I always get asked the question of how I edit my photos and what tools I use for filters, and a whole bunch of questions relating so how I shoot my photos, so I thought I would compile a list of my favourite go-to mobile apps, as well as what I use to shoot and how I get my presets done! Hopefully after reading this blog post, you would learn a little more about the editing process, and play around with what suits your look!
HOW I GET THE SHOT
I would say 99% of the time, I use a camera to take my photos. The remaining 1% of the time I use my phone (Iphone X) and that happens when I forget my camera or if there is a specific detail that my camera fails to capture. I prefer using my camera to shoot as I’m able to shoot in RAW (a complete unedited untouched photo), and it preserves more detail so I’m able to edit the photo a lot more before it becomes grainy.
For the longest time, when I started blogging, I used the Olympus E-PL7 camera with the standard kit lens. This Olympus series was made to be the ‘bloggers camera’, as the screen flips, it’s compact and looks stylish. The camera also has a skin blemish filter which you can use for smoother looking skin when taking photos. A year ago, I bought a new lens for my Olympus camera that was more powerful and showed greater detail (link here), and I’ve been using that ever since!
I normally take my photos on a RAW setting, with manual adjustments. For looks where I’m spinning a dress for example, I set the shutter speed to high and I take the shot on burst so it looks natural. This also works for ‘walking’ shots too! Don’t be afraid to spend more time on a photo to get the right shot. There are times where I’ve spent 5 mins taking a photo, but also times where I spend an hour. It’s all about experimenting until you get the perfect take, then it becomes much easier to edit!
MY MAIN TOOL: LIGHTROOM
It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard this before, but Lightroom is seriously a bloggers holy grail. Whilst some prefer to use apps like VSCO, I find that Lightroom allows you to be more creative and create your own presets whilst fine tuning all the little details that other tools don’t allow you to. For example, you might like warmer tones but VSCO only provides you with cooler tones. Apart from changing the temperature setting, on Lightroom you can manipulate certain shades and colours to get the effect you want!
Once I export my final photos to Lightroom, I go through all my presets and find one that suits the colour and look I’m going for. You can create your own presets on Lightroom too by following Youtube tutorials or playing around with all the different components on Lightroom until you find a style that you like. Then you save it and keep referring back to that same preset, or create more for different uses! I almost ALWAYS go back to retouch my photos after I apply a preset – because no photo ever turns out the same. Don’t be scared if you apply a preset and it turns your image completely orange! You just need to bring the warmness down and toggle the orange hues. It takes a LOT of practice to understand Lightroom. I remember it took me 5-6 months to start getting the hang of it. Even now I still find myself learning new things!
APPS I USE TO RETOUCH
Contrary to popular belief, Facetune 2 is actually a great tool to use to retouch photos without having to make your face look smaller or body look skinnier. I normally use Facetune 2 to define features of the photo that I want to stand out. I stand by the ‘detail’ tool, as I use it to brush over things that get lost in the background (For example, the pattern of my dress, or the buildings in the sky). It sharpens what you select and brings it forward. That’s how most bloggers get their backgrounds looking so sharp!
I also love using Facetune’s ‘whiten’ tool to help cut away yellow light or grey-ish walls. There are also heaps of features in this app like fixing shadow, red eyes, glare and tones within the image. And of course, like most people, I do use Facetune to fix those small blemishes – for example if I just had to have a pimple flare up on the day that I was shooting, I would smooth it out so it wouldn’t be as obvious as it were if I had left it.
If I’m not mistaken, Snapseed is an app that was made by Google. A lot of people use it for different purposes, as it has a ton of features you can play around with (and it’s completely free!). Although it has a lot in the app, I only use the selective tool and the brush tool. They do very similar things but the selective tool allows you to pick one part of the image and change its brightness, contrast, etc. It works on colours so for example if you select the sky, you can expand it to the whole sky and change the brightness of that, or you can focus on the corner of the sky and change the saturation.
The brush tool works by literally brushing on the selection you want. If for example, I want the wall behind me to be brighter, I’ll brush on the exposure feature. The good thing about Snapseed is that you can brush on +0.3, +0.7, and +1, meaning there are 3 different levels of intensity. If you’ve made a mistake, you can simply press back to 0 and that acts as an eraser!
Retouch is a paid app (I think it’s relatively cheap though) that I stumbled across whilst finding a tool to help me remove objects in my shots that don’t require much work. Although I don’t use it as often, I find that it’s still good to have it on hand when I need to quickly edit people out of the photos and don’t have access to photoshop.
It’s also very straightforward to use unlike photoshop. All I do is select ‘object removal’, paint around the thing I want to remove and click done. The app will then take the surroundings and try to build the most correct image and remove what you painted around! It works like magic, and is so quick and easy, definitely worth the small price. However for bigger things like people or strange backgrounds, I prefer to use photoshop by hand as Retouch can sometimes fail to analyse the background properly.
Last but not least, I’m loving this app made by one of my favourite bloggers, Tezza. If you don’t follow her work, you should! Her husband and her are creatives that absolutely blow my mind with the shots they achieve. She launched the Tezza app last year so you can get access to tips for shooting, guides, presets, and more! Most parts of the app is free to access, but there are some presets that she releases which you have to pay for. I personally only use the Tezza app for this one preset that I LOVE, and it’s the ‘Vintage’ preset on her app.
For some reason I always go to her app after all my editing process is done but my photo still lacks that wow factor. And usually after selecting the Vintage filter, it takes my shot to a whole new level! I don’t use it all the time, and it really is when I remember that I have it downloaded, but the times that I’ve used it, it has taken my photo from a 7.5/10 to a 9.5/10. Plus, theres heaps of things to explore on her app if you’re a beginner as she has lots of tips to share, and her presets are bomb to begin with, so I definitely recommend this app regardless!
I have a lot more apps than just the ones I mentioned but these are the ones I use for almost every photo, that its become routine! They are definitely my top picks from start to finish. But not all apps work for everyone, so remember to do your research, download a bunch of apps and test them out to see which one you like more. Never give up until you find what suits you and your style the best. I hope this guide helped regardless, and remember you can always reach out to me for any questions!