Get Your Photos From GOOD to AWESOME in 5 Minutes !

Introduction: Get Your Photos From GOOD to AWESOME in 5 Minutes !

Hey guys, If you like photography, you probably already have some good shots, but here is a way you can get those good shots from good, to AWESOME !

This method takes less than 5 minutes per images, actually, you can do it in 40 seconds maybe ;) you will not believe the results your are gonna get !

Of course, I say 5 minutes, this is to get a rough idea of the final editing, I personally use this method but for my favorite pictures, the editing can take hours, I can go tweak some part of the image, adjust the contrast a bit, change it more, more, and more again, then come back to the first step because i finally didn't like the image ahaha! but this is ALWAYS how I start my workflow.

What you need is:

- Some photos (It is always better to shoot using the Raw format cause it gets more details and information, but you can get a good result with just the JPGS as well, just keep in mind that if you want REALLY awesome shots, you should definitely shoot RAW ;)

- a computer,

- Adobe Lightroom and/or photoshop.

adobe lightroom and photoshop can seem pricey, there are some free alternatives, but it is such an awesome software !

actually you always have packs, with both software for 10$ a month on the adobe website, or buy them for life,

and for those who want to try the techniques give here, you can still download the Trial version of the software to get an idea of how powerful it is !

Ok, let's get started !

Step 1: Open Lightroom and Import Your Pictures

Okay let's get started !

Step One :

Open adobe Lightroom software, and click the import button, select your images and press OK.

Lightroom will not move your pictures, they will stay at their original place, so I recommend copying them onto your hard drive before this operation.

Also, any adjustment we will do to the image is NON DESTRUCTIVE, which mean your original picture will still be available

Step Two:

Now that you have selected your picture, click the Develop button on the top right, this is where the magic will happen !

Step 2: Start Develop Your Picture, Let the Magic Happen !

Okay now we are getting to the serious part of the tutorial ! this is where the magic will happen,

again, this is my version of it and any photo developing is an artistic process, everyone is thinking or feeling different, so you should stick to your emotions. but if you follow this instructable, I assure you, you will get great result in most of your images ;) let's get into it !

1 - Adjusting shadows and Highlights.

if you need to adjust a bit your exposure, do it now with exposure slider at the top right. but if you followed my instructable on how to get the correct exposure in any situations here : Sunny 16 rule and exposure made easy that should not be necessary.

then you can get to the highlights and shadow sliders, just apply those setting by moving the sliders with your mouse.

Highlights: -100

Shadow : +100

2 - Get back the Contrast in the Scene ! Here is THE TRICK !

Now you have opened your shadows and reduces all those harsh highlights, but you photo look flat... there is no more contrast to it.

This is where the real trick of this instructable is happening ! follow me here and you will get awesome shots !

- see that "white" slider ? press the ALT key on your keyboard, hold it and click the white slider, all your image will go black,

move the slider to the right until you see some white dots appearing. this is you adjusting the whites on your image.

those white dots will be the real white of your image.

- now that you have adjusted your white, let's get to the black !

Just Hold the ALT key button and click on the "black" Slider, This time go to the left, you should see your image going all white and some black dots appearing, just go a little further after those dots appear.

You are done with contrast, your image should already look so much better !

3 - Right White Balance and your personal touch.

Now you should adjust the white balance, it is located just above the highlight and shadows sliders.

what i usually do is select some of the presets, daylight or shades or other. If i like it i will leave it like that, otherwise I will tweak it a little bit, add some blues,some magenta. the Auto white balance mode will work well too.

You can now add some vibrance, some saturation according to your taste, I really like popping colors, so I usually go for +30 vibrance and +5 saturation but this should be done according to your tastes.

You can also play with the clarity sliders. i recommend not adding too much clarity as it will tend to make your image completely surreal... and definitely don't go into the negative values too much...

4 - Last touch, the camera calibration

Now go all the way down into the menu and you should find the Camera calibration menu (only available in RAW)

you can click onto the menu and select which color adjustment works the best for you.

I like the 'camera landscape' for landscapes cause it tend to get better looking greens.

5- That's it ! but you can do more !

Hey your image should already look so much better ! and if you have done this process a few time, it has became automatic and should not take more than a minute !

I start all my images post processing this way. then I adjust some more details.

you can adjust the colors in the color menu I usually add some sharpening and try to reduce the noise a bit, I often add some 'post crop vignetting' but all that will depend on your shot and your touch. what never changes on my images is the shadow/highlight adjustment and the black/white adjustment, I ALWAYS do it this way cause it is what I found give the best results.

you can also go to the next page to see what more can be done.

6- Export your image.

now you finished your image, it look nice.. but it is only available on lightroom... no problem ! just right click your image and search for the export button.

open the export tool and choose a location, change the quality if you need, choose the JPG format and you can now print or share your photos !

Step 3: Go Further ?

If you want to push your image even further, I mean over the 5 minute post processing concept, you can the following:

- Add some Graduated Filters:

on the top right corner of the development module, just under the histograms, you will find the graduated filter button.

click on it, select the effect you want and apply it down to your image.

a good trick is to lower the exposure of your sky, like -0.3 for a graduated filter on the sky make it look more nice and with better textures.

a good trick is also to adjust the exposure of your forground with another graduated filter.

- Highlight your subject even more with a Radial Filter !

If you want your subject to pop up even more, here is a great trick to play with the light !

next to the graduated filter button, select the Radial filter, and on the effect panel select 'Iris Enhance'

this should set your exposure to +0.35, your clarity to +20 and your saturation to +40.

DO NOT FORGET to click on the "invert mask" button !

now click on your subject and create a new radial filter ! your subject will pop out even more from the scene, the eyes of the readers will be even more attracted to it !

- Go further with photoshop ? possible ?

If you are happy with what you achieved in lightroom, keep in mind you can still spend hours tweaking it there, but now it might be time to export your photo to photoshop and get into more complex retouching.

Just right click onto your image and :

Edit in > edit in Photoshop.

it will export your image in Raw format to photoshop, where you will have all the possibilities to retouch you can possibly imagine !

hope your enjoy !

Step 4: Last Words ?

I hope you enjoyed this instructable,

If you follow the 5 minutes steps, you should already get a better looking image, and if on top of that you add some graduated or radial filters, your image should really pop out !

If you are comfortable using photoshop, this method has many more advantages as the raw editor in lightroom is more powerful than the photoshop one.

remember :

Nothing will replace a good shot, if you want your shot to look awesome after post processing, they should probably already look good before it !

you should spend time understating the importance of light, subject and composition, along with the technique required to achieve awesome shots.

It is always better to shoot raw !

And the more important : YOU SHOULD ENJOY WHAT YOU ARE DONG !

enjoy ;)

you can find some of my work on this link:

and if you likes this instructable, check my other ones, and consider voting for me on the photography contest ;)

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