The day I decided to get myself a Big Girl Camera – HAPPY DANCE!
They are not cheap, they are an investment but if you are passionate about taking photos and creating lasting memories, sometimes the Iphone just wont cut it.
I love to take photos of my home and my family so investing in a camera for me was worth it. I love getting creative with photos and editing up a storm, its always been an interest of mine and I do it as a hobby. I’m in no way shape or form a professional and I bet there’s absolutely no technique to what I have to say in cameras/editing and I’m sure that there is wayyy better information out there in the universe that is more ‘by the books’ but this is how we roll with our camera and editing and it works for us! I have loads of fun and am super proud when I look back through these shots and can see the improvement over time as I learn more about my camera/editing.
Firstly ! The Camera that I use –
I chose this camera after many professional opinions on the brand and taking into consideration the price, the size and the quality and that was the personal choice we made. There are loads of cameras on the market that are amazing and depending on what you are planning to use your camera for will depend on your choice. For us, we are simply wanting to capture family moments together and our home so this style of camera was perfect and within our budget.
I swap my lenses between the standard 18-55mm lens that comes with the body when purchasing and the 55mm 1.8 Lens that creates beautiful images with blur background (My Fav Lens) for portrait images of my little guy.
I have just started using Manual Mode on my camera upgrading from the Standard Auto and this is basically because I feel comfortable with my camera after using it for several months. I can adjust the lighting and the sharpness and its much more custom then the Auto Setting which works great in low light situations or night light.
Shoot in RAW Format ! Its a game changer. Basically, shooting your photos in JPEG means they are already edited on your camera so when going to edit them again in your editing program you can lose the pixels and quality. Raw images do take up a lot of space so investing in a high storage and good quality memory card is your only savior and they are quite cheap to pick up from your local Harvey Norman, JB-HI etc.
YOUTUBE the hell out of your camera and its features – its the best way to learn how it operates. Buying a fancy camera and upgrading lenses wont instantly give you amazing photos it simply creates the base of the image and your editing will determine how that photo is presented. Having a camera that takes quality images will allow you to edit that photo at a much better quality then an Iphone photo would.
THE PROGRAM I EDIT WITH – Lightroom Classic CC
And it is the bomb diggity!
The features on this program take editing to the next level with so many different angles you can use to change the image completely. It can change a tree from bright fluro green to deep dark orange and smooth out skin lines, brighten backgrounds and give you any look you wanted to achieve with an image.
There are loads of different settings and again YOUTUBE is the best way to learn how to navigate your way through this program.
You have brightness, contrast, saturation and basically all that you see on phone apps except these edit your images more perfectly because the photo is a high quality and it wont turn grainy with edits like a phone usually does. You also have higher complicated editing like the depth of colours, the grain, the smoothness, the sharpness, the clarity etc.
Lightroom Classic CC can be download to your phone or the laptop and I believe the phone version is Free but if your are wanting to use all of the advance features of the program you will need the laptop version which is $14 per month.
Personally I like a bit of dark and colours washed out, some photos are a lot brighter depending on what the setting is. Below are a couple of different photos that Ive taken and edited in lightroom and you can see the comparisons of Before and After and they all vary depending on what style of photo I wanted to achieve.
Other Editing APPS
I do find when transferring my images from the Laptop to my phone the colour can vary, the brightness on a laptop compared to an Iphone can be a huge difference
So I will often Brighten the image slightly in Snap Seed on my phone once I have transfered it from lightroon. And I find this app to be extremely gentle on editing without losing all of the work you just created in Lightroom. And this seems to work amazing!
Below is a comparison of a photo that was originally edited in Lightroom on my laptop to create a base edit that I use on ALL of my images and then I brightened the photo just a touch in Snapseed on my phone to make it a bit cooler and eliminate the warm tones ready for Insta Upload – this is the feel that I personally like on my feed.
When Using SNAPSEED there are some great features that are available and when you get to know how to use these correctly you can transform every single photo into exactly the colours you want it to be.
When opening snapseed and uploading the image your wanting to edit you’ll have the below options available
My top 5 options are
TUNE IMAGE – This will adjust the brightness, the contrast of blacks and the saturation of your oranges and yellow, you can remove shadows etc. its the all round option to use first up to get your basis covered.
DETAILS – This is your sharpener and structure to give you a crisp look or a faded out look. I like my photos to be sharp and show off the real quality of the image so I amp up the sharpener.
PERSPECTIVE – This little tool here can change the angle of your photo, if you’ve taken an image that looks like its on the tilt then this perspective option can move it for you – straighten up the image, turn it a little to the left or the right and you’ll have a perfectly aligned photo for uploading.
BRUSH – This will give you the option to whiten a certain area of the photo by rubbing your brush over the ‘wall’ for example and brighten it up, or warming it up with orange or take away shadows. You can run this brush over any part of the photo you like to change the look.
HEALING – This is your magic wand. This tool will allow you to eliminate random objects like power points, a random toy that’s in the background or a lightpole that’s directly in the way of your photo. If you can master this tool its a game changer!
Will make all of the difference in your styled photos! Candid photos of your kids at the park will automatically have natural light and sometimes TOO MUCH light and that’s where Manual Mode comes in! You can change your settings to ensure your lens doesn’t let too much of that light into your photo.
Styled images in your home of products or a styled room needs natural light to give you the best possible image to work with edit wise without having to fully blow out the brightness in a photo and you’ll create a much more natural look.
Depending on what style of photo and look you are wanting to achieve, I still suggest using as much natural light as possible and then create a dark/moody vibe in lightroom rather then trying to take a photo in a dark or shaded room/area.
If you are out and about in harsh mid-day lighting try to shoot in shaded spaces away from the sun as shadows can really effect and ruin an image.
DON’T RULE ANYTHING OUT
Once you take a couple of photos and your glancing back through them to see what goodys you produced DON’T RULE ANYTHING OUT
Get them onto your computer and work with them – you never know what could be hiding underneath that dark photo.
I took the below image in a bright room with a self timer, I lined it up and jumped into the photo and we posed! In that 10 seconds that we were waiting the sun had gone down and it created a dark shadow over our bodies and this is the photo that was captured!
I wanted to see what we can do with editing this one and check out the comparison! It is not focused and a little grainy but Some photos are worth keeping.
Lightroom CC can also be used for phone images (some phones take beautiful shots and the cameras on them these days are top notch) so still give this program a go on your laptop, or stick to the phone version for quick and easy editing!
Please leave a commment if you have any questions about these programs or you think I can help!
Those are my basic rules of thumb for editing my photos. I’m not a professional and I’m still learning as I go along. I basically have fun with the edit tools and see where the photo takes me.