Helpful tips to streamline your editing workflow and provide high quality images

So your home from a photo shoot and you are exhausted, but the job is not done. The editing magic needs to be applied!   This is where you can fix exposure and even make your subjects flawless, but it is a delicate process and a balance between adding the perfect touch without over processing.

Editing images is a tricky business because as much as a photo needs your touch, it also needs to look like it wasn’t over done. Balance is the key here and discretion is your goal. Remember these pretty little memories will be plastered on the walls of your client and they will be advertisements of your work to those family and friends who visit them.   You want to be known as the photographer who captures the perfect moment and has the cleanest look.  Here are a few tricks to help you clean up your editing style and make your workflow faster.


  • If you haven’t already done so, invest in an editing program: Having a great editing program such as Adobe Lightroom, Elements or Photoshop is a necessity in our field.  Each of these editing programs have great benefits.  Choose which one is right for you and become an expert in using it.  The more you learn about your software the more you can offer your client.  It is a great idea to take a workshop class guided to helping you learn your software. 
  • Choose  an editing theme for that session and remain consistent: Before editing your first image in the session determine the overall tone of how you, as the artist, envisioned this shoot.  Was it warm and creamy?  Was it hot with flare?  Determining your theme before you begin editing will help you streamline your workflow and minimize time.  Start with the first photograph and edit it to your liking.  Make note of the actions/presets you used or the manual adjustments you made and carry this through-out the session or even batch edit from here.  Providing your client a consistent feel and tone to that session is key. 
  • Use Actions & Presets:  Actions and presets are designed to make editing faster, more professional and to help create an editing style unique to that session.  Using them can only benefit you by lessening the time it takes and by increasing the quality of your images.  These tools can apply perfect exposure to an image, enhance color, create sharpness and even deliver unbelievable beauty such as sparkly eyes, gorgeous skin and soft lips.  The options are endless.
  • Take the time to make your client look flawless but do not over-do it: Editing programs and actions provide us the ability to make our subjects flawless.  Clients should feel beautiful so take the extra time on a portrait to add soft skin or a sparkly eye. Of course you should do this without making the subject look fake.  This is where discretion is key.  While these tools are nice, do not make your client look like a stranger to themselves.  Important tip:  Do not remove things that give your client personality such as freckles, a mole or a scar unless they ask you to do this. 
  • Provide Color and Black & White: It is always a great idea to offer your clients both a color version and a black & white version of an image.  This allows you the opportunity to maximize your sales.  Remember a black and white image does not have to be the traditional grayscale type.  You have the ability to provide an artistic feel that has flare, depth, brightness & even warmth.  Black and white provides drama and mystery to any image and are very popular with clients. 
  • Print Preparation:  So your hard work is almost done and what a relief it will be when you get these beautiful images back from your printer.  Here are a few tips to consider prior to printing.  Do a test print with you printing company to determine if your screen needs to be calibrated.  If the print does not match your screen and you are using a high quality printing company, then your screen will need to be calibrated.  Finally, educating your client on clipping/cropping is important.  Depending on the print sizes your client chooses there may be some cropping that takes place.  Cropping is inevitable in some print sizes and should be expected.  Giving your client this knowledge prior to getting their photographs will help lesson the questions you may get or returns you receive after the item has been delivered.

Your images are your marketing tool. They will be displayed in many arenas such as websites, social media sites, blogs, photo albums and walls.  Editing them is just as important as taking the photo in the first place.  You have the ability to make those memories true art.  Happy Editing!


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About stacie

Simple Gal with a camera and a passion! I have loved art since I can remember. I excelled in art classes, so quickly I realized I had to make this a career. When I graduated in 1996, I immediately jumped into web design and then naturally went into graphic design and photography. I can’t seem to stop the creative idea’s from flowing. I want to create, create, create! xoxo Stacie Jensen

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