Recently I feel like my blog pictures have stepped up their game a little *blows own trumpet proper hard*. Personally I think it’s a mixture a things but one of the main reasons is the change in how I edit my pictures, so I thought I would share how I edit my blog photos with you. Previously I was using iPhoto or PicMonkey but was getting frustrated with the lack of options they offered. So I asked trusty ol’ Google to find me a new free photo editing suite and I haven’t looked back.
Around 6 months ago I start using Polaar to edit my images and after a couple of tries and a fair few swears we are now here; and here is beautiful bright white images (in my opinion, you all might think they look like shiz). I love the simplicity of Polaar and the Photoshop like options it gives you without been too overwhelming or scary. Oh, and it’s free so there’s always that. Now I’m in a place where I can look at my images and think ‘yeah, that’s kinda nice’ I thought I would share with you my editing process on a couple of recent pictures I took.
DISCLAIMER – I am in no way saying this is how you should do it, my pictures are awesome and f**k y’all. I am just passing on an awesome editing site and showing you how I use it. Plus showing you the before images so you can get a good idea of the difference. You do you and what not.
I will import all my pictures that are relevant to one post, then click each one to see which ones I think I can edit nicely and see which ones are crap and shall never see the light of day. Some of the ones I keep to edit will still look pants after editing, but I have more or less mastered the art of spotting the crap ones before wasting my time editing them.
Although I have a grid screen and spirit level on my camera when I am taking my blog photos I still always get images that need to be straighten, so that’s the my first job when I select a picture to edit. Once I have an image lined how I want, whether that be straight or totally off the line I then start cropping. I personally like my images to be cropped close-ish, with the focus item slightly off centre. In photography there is something called the Rule of Thirds, which is basically that the eye is drawn to the outer edges of an image and not the centre, so lining images slightly off centre works well for me.
Despite having 2 soft box lights and taking my images in front of a giant double balcony door my images still come out a little dark and dull; mainly because I take them on an evening now instead of wasting all my weekend chasing natural light around the house. Due to the dullness I get cracking in the Polaar Adjustments tab. I start with the BASICS section and increase the brightness from between 4-10, add a teeny tiny bit of exposure and up the contrast to around 6 points more than what I did the brightness to.
From there I usually want to remove the grey scale of the white areas in my image, so use the DYNAMICS section to do so. This section is always pretty much the same for me, I up the Highlights to the late 20s, and the Whites to around the mid 30s early 40s. If this then makes the colours distort, such as faded or lacking a pop I lower the Black to add some depth back in, and up the saturation to give the true colour back. This step really helps to give a true reflection of the whiteness and colour I saw in real life when taking the image, so you basically have a true life image now and can start the editing process to add more.
As my image looks ‘real life’ at this stage I now make it look a whole lot brighter. SHINE BRIGHT IMAGE, SHINE BRIGHT. At the bottom of the Adjustments page there is a section called ‘Curves’, I go in to there and click on the current line about 3/4 of the way up, then drag it higher and to the left or right depending on how bright I want the image & how much this effects the product colours. You can also pull the line down from about 1/4 of the way up to add back your colour, but I tend to do this via the saturation part.
Curves in editing are all about the tones of an image, so you can add brighter tones, increase of decrease each colour section (R, G, B). Points on the lower left darken, and points on the higher right lighten, in simple terms. I don’t profess to know much about Curves, I just know what works for my images and I have played with the feature A LOT.
Now if the highlighting and brightening from the Curves tool has blurred my image slightly I can use the DETAILS and ATMOSPHERE sections to add in some clarity and sharpness. For me there is no set rule I use here, it all depends how the image is looking after the previous edits, some don’t need this part and some do. If they do need it I have never had to up it to more than 6/7 on the scale.
This isn’t really an editing step, but to stop your image from being distorted on saving and upload always reduce the image size to that of your template constraint (mine is 800px). I then save the file as a PNG image and not a JPG. Why? Well when saved a JPG the image loses it’s quality. A JPG file uses less KB/GB however you pay for that by losing quality, I always find that using a JPG makes the image dull and blurred, so I use a bigger file by selecting PNG. If you do use PNG then it’s very important to re-size your image, as uploading a 2500px sized image will use a hella lotta space.
Before & After
There is a hand little function called Show Before & After (the B/A icon on the top right) that will show your images side by side so you can really see the difference you have made to an image. I don’t know why but using this always makes me smile and feel kinda good, I guess it’s knowing that I can change an image to what I want.
I hope you found this post helpful, and do let me know if you would like any other kind of photography posts, and I can try my best to get something together. As I mentioned earlier I am not a pro at all this, but my images have improved a lot lately and I wanted to share my thoughts on why this is.
Here’s the process again with some different images and without my crap explanations.