So a bunch of people have asked me how I edit my photos and how I get my "look". When I was just starting to do photos, I asked a whole bunch of photographers how they edit and I was met with silence, hostility and deliberately unhelpful responses that meant nothing; "oh wow how did you do that?", "Just a little from column A and a little from column B". Without knowing any better and with no one to guide me, I went through an embarrassing period of selective colouring, excessive vignetting, fake lens flares and worse! So for those who asked, I'm sorry I haven't responded sooner, I'm not being secretive, I'm just a bit lazy. Anyway, photography related jargon incoming.
To be honest I don't really have one main way of doing edits. Recently, I've been trying not to edit my pics too much. I've seen many photos ruined with over editing, many of them my own. While editing is no substitute for getting it right in camera, it can help. Most of the time the more noticeable edits happen in Lightroom. I push contrast and tweak the highlight and shadows and aside from cropping, that's normally it. Sometimes that's all a photo needs, otherwise I'll adjust it a little more in Photoshop.
In Photoshop all the edits I do are on adjustment layers. I generally use curves to adjust colour (though I'm leaning more towards the channel mixer these days). I tend to prefer S shaped curves and I'll often mess around with the blue channel and sometimes the red channel too. I never touch the green channel, I can never seem to make it look good, so I never use it. I do have a bunch of self made presets that I tend to favour. I used to use curves to achieve that popular low contrast look, but I now use the exposure tool (I mess with the offset and the gamma correction). Selective colour is super useful also, but normally I use it in conjunction with a mask.
Frequently I will use a channel mixer set on monochrome with the blending mode on soft light to adjust the lighting/colours. Once I get a look I like, I'll pull the opacity of this layer back a bit. I really like the looks that can be achieved with this technique. This is also how I do B/Ws. Layer order is very important when you're using blending modes, mine usually look something like this (from the top): Channel mixer, Exposure, Curves, Burn layer, Dodge Layer and finally the Image layer.
This is the general gist of how I get things done in Photoshop. There are a million little things I've learnt along the way. But I wont go into them now. That said, I'm happy to share my tricks with anybody who wants to know. And if anyone has some good tips, maybe you could show me a thing or two
Thanks for all the support guys!