bolder. Along with this, I also increased the brightness and decreased the contrast to also make the image brighter. ‘Ambience’ is one of my favourite options to use when editing an image as it refers to editing the light in the image. This more than often improves the image greatly in terms of making it brighter and making the colours bolder.
I recommend saving your image here before adding a watermark to have a clean copy of your work. Watermarking your images ensures the protection of your work from others and to show it belongs to you. There are a variety of ways to watermark your work, but I typically just place my brand name somewhere on the image that isn’t too visible to distort the image but a way to indicate to me it’s mine if it ever got stolen.
To do so select the ‘Text’ tool from the menu. You may have to scroll down the menu to find this tool. From here, you can enter whatever text you’d like to be on the image. In this case my brand-name Bunneelens. I typically place my watermark in either the bottom left or right corner of the image. I then edit the saturation of the watermark, so it is visible but not distorting the image in anyway. This is also a good way to trick those who may steal your images as they may miss your watermark. There are also options to change the colour of the text if needed.
The image below is the final result and what was eventually uploaded to my Instagram account.
On the other hand, you may take imagery that doesn’t require that much editing as the shot was beautifully taken and your skills were A+ that day. In these cases, I tend to leave the image as raw as I can with the addition of a watermark to protect my work. For this example, I will use the image I took at Logan Botanic Gardens, Scotland, of a Japanese Camellia flower.
Luck was on my side this day and the photography gods let me take a beautiful shot which shows detail of rain drops from the earlier downpour but also the bright colour of the flower itself. The only editing that took place was slight cropping to improve composition and the addition of a watermark in the bottom left corner.
In most cases however, with all the editing you could possibly do, a good image is down to how you take it. Some may say it’s down the camera but thanks to some of my favourite photographers, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi proving that camera isn’t everything in this Photography Challenge video, I’ve learnt it it’s down to you and your skills.
I hope these tips give you an insight on how to improve your imagery, and if you have any questions feel free to ask.