Ever wonder how Instagrammers and Bloggers make their images look so light and airy? Well, I don't know how THEY do it, but I can show you how I do it!
My introduction to photography came when a friend of mine gave me an old camera of hers. She knew at the time that it was something she really felt compelled to do, but little did we both know that 5 years later it would prove to have been a catalyst to my design career. (Check out her and her amazing work HERE).
Anyway, over the years I have learned a thing or two about editing photos. And believe me, I have got A LOT more to learn. What I'd like to share with you is how I currently edit my photos for a light and fresh look!
We will start with some composition tips (composition meaning: where, how, and from what angle you take the photos).
As a rule of thumb, and as a way of keeping my feed looking and feeling consistent, I use what the 75% percent rule (don't google it cause I made it up). Basically this means that 75% of my photo's background needs to contain light/white space. This sets a good foundation for a light & fresh image.
Create "White" Space When There Isn't Any
If you are outside shooting in a busy area, change the angle so your shot is coming from below and try to capture majority of the sky in the background! This will make your image feel much lighter and brighter. You could also through a light blanket down and take the photo from up above! We live near the beach, so the sand and sky are always perfect and natural light backdrops. We also have light walls in our home, which I use as (very convenient) backdrops!
It's not uncommon for me to take anywhere from 5-10 photos at different angles until I find one that's working! I try to do this fairly quickly so the moment doesn't pass! It's also important that when photographing kids, try to make them as candid as possible! Set them up in front of a white wall/backdrop and let them play. I never have much luck with posed photos involving the kiddos! And if you are photographing a baby, just be patient. It can sometimes take a while to get the shot. And if it isn't working? Move on, and try something else! Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!
I am going to take you through my editing process for my photos taken on my iPhone. I don't consider myself an expert in this field, however I have found a "formula" that seems to work for me!
Let's jump right in!
ONE // Download and open the free app Snapseed. I use this app for every photo I edit!
TWO & THREE // After I've imported my image, I always adjust the overall brightness, contrast, ambiance, highlights, and shadows!
BRIGHTNESS: I always turn this up as much as possible without blowing out skin.
CONTRAST: I actually only add a tiny bit of overall contrast. I prefer to create contrast by increasing the highlights (making the whites lighter) and taking down the shadows (making the shadows/darks darker)
AMBIANCE: Ambiance is similar to saturation but not as harsh! I increase this a fair bit because it makes skin tones look better and more vibrant!
HIGHLIGHTS: I increase highlights to make the lights brighter!
SHADOWS: Depending on the photo, I will decrease the shadows to make the darks darker!
FOUR // Next, I straighten and crop the image! Find a perfectly horizontal line in the photo and straighten the image until the grid lines are parallel with the line! For this image, I used the bottom of the mirror where it meets the ground!
FIVE // Next, you want to crop! For me, less is more. I wanted to remove as much as I could from the background: the blue trash can, majority of the bed. I also wanted there to be more space above me than below so I cropped the image close to my feet and left a lot of space above me!
SIX // I removed the light and the wall mounted air conditioning unit from this photo! Again for me, less it more. I don't like too many distracting elements in the background. You can also use this tool to remove wrinkles, pimples, etc!
SEVEN // The selective edit tool is my FAVORITE thing about Snapseed. It is amazing. It basically lets you edit certain parts of an image without editing the entire thing! I use this to further brighten whites and make shadows and blacks darker! Save your image to camera roll after this step.
EIGHT // Last app for editing! I use VSCO to apply an overall filter to my images so they look consistent! Branding is my "thing" so it's really important to me that all of my images have consistency! I've downloaded the BRIGHT & CLEAN presets (see second image above). I use preset S1 for all of my photos.
NINE // And lastly, I sharpen the image. I find that this really helps them look nice a crisp! Careful not to go overboard with the sharpening though, it can make it look a bit funky!
AND YOU'RE DONE!
I'd love to see your before and afters! Let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything that can be made more clear xx