This post has been on my to-do list for a long time, so I am excited to share it with you today!
When I first started shooting photos for my blog using my Nikon D3330, I knew I wanted every image on my blog to have a consistent look so that my photography aesthetic would become part of my brand. To achieve this, I purchased a now-defunct set of Photoshop Actions by A Beautiful Mess and applied the same action—essentially a filter—to each one.
This worked great in most instances, but as I am sure you all know from Instagram, actions/filters don’t always look the same if the light is drastically different, which was frustrating to the perfectionist in me. Plus, overtime, I decided I wanted to create an aesthetic that was more my own and was closer to how I was editing my photos on Instagram. So, I downloaded Adobe Lightroom and with practice, became more skilled at the program and more comfortable editing my own photos.
I’m going to show you the simple ways I adjust the photos you see here on A Touch of Teal. Lightroom definitely has more advanced features than these, but when it comes to quick-and-dirty photo editing, the simple features are more than enough you need to get by. I will preface this by saying that it is always best to set your lighting up right on your camera and get the best picture you can “out of the can.” Editing is great to enhance your photo, but editing alone won’t make a photo great. Let’s dive in!
1. Import the batch of photos you want to edit into Lightroom and open up the Develop panel. For the sake of this tutorial, I am only importing one photo, but I usually add all the photos I need for the post at once. You’ll see why in a few steps!
2. Adjust the temperature. I’ve found that photos have a more professional look to them when the yellow undertones are less. As such, I usually bump the temperature down to -10, -11, or -12, depending on the photo.
3. Adjust the exposure. Because I like my photos to be brighter and a bit overexposed, I generally increase the exposure by 0.35 to 0.75, depending on how dark the original photo was. If you prefer slightly underexposed or darker photos, bump it down instead.
4. Bump up the highlights. In photography, highlights are the brightest parts of your photograph. If you need to bring back more detail to those areas of your photo or tone down the brightness, slide the highlights to the left. As I mentioned earlier, I like my photographs to be a bit brighter/overexposed, so bumping the highlights up to 25 through 50, depending on the photo, really helps me achieve this look.
5. Bump up the shadows. The shadows slider in Lightroom either makes the darkest parts of your photo darker or lighter. You can really notice this effect if you find a place in your photo that is black, like the shutters behind me in this photo. Since I like my photos to be light and airy, I usually bump the shadows up to 15 or 20.
Tip—if you’re photo is too overexposed, bumping the shadows down is one way to help fix the issue in addition to decreasing the exposure.
6. Increase the saturation and make any adjustments. I like slightly oversaturated photos, so I generally bump it up to 30 to 60, depending on the image. Once I have adjusted the saturation, I take a look at the image and adjust any of the other sliders to get the look I want for my photos. 95% of the time, I do not use any other adjustments than the ones I just mentioned, but feel free to experiment to find what works best for you.
7. Copy image edits onto all other photos in the batch. YES. That’s right. If you’re editing a batch of photos and the lighting is the same in all of them—i.e. you’re editing pictures of the same outfit you shot on the same day—no need to edit each individual photo.
You can simply copy and paste the edits onto all the other images in that batch by navigating to Edit > Copy on the original photo, and then Edit > Paste onto all the other images. You can also use Command + C and Command + V if you like keyboard shortcuts. Then, I just go through make minor adjustments to each photo as needed.
8. Export images. Select all photos you want to export and go to File > Export.
9. Set export details. The great thing about Lightroom is that it makes photo naming and resizing a breeze. Under “Export Location” select the folder where you want the images to go. For this tutorial, I just threw the image on my desktop, but usually, I create a folder called “Post Title – Edited Photos” and direct my export there.
Then, under “File Naming” you are able to batch rename your images and it automatically creates unique names for each one! I always rename it to “Custom Name” and then under “Custom Text” input the keyword of my post. Lightroom then adds a number to the end of each image, i.e. “image-name-1.jpg,” “image-name-2.jpg”, so all your images have unique names. A note that it is important to put hyphens between each word in an image name if you’re going to be uploading it to the Internet! Search crawlers and websites cannot read spaces like we can.
Lastly, I adjust the size of the images I am exporting. I always make my photos 1280 pixels wide, which is twice the width of my posts so that the images show up clearly on retina screens. As such, I always select “short edge” and enter in 1280 pixels. 72 pixels per inch is perfect for screens, but if you’re resizing images to print, definitely go up to 300.
After that, click “Export”! You’re done!
Way easier than you thought Lightroom was, right? Happy to answer any questions in the comments below, and feel free to email me at anytime if you have a question: firstname.lastname@example.org.