Tuesday, December 3, 2013

5 Tips for Faster Photo Editing

You're so close to the photo editing finish line! You've culled your images & retouched but now you're dying a slow and painful death trying to decide on the final flourishes, the fancy effects, the filters and presets. You can't pick one style for your photo because you love them all. You want to turn the image black and white, make it vintage AND make it bright and colorful. You gotta choose my friend and it's painful! We are totally spoiled for choice because whatever program you're editing in offers hundreds or even thousands of presets. Your workflow is slowed and you know you're wasting time. Just pick one! Oh, how well I know this artist's headache! I think it's at its worst when you're not sure what your style is yet - when you're still figuring out who you want to be and what you want to offer in this industry. Over the past couple years I have struggled to be a decisive effective editor. I'm getting better and these are the tips that are helping me move past this creative block.

1) Be Ruthless
Basically, if you had a gun to your could make that editing decision really fast. That's kind of how I work these days. I look at the image, experiment with 3-4 different presets. I narrow it down to 2 and FORCE myself to decide. It can hurt and I feel the urge to keep playing with it. I remind myself that the preset will look GOOD ENOUGH. If I hate it, it's not the end of the world. It's digital and I can always go back and change it if it's really that bad. I've stopped allowing myself to take forever. I've become the bad-cop and I force myself to pick one!

2) Set the Timer 
Nothing quite like the ticking clock the force decisions. It reminds me that my time is precious and just being aware of time passing prevents me from dragging my feet. It keeps me focused. Racing the clock actually makes this challenge more fun. Being decisive feels good!

3) Apply Presets in Bulk. 
If I edit each individual picture in a series, I will probably change my mind along the way and the editing style will change and then I'll doubt myself and spend more time going back and changing previous pictures. Nowadays, I take a series of images and choose a preset for the 1st image. I apply it to all of the series automatically and never look back. Of course, I quality check each image but I only let myself make little tweaks here and there. 

4) Use One Preset for a Full Month
When I find a preset I like, I try using it for all my shoots for a month or so. For every shoot then all I have to do is click the preset, double check that it doesn't look terrible and I move on. I keep using this preset until I a) get sick of it or b) find one I like better. This will also teach you which pictures this type of preset looks best/worst on.

5) Decide on the Final Style Before Editing
**This is THE BEST TIP for editing effectively & efficiently.**
Close your eyes and imagine the image you want to create. This pre-editing vision will guide you as you edit. Try not to stray from it. If you imagined you wanted to edit it to look vintage, you won't find yourself lost in the archives of flashy modern filters. Catch my drift? Create a destination for yourself and you won't get lost. This is like grocery shopping — bring a shopping list and stick to it so you don't aimlessly wander the aisles for hours with a grumbling tummy. 

*If all else fails, apply all the filters and create a pretty collage. haha

How do you edit efficiently and decide on presets?
Shoutout to Joana B. for inspiring this blog post ;)