It’s one of my most frequent questions I get asked, what camera I use and how I edit my images.
When Very asked me to share a gift that helped me find my gift, I thought of the polaroid camera that Santa brought me when I was 8 and then getting my Olympus Pen as a Christmas gift. It also promoted me to sit down and put the time into writing this post and sharing how I edit.
I had written a post about this a while back (here) though things have changed since then, probably in my overall style and how I edit. Recently I have not whitewashed images as much protecting their natural tones but in some cases made colours more vibrant to match seasons.
Now I am no expert at all. I am sure I get it wrong many times and to be honest I don’t believe there is a right or wrong but this is what I do.
I use a mix of my iPhone and Olympus Pen. The Olympus Pen was the camera I got from Colin 2 years ago as a surprise Christmas present…. little did he know how much I believe that gift opened so many other avenues for us as a family. I proudly took my camera out on long walks and loved capturing images using just the kit lens and auto mode. I also LOVE the Tan colour!
Not much has changed from that blog post in the way that I still haven’t managed to watch a tutorial on how to use the camera on manual mode and theres so many on YouTube and I still grab my phone.
I have changed the apps I most often use however.
Snapseed I still use the odd time for the ‘Healing’ tool.
You can remove litter or at times people in the back ground if needed. A great one for when you are posting images on social media and there are others faces in the background.
The editing app I use most is Lightroom. Now I know theres options of packages for this editing tool but I do have the full package and am able to edit both on the laptop and phone (however I only ever edit on my phone). It made sense for me to pay to have access to all the tools due to working on campaigns etc but I do not think it is essential. Vsco and Snapseed (I think Snapseed is free) are a lot cheaper and you can get essentially the same tools.
On Lightroom I normally go into ‘Light’ and increase the exposure to a roughly 0.6, increase the contact to 12, reduce highlights to -50, increase whites by +30 and increase blacks by +20.
I use the crop option and hit ‘straighten’ it’s great if the lines are slightly off.
Then I go into Colour and normally add the tiniest touch of warmth, now I find this to be seasonal. In the summer I would have cooled it ever so slightly and added a pink tone. Sometimes with pictures of the outdoors I find it nice to increase the vibrancy.
Then still in colour at the top right there is ‘Mix’ I use this to reduce the yellow tones slightly and reduce saturation on the orange tones too and increase the Luminance slightly. Here if you are wanting to make a colour stand out you can increase the saturation on the colour, e.g.. a pink coat.
Finally I recently have been going into ‘Effects’ and very slightly increasing the clarity and Dehaze for a crisp, clear picture. If I was taking an image of the girls room and wanted it to look soft and sweet I would slightly reduce the clarity.
As you can see the before and after is not hugely different but lighter with better clarity. This was taken on the Olympus Pen with the kit lens that comes with it and where I can tell the difference from this to the iPhone is the clarity. The 45mm lens is better again and gives that really lovely blurred background effect but you have to have a lot of space to stand back as it is extremely zoomed in, it is lovely for outdoor images of kids faces etc though.. so sweet!
Before and After using manual edits from Lightroom
I would use VSCO if I wanted to quickly edit an image at almost one touch as there are stored presets or if I was working on a blog post and wanted all the images to have the same tone.
In the autumn months I was using the preset A4 or A6
This is a before and after of just using the A4 preset. I was editing the images for a blog post and didn’t want them to take too long.
I do play around with presets and you can use the different options to reduce/ soften the effects or add/ remove contrast and tone. I find that unless the preset is reduced on VSCO it’s a more obvious edit than gentle lightening and contrast edits on Lightroom. I use both from time to time.
Gosh I feel I am clueless when it comes to editing but then again feel like I could talk extensively about it!
I hope this helps…
Above all, don’t over complicate it and my personal advise is, don’t take images just to fit in a theme or feed…. capture what you love, play around with some edits and enjoy it! There is no filter that can beat that!
Before and After using Preset A4 on VSCO.
The camera I have linked in this blog post (here) is the newer version of my camera, main differences are the Pen 9 has a better Autofocus mode, Full HD mode for video, built in flash and quicker shutter speed.