How We Edit Our Photos

I have always loved taking photos and editing them, and I would spend a ridiculous amount of time going through each photo and it was taking FOR.EV.ER. But with the amount of photos that we come back with on vacation, I had to find a faster way to process everything. 

I finally switched from Adobe Photoshop CS5 to Adobe Lightroom CC, and it was nothing short of life changing! The ability to edit mass selections at once is incredible, and being able to create presets has streamlined my editing process so much.

Photoshop vs Lightroom

I bought the Adobe Creative Suite almost 10 years ago, and it has been my go to editing and design option since then. You can do so much with photos in Photoshop, but it can be very time consuming especially since you have to work on one photo at a time.

One of my favorite features of Lightroom is that you can literally copy/paste your editing steps from one photo to another one {or twenty!} and fly through your editing. This is specifically helpful when editing photos for blog posts. If you’re writing a restaurant review, you want all of your photos to be edited in the same way for continuity. With Lightroom, if you get one of those photos edited correctly, you can just apply it to all of the other photos without having to remember and repeat all of the steps. Better yet, make it into a Preset and save yourself HOURS, but we’ll get to those in a second. 

My most favorite Lightroom feature is that there’s a free phone app, and all of your presets and photos are stored in the Adobe Cloud. This means if you’re out and about and have a few minutes to work on photos, all of your tools are literally in your hands anywhere you go. I’ve edited photos while waiting on my coffee, when I was stuck in traffic, while standing in line at Disney World, wherever. 

Presets

Here’s where the real magic comes in with Lightroom for me – PRESETS! There are hundreds of thousands of presets available online to make your photos look like any style that you could want. If you don’t believe me, just search “Lightroom Presets” on Pinterest. 

In addition to making editing faster, presets can also help you create a theme of sorts for your social media platforms. There are tons of super aesthetic accounts where every photo looks exactly the same, and while the account as a whole looks great, I don’t love when the individual photo colors are so highly manipulated. I found that lots of the presets that are being put out fall into that category. However, I do think it’s important to have an overall cohesive look and have our photos look similar. I think of it like eyebrows: your photos should be sisters, not twins. 

Adventure Presets

I found a few preset bundles that were similar to what I was wanting to achieve, but I felt like the editing style was really close but not quite what I wanted. I like to keep things bright, colorful, and pretty natural, and I found myself making more changes to the presets than I would have just made editing it myself. With all of those changes, I started making a bunch of my own presets as I was editing, and I found myself using the same four over and over again:

Bright

  • preset to brighten and warm
  • doesn’t change skin tones
  • my most used preset
  • works well for photos of:
    • people
    • locations
    • all seasons

Natural

  • preset to slightly brighten
  • works best for editing photos that are almost where you want them, but just missing a little something
  • works well for photos of:
    • people
    • food
    • locations
    • all seasons

Warm

  • preset to slightly brighten and drastically warm
  • works well for photos of:
    • locations
    • people {better from a distance than close up}
    • late summer/fall

Black + White

  • high contrast black and white
  • slightly brightens
  • works well for photos of:
    • locations
    • people
    • all seasons

If you like the style of our photos, you can download our Adventure Presets for free here. This is how WE shoot and edit photos because this is what we’ve found works for us. That doesn’t mean that is how you have to or even should do it.

At the end of the day, everyone has their own shooting and editing style, and you should stay true to yours. Download some presets, play with the settings, and spend some time creating YOUR look. 

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