Simplifying Photo Editing

As part of our simplifying photography series, I have the lovely Jessie Nelson on the blog today! Jessie is a professional photographer and Mama to two precious boys. 

Make sure to check out Nelson Notes for additional photography tips plus Theodora’s post on how to protect your photos.

Hi!  My name is Jessie and I’m the voice behind the blog, Nelson Notes.  I’m a wife to a mountain biking sportsman, mama to two busy little boys, sunshine worshiper, musician, and photographer.  My blog is the canvas I use to tell our family’s story.  Between the pictures and words, to me it’s a work of art.

Today I want share a few tips and tricks with you about speeding up your post-processing workflow so you can get those pictures up on the web quickly and leave more time for living.

I use Lightroom 5 for 90% of my photo editing.

It’s an incredible computer program that has sped up my workflow and I think has improved my finished photo product.  Unless you’re a professional photographer or need to do some heavy and intricate editing (that’s what Photoshop is for), Lightroom is the perfect work horse for bloggers.  Plus, it’s relatively cheap!

That said,  I think many of these tips will apply to other photo editing programs as well.  Let’s get started!

1.  Cull, cull, cull.  Cull means to choose your best pictures and get rid of the rest.  Think of it as a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ deal: keep or don’t keep.  In this age of digital photography, we often take many more pictures than is necessary to tell our story.  I always have a hard time choosing which photos to keep (they’re all so cute!) and usually do two or three rounds of culling before I start editing.  Yes, this ultimately SAVES TIME! 

Lightroom has this wonderful little button that allows me to compare multiple pictures side by side.  I begin by rating my favorites with one star.  Then I compare all of my one star photos and rate the best of those with two stars.  Simple!

 ^^The ‘compare’ button and my stars are circled in red.  Notice I am in Library mode.^^

2.  Presets are your friend.  There are certain things I do to every single photograph: increase contrast and vibrance, use a little noise reduction, add a slight vignette, and more.  Because I do these things to every photograph, I made myself a preset, or set of actions.  I push one button and all these things are applied to my photo.  I can then tweak the exposure and temperature in just a few seconds before applying any ‘heavy’ editing, such as using a brush tool or changing it to black and white.  Easy!  Each photo on my blog usually takes me a minute or less to edit.  Luckily, there are thousands of presets/actions/filters available on the inter-webs to utilize.

Also, this next part is exciting!  When I have the edited look I want on one photo but also have two or three others taken in similar light (because I just couldn’t bring myself to cull them), Lightroom allows me to apply all of that work to those other photos by clicking the ‘sync’ button.  Amazing!  One button.  Boom.  Everything done.

 ^^The arrow points to one of my favorite presets I made for myself.  I use that in conjunction with the tabs on the right side to get the look I want in each photo.^^

3.  Save and sharpen for the web.  I’ve found this is a photo editing ‘secret’ that not many folks are aware of.  Not only does this step make your photos appear sharper on the screen, but it saves you a lot of time uploading to the web and a ton of memory space!

When exporting your photos from Lightroom (or saving in Photoshop, etc.), resize your pictures anywhere from 600pixels to 1200pixels on the long side, depending on how wide your blog is.  Choose sRGB color mode and sharpen for screen.  Easy!  Note: Be sure to save full size copies to your computer too because pictures that are made especially for the web are often too small for printing well. 

 I hope this information helps someone out there.  Please be friendly and stop by to say ‘hi’.  I love “meeting” new friends.


6 Comment

  1. Lisa C says: Reply

    I've used Lightroom before and just never really mastered it. I'll have to give it another go.

    1. I know what you mean re Lightroom, and I too haven't mastered it but I'm going to also give this ago using Jessie's tips!

  2. I'm using lightroom as well and I love that you can just copy paste the edited stuff. I also want to master it 🙂

  3. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I will have to look into Lightroom 5.

  4. Thank you for cohosting and for the info. I have photoshop, but have yet to go though it all, looks great, will have to spend some time at it.
    from the link up
    please stop by, jess

  5. Very exclusive sharing so far! I just learned all this simply editing process as well. Can't wait to try this now. Thanks for this allocation and hope will come in this site in near future.
    Photo editing services

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