Retouching is as important as taking the photo. In my opinion it plays a huge part of why does a photo is successful. I often share behind the scenes of my setup but this time I am going to share how I retouch a photo. A word of caution, this is not an in depth class about retouching: I am not a teacher. I just want to share my process and I hope you’ll learn something along the way.
My golden rule is: I do as much as I can in camera, “I’ll fix it in Photoshop later” is NEVER a good idea.
This is a plum gin tonic that I took about a year ago. I remember I was frustrated because I could see the potential of the photo but I could never get it right in my retouching. It was either too plain “meh” or way to bright and burned. This photo is freaky because it is very high key, lots of whites. For this photo my goal is Bright and Airy without loosing the details.
Recently I learned a lot by doing the class of Sarah Fennel from Broma Bakery: Foodtography School. (I highly recommend it if you want to progress in food photography #notsponsored ) I decided to re-edit this photo because I was still frustrated by the look of it.
I’m so glad I did it!
I mainly use Lightroom and a bit of Photoshop. I have a love / hate relationship with Lightroom as it is SO SLOW to import photographs but I’ve used it for years now so I’m used to it. One of my goal soon will be to use Capture one instead of it, but let’s just not go ahed of myself!
I only used the Basic / Curve / HSL / Lens Correction / Effect panels. I did a screen cap of all the panels to show you what I changed. Usually there is no recipe for my edits. I know what I want and push the buttons. It’s a lot of trials and errors and every photo is different that’s why I really don’t like presets for sale: they only work for the one who created it. (But that’s not the point of this article!)
This is the general view of the histogram and the camera settings for those who are interested! As I said, it is a high key photo, look at all the whites!
There is always small adjustments to make. The most important part is the Highlights, Shadows Whites and Blacks sliders. As a rule of thumbs, if I want a photo to be light but contrasty I do this:
- push the highlights down
- push the shadows up
- push the whites up
- push the blacks down
A small S curve to get more contrast
HSL: The colours
I wanted more bluish greens, more saturated greens, less saturated reds, lighter greens and reds
Lens correction and Transform
I like a cheeky little vignette!
Once I have done Lightroom, then what? I go to Photoshop and I clean the photo because I hate doing it in Lightroom, and that’s pretty much it! Usually I try not to spend too much time in editing. I like to keep it natural as well.
Thanks for reading up the whole article! I hope you’ll learned something out of it. If you have some questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments! And also as a reward for bearing with me, here is the second photo I edited using the same protocol as this one.