6 Photo Editing tips for Everyone:
1. In-Camera Editing
Before you even upload your photos into your computer consider taking some steps to pre-edit yourself. Double check that you're taking photos in enough light, avoid using flash if at all possible, and stand in the open shade not in the harsh sun when outside. Make sure you get everything you want in focus, focused. Take several shots of everything you're photographing, not just one.
2. Uploading Photos
When you're uploading your photos try keeping each set of photos in an appropriately named folder, and ensure that the file names are descriptive to what the photos contain. I promise you're going to forget what IMG_0101010101 means in two seconds, rename them all. This will streamline your editing process, and make everything easier to find in the future. Bonus points that it will help you pop up in search engines more often too!
3. Edit then Delete
I don't recommend deleting any photos until you've had a chance to edit the entire batch first. You never know how a photo will look once you've tweaked the rough edges, and cropped it perfectly. I've been known to fall head over heels in love with an over exposed photo, or a blurry one. So be still, and let each photo have it's chance to shine. Once you've gone through the entire batch that's when I recommend trashing the unusable, or unflattering ones. It is important to delete those photos, because ultimately they're taking up precious space on your computer.
4. Crop, Snip, Zoom
Speaking of cropping things perfectly, that's my next editing tip. Not only is the exposure, sharpness, and over feel important, but so is the way you frame your photo. You can do some cropping in camera- by getting closer to your subject, shooting the details, and stepping back to get a wider view. But, you might also want to crop your photo once in your computer too. Try to think about your photos as a body of work, are you able to say everything you want to say with your images? Maybe you need to crop out some visual noise, or maybe your photo would be more interesting if you only showed half that bowl of fruit instead of the whole thing. Photography is art, express yourself.
5. Filter Magic
Whether you're using a photo editing program on your computer or one online (PicMonkey is pretty great), when using filters decrease the amount of saturation they have on your photo. Most filters are set-up to process all photos the same, meaning they're going to be the most intense version of themselves, but you may only need a little vignetting or a slight yellowing effect to make the photo pop. Decrease the amount of filter you're using to keep photos looking fresh, natural, and professional looking. Note: If you like more dramatic photos go for full saturation, I support your creative rights!
6. Size Does Matter
Before you put your photos online, or print off an image, let's talk about size. I always save my images twice. Once in a larger format for future print uses, and once in a smaller more blog friendly size. Printing photos require a larger resolution than say Facebook albums, and once you downsize a photo you're going to lose details if you blow it back up. So if you one day want to print a photo larger than 2"x3" I suggest saving your photos as large as possible. For online use I resize all of my images to a more manageable 800px wide, this way my images are still a higher resolution but don't take up huge amounts of space on my blog.
I'm fairly new at this whole photography thing, and have only owned a DSLR for two years, so I'm learning as I go too. It's been fun to challenge and push myself with my photo takng skills and I'm honored that so many of you have emailed/commented asking questions about my process. I would never call myself an expert, so your input is always appreciated.
I think one additional thing worth mentioning is that all photos could use a little editing. Cameras are machines and can't capture the emotions, light, and overall feeling of experience that comes with living. Photos directly out of the camera aren't "finished," they're waiting for you to come in and add that life spark. I hope you found these tips useful, I'm looking forward to sharing more photography tips with you in the near future. big kiss, bekuh