Balancing the digital marketing mix requires us, marketers, to wear many hats -- perhaps some great custom hats -- see what I did there? Knowing how to plan an effective shoot, what to watch out for during the shoot, and how to correct photos in post-production helps to turn around the content quickly but ensures the photo looks the best it can.
The core pillars of a great photo
- Focal point
- Adequate exposure
There are a lot of tricks you can do in Photoshop to manipulate a photo, but without the solid foundation of these pillars, post-production editing will be more challenging and time-consuming. Always strive to shoot photos that have this foundation.
Remember, as powerful as Photoshop is, editing a photo is a constant push and pull. You want to enhance the photo, but still keep the essence of the scene.
To avoid an overly edited photo, always have a game plan of what you want to do before you shoot any photo to stay aligned with the desired effect you’re seeking, advises our Senior Designer Rachel Garner.
Take a sneak peek inside Garner's photo editing process to see how all the tips discussed in this article work together to create a great looking photo. Click play on the video below!
Top three post-production photo edits
Lighting is a critical element to a good-looking photograph. Overexposure can blow out the picture. Underexposure can put your subjects in a dark abyss.
If you know lighting is going to be a challenge at your next event, Garner says to:
- Always shoot in RAW. While it does take up more room on your memory card, RAW images contain the golden nuggets of information that allow you to adjust exposure, highlights, and shadows to your heart’s content.
- Speaking of highlights and shadow, pay attention to these as they are areas where you can lose detail with overexposure or low lighting.
- Use clipping masks! They are great tools to use for lightening or darkening a special area of the image without affecting the entire photo.
Add these tools to your Photoshop workspace adjust exposure (found in your adjustment layer):
The tool with the teal circle around it in the Layers panel, allows you to adjust levels, color balance, photo filters, and curves.
There are lots of ways to adjust an image’s color whether you’re looking to add a cool or warm tone to the image, or trying to find a way to correct the white balance (WB) to remove unrealistic color casts.
Adjusting the tones in the colors of an image can evoke different emotions such as making a summer day feel warm or a winter day feel extra chilly. You can also play around with Vibrance to add a pop to the photo that brings it to life.
Add these tools to your Photoshop workspace to adjust a photo’s color:
- Color Balance
- Photo Filter
Overlooking the little details
Here at Anthem, we believe, as did infamous American furniture designer and architect Charles Eames, that the details make the design -- a philosophy we apply to everything we do, even quick photo editing.
“Little tweaks can make a big difference in eliminating distractions and allowing the viewer to focus on the main subject,” says Garner.
PRO TIP: Make your life easier in post-production by always lint rolling or steaming your clothing and pay attention to what’s going on in the background behind the subject(s). You will save a huge amount of time by adding these steps to your photoshoot workflow and process.
Add these tools to your Photoshop workspace to tweak the details:
- Clone Stamp
- Spot Healing Brush
- Patch Tool
Here is what your photo could look like if you apply these basic editing tips
When you follow these basic photo editing tips -- adjusting the lighting and color, and using the spot healing or clone stamp tool to clean up the small details -- the results are remarkable.