Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
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. 

 E0A8662s by drifterManifesto

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.

 T5a7227s by drifterManifesto

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.

 T5A6645s by drifterManifesto T5A2955s by drifterManifesto

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!
aimeezhou Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Thanks so much for sharing with us, this is great :)
blondBearded Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014
thanks for sharing
androidman Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
i must say i read your entry with interest, nodding to the fact of the 'stonewall effect' when asking photographers about 'look'

every photographer has their own style, which some spend years perfecting and treasuring.  i should say guarding too.. i think in the digital age settings and filters are just as part of the style of the photographer and as such are so guarded.

i have hit the same wall many times, now i just do things for myself..

i have trained others to be photographers, to learn to see and to grow their own style, tricks and training are just as important in the digital age as they were in the film days.  The snobbery of photography is alive and well...
Add a Comment:

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
January 11, 2014


8,580 (8 today)
2 (who?)