Helen Oakes - Mode de vie

The average photographer and I say that in the nicest possible way, may be happy with an image SOOC, (straight out of the camera).

This is all well and good when ‘most” people shoot jpegs and the post-production work is already applied to your image through the jpeg process. However, most serious and professional photographers will use an external editing programme to bring their photos to life.

I guess this brings many people to think, ‘why do you need to edit photos anyway?’ You certainly don’t need to if you shoot jpegs, however, if you shoot in RAW mode which I do and most professionals do then you have to edit your shots. When you shoot in RAW mode you are effectively getting a digital negative. When we shot film, the film was a negative and had to be processed, well the same goes for digital negatives. If you used a photograph SOOC then you would get subdued colours, low contrast and lifeless, fairly flat features to the image.

Editing for me is where the magic happens. I love the editing as much as the shooting. I get excited about seeing what I can create in post-production. I don’t always spend a lot of time editing one photo but I always use a preset to enhance my photos. Presets are a set of commands in Lightroom that you can configure and save to use again. They are very much like Instagram filters. You can also use Actions which are the equivalent in Photoshop. Some photographers use one of these programmes and some use multiple. I use Lightroom for my basic editing and then I will often take my photo into Photoshop to add more enhancement.

Photo Editing Tips

Why settle for a ‘nice’ or adequate photo when you can get a stunning shot with a little editing. When I say á little editing’ it can be very quick and produce a great result. Some of my photos require just one preset to them which is one click of a button. Now imagine if you had to edit hundreds of photos, you could bulk edit them with the same presets and speed up your editing time dramatically.

I don’t just use presets for speed, I also use them for artistic purposes and to show my signature style. I love making presets and coming up with new recipes or combinations of styles/genres. If you get a chance to use presets or actions then give them a try, you are sure to love them. They are fast and they are very creative as they are completely adjustable to your liking. You can go for a strong look or something with gentle colour by playing around with the sliders while editing.

If you want to know more about presets and actions I have over a hundred I have made. Head over to my website to see what they can do for your photos.

Photo Specs:

Canon 5D MkIII
100-400mm MkII Lens f4
ISO 800
f4.5
100mm
1/500 sec

Post-production:

Edited in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC
MDV LR Presets – Popcorn + HDR Glazed + reduce yellow + reduce highlights + white clipping + crop