Tips for editing my photos?

nval1d

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Hello :)
My name is Stuart, and I'm 16 years old.
Just got into photography with an actual DSLR this past summer.
I came here looking for some help/tips for editing my photos.
I see so many instagram accounts that have this "hipster" like theme to them. Super saturated, not a lot of color, grainy, etc. It basically looks like it wasn't shot on a very good camera. But that theme just isnt for me.
But anyway, take Elizabeth Gadd for example Breathe
her photos are great, but sun rays don't look like that.
Basically I want to know how they do these types of photos. I've been using Lightroom for the most part, but can never get them looking great.
Here are a couple examples that I already have in my imgur
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet (Not very focused I know)
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

Any help would greatly be appreciated :)
 
First travel to an exotic place - then apply years of photo experience to capture the scene. Then use Lightroom and Photoshop to make it spectacular.
I think the photos by Ms. Gadd are done in HDR (High Dynamic Range) and finished in Photoshop.
 
First travel to an exotic place - then apply years of photo experience to capture the scene. Then use Lightroom and Photoshop to make it spectacular.
I think the photos by Ms. Gadd are done in HDR (High Dynamic Range) and finished in Photoshop.
Well, I don't have enough money to travel to very many "exotic places" xD
 
Well...I mean, I hate to be contradictory, but sun rays can look like that if shot from the perfect position at the perfect time of day.

That being said, I have seen people "paint in" sun rays in Photoshop by layering a brighter exposure of the image, masking it, and then "painting" in the light in the areas they want it to be.

I think the difference you're seeing between your photos and hers, however, have less to do with editing and more to do with an understanding of light and composition.

Her compositions are beautiful. You know exactly what the subject is and your eye is drawn to it. She has a great use of negative space and knows how to balance every object in the photo.

Many of her photos are taken at sunset, during the "golden hour." She makes sure her subject is well-lit in a flattering light.

There is undoubtedly a great deal of editing going on with her photos, likely even some composites. However, I think your photos would benefit more from an in-depth study of light and composition than from learning new editing techniques.

If you would like critique on a few of your photos, you can post them in the correct forum with a request for critique. It's better to post your photos in the thread, rather than a link. (But when posting work from other photographers, you should post a link and not the photo, as you correctly did here.) Getting honest feedback is a great way to develop your skills.
 
Well...I mean, I hate to be contradictory, but sun rays can look like that if shot from the perfect position at the perfect time of day.

That being said, I have seen people "paint in" sun rays in Photoshop by layering a brighter exposure of the image, masking it, and then "painting" in the light in the areas they want it to be.

I think the difference you're seeing between your photos and hers, however, have less to do with editing and more to do with an understanding of light and composition.

Her compositions are beautiful. You know exactly what the subject is and your eye is drawn to it. She has a great use of negative space and knows how to balance every object in the photo.

Many of her photos are taken at sunset, during the "golden hour." She makes sure her subject is well-lit in a flattering light.

There is undoubtedly a great deal of editing going on with her photos, likely even some composites. However, I think your photos would benefit more from an in-depth study of light and composition than from learning new editing techniques.

If you would like critique on a few of your photos, you can post them in the correct forum with a request for critique. It's better to post your photos in the thread, rather than a link. (But when posting work from other photographers, you should post a link and not the photo, as you correctly did here.) Getting honest feedback is a great way to develop your skills.
By the sun ray thing I meant like how they look absolutely perfect.
Thanks for the tips
 
I agree with cheryl. Gadd has an amazing control of composition and light, and her work is an excellent example of "learn the foundation then you can break the rules." One of the general rules new photographers learn is to not make your subject so small that it washes away. You see the exact opposite with Gadd's work. She draws your eyes immediately to the person, no matter how small, and she does that the best in these photos when her subjects are well juxtaposed.

Editing and pp are just the cherries on top.
 
Try to compose in camera. Focus on composition, lighting and simple subject. I would say post-processing is the least important. It will come to you with experience.
 
Hate to burst your bubble, but I've seen both those lighting conditions, fairly often, around here. Iowa. Not real exotic.

To critic the pictures you've posted, a number of them are not using the light. The light is just where it is. You aren't taking the picture from the angle that best uses the light, or the lighting conditions aren't doing what they are doing in Gladd's photos. Specific comments:

Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet Here the light is very harsh. The sun is at a high angle. Note the angle of the sun in Gladd's photo's. You'll never get spectacular pictures this time of day, with the sun at this angle.

Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet Note how the rock formation (castle?) in the foreground, on the left, is lit. Shadows. Now imagine this same picture with that rock structure lit the same way Gladd's photo's are lit.

Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet I think there is something to be said for shooting in "flat" light like this. However, you are shooting a black and white bird, on light gray trees, on a gray, overcast day. Contrast is what creates beauty. Look at Gladd's pictures. See how a single vibrantly colored subject can pop? Imagine if your bird were a red cardinal or a bluebird instead...

Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet This is potentially a really great picture. I feel like the composition lets it down. There are several strong elements to the picture, and they all compete for attention and the result is sort of a confusing, jumbled scene where I'm not sure where to look. I find myself asking "what is the subject here??". Now look at Gladd's pictures. Is there any doubt in your mind what the subject of the picture is???

Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet Ok neat sunflare. Again what's the subject? Do I look at the sun or the fire? Imagine this photo from the other side of the man stirring the fire. Instead of being backlight, he's draped in golden sunshine.

Anyway, I'm not trying to nitpick but just trying to point out some of the differences. You can bet Gladd doesn't just snap random photos to get them to look like that. They are shot with purpose. They are composed. The scene is probably scouted for days before those pictures were taken, to see what the lighting conditions are and to find the right camera position and lense selection. It's all done deliberately.
 
Hello :)
My name is Stuart, and I'm 16 years old.
Just got into photography with an actual DSLR this past summer.
I came here looking for some help/tips for editing my photos.
I see so many instagram accounts that have this "hipster" like theme to them. Super saturated, not a lot of color, grainy, etc. It basically looks like it wasn't shot on a very good camera. But that theme just isnt for me.
But anyway, take Elizabeth Gadd for example Breathe
her photos are great, but sun rays don't look like that.
Basically I want to know how they do these types of photos. I've been using Lightroom for the most part, but can never get them looking great.
Here are a couple examples that I already have in my imgur
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet (Not very focused I know)
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

Any help would greatly be appreciated :)


I am always puzzled, and surprised, when people ask how someone else did something. Why don't you ask her?

That said, she seems to be a one-trick pony: All the images are of a model in a long dress near the center of the frame. Not much variation on that. Nothing really to marvel at. She knows just what she wants to do, and how to do it. But it's the same thing one after another.

But I can't leave you without Bob Schwalberg's remark on Ansel Adams:

"It's definitely not true to say that if you seen one Ansel Adams, you've seen them all.

But if you've seen two, you've seen them all."
 
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