Over the year, a lot of photos have accumulated for processing, isn’t it? Let’s figure out how to most logically and correctly approach the best photo processing and retouching of photos.
Of course, the fastest way will be to apply any of the presets or filters to all the photos, but this will not be ideal, since it will not cover most of the photos. To process photos as quickly as possible, you need to think about it when shooting.
Now we will try to create an optimal best photo processing algorithm with a detailed sequence of actions in the photo editor. The material will be useful to you if you already know how to do something in Photoshop, but you still cannot logically build the processing process. This is one of the algorithms. If it seems illogical to you, share your approach to processing in the comments. Readers will be grateful.
Best Photo Processing Steps in Sequence
1. Selection of Footage
In order not to process thousands of takes, you first need to select no more than 5-20 frames from the series. They should be diverse (general plan, close-up, details), plot (beginning, development, ending), different in emotions and mood. To speed up the selection of photos, you can use programs that have photo ranking functions (Adobe Bridge, Adobe Lightroom).
2. First Edits of the RAW File
Having opened a photo in a RAW converter, you first need to apply the camera and lens profile, activate profile correction and remove chromatic aberration.
3. White Balance Correction
It is most convenient to edit the white balance in the converter rather than in Photoshop itself. If the photo turns yellow or blue, it is best to fix it at the very beginning.
4. Correction of Technical Defects
Next, it is worth making an exposure compensation, adjusting the highlights and shadows according to the histogram so that there are no dips in black or white.
5. Suppression of Noise
We add luminosity, we take away the color plus.
6. Detailing and Toning
If detailed retouching is not required, then cropping, leveling the horizon, detailing, toning and vignetting can also be done in a RAW converter, but it is more convenient to do this already in Photoshop.
7. Opening the File in Photoshop
Next, we save the file in PSD format and duplicate the layer (Ctrl + J) so that further changes in which case we can roll back, keeping the original intact. Processing is a very energy-intensive and time-consuming process; therefore, it will be very painful to lose the result of work due to power outages. So, don’t forget to save permanently (Ctrl + S).
8. Leveling the Horizon
This should be done when the horizon is obstructed and this is not the photographer’s idea. Duplicate the layer and free transform it to align it so that the vertical objects (trees, corners of buildings, pillars) are vertical. Copy the edges to a new layer, match and merge all layers, except for the bottom, safety layer. Or, if the background allows, align the edges by cropping.
It is more convenient to do this in Photoshop, since here you can not only crop out the excess, but also add space, air, stretching the background if necessary.
Lengthening the legs, neck, skirts, stretching the background – all these manipulations help to improve the proportions of the characters and the composition of the frame.
11. Removing Debris from the Frame
If the cropping failed to cope with unnecessary details, then they will have to be retouched. To do this, you can use a patch or copy a section of the background, drag it to the dirty area and wipe the overlay border using the mask.
12. Plastic Filter
If you are not satisfied with the proportions of the figure, face or something else in the frame, you can correct them using the Plastic filter. Duplicate the layer, reduce or increase what you want, but within reason, without violating the physiology. Watch the change in the shapes and proportions of the background: deformed doors and chests of drawers, geometric patterns of wallpaper, wipe with an eraser, getting information from the bottom layer.
13. Portrait Retouching
If you need to retouch your face, you can use the Spot Healing Brush. For detailed retouching, use frequency decomposition and Dodge & Burn.
You may also like to read: Portrait Tips: 11 Portrait Photography Tips No One Else will Tell You.
14. Skin Tone Correction
Red hands and noses, jaundiced faces, bruises under the eyes, uneven tan and skin lightening – all these defects should be corrected so that the skin looks natural and uniform in the photo.
15. Adding Aerial Perspective, Highlights, Rays and Other Artistic Elements
At this stage, you can add a little volume and light to the frame, as well as, if necessary, a pinch of magic.
16. Color Correction
If you wanted to change the color of the dress or repaint the greens in blue, and yellowness in orange, you need to do this right now.
You may also like to read: Color Processing: 10 Tips for Accurate Color Processing.
At this stage, you can tint the lights in one color and the shadows in another. Or even convert the photo to black and white.
It is better to darken the edges of the picture not evenly, but depending on the scene. Darken the gray point, for example, through the levels, invert the mask and use a white brush to show the effect around the edges of the frame.
19. Sharpness Adjustment
It is better to adjust the sharpness using filters already at the end before saving the file for printing or publishing on the Internet. If you plan to publish a photo, for example, on Instagram, then it is better not to overdo it with sharpness, since some social networks when publishing a photo themselves impose sharpness according to their own algorithm.
20. Saving in JPEG
For printing, we save the photo in the best quality, and for social networks we reduce it to 1200-1600 pixels on the larger side, set the quality slider to about 80%.
Take this algorithm into your arsenal and adjust for yourself. Perhaps it will be convenient for you to rearrange some points in places, and to refuse something altogether. But you need to build the processing process in order to bring these steps to automatism and think only about creativity.