I'm going to tell you all something that will shock you right to your core. I'm not actually perfect and airbrushed in real life *GASPS* ! Just let that sink in for a minute, okay?
I'm the first person to admit that I Photoshop my images. Obviously it's a personal preference - some people like to show the real them in their images..I'm the sort of girl that likes to show the real me..just with a slightly better white balance and less under eye circles. But again, that's my choice! Feel free to ignore my advice on this topic completely, or even pick and choose different bits that apply to you, but here's how I make my photos what I would call internet-friendly. I mean hell, looking back on those old Bebo and Myspace pictures I wish I'd have read my own blog post on this sooner. (I also wish I maybe didn't dye my hair pink and pierce my face several times, but that's a different story). Okay, onto the editing process!
So first off I guess it's probably useful for me to tell you what I use to shoot and edit. For all of my photos I use the Canon 6D, and for outfit pictures we've just started using a combination of a Canon 100mm Macro lens and a Canon 24-105mm L lens. Basically two lenses that give that really nice blurry background effect that we all love. For editing, I mostly use Photoshop, but I'll dabble in a bit of Lightroom here and there (you can buy the Adobe Suite from around £8 per month if you're a student here).
[Left image is a RAW file, image on the right is standard JPEG]
More recently (as in the last few photos on here) I've started editing my photos in RAW, and oh my how I've seen a difference in the way these photos look afterwards! At a glance the two images above (both unedited) may look pretty similar, but when it comes to editing the one on the left is a serious dream. Now obviously being able to edit in RAW depends on the camera you have (a lot of DSLRs will have the option to use RAW) , but the general idea behind RAW is that the image is completely unprocessed and essentially as 'natural as possible'. JPEGs are still a great file, and I always use it for my lesser-edited images, but when it comes to something like outfit posts I always go for RAW as it allows me to edit pretty much anything I want, without losing the photo quality.
So here's how everything looks when I open up my RAW file in Photoshop. The first thing I come across is this little Adobe editor, that allows me to make any quick changes such as contrasts and blacks and whites. With JPEG, I was always just editing the brightness and contrast of my images, but since discovering this little tool I've been able to pinpoint exactly which bits (for example the white on my t-shirt) I want to brighten or darken, without actually altering any of the pixels in the photos.
Here's how everything looks when I do a bit of editing - instantly a lot better, right? Now of course this is where you can go ahead and play with your photos in different ways. Personally, I love to really up the contrast of my pictures and sharpen them ever so slightly with the clarity bar, but the numbers/amounts always change depending on the image. Everything is still completely as it was in the image before, just with slightly enhanced colours, etc. Then, I click 'open image' button to er, open my image into Photoshop itself (groundbreaking!).
Ah yes, here I am slightly larger, looking a lot better (and less grey) than the original photo, but still with a few too many shadows under my eyes and redness on my face. Okay, okay, I probably look fine, but hey, I'm a girl and I like to pick faults in myself, so let's get rid of these apparent faults with my favourite thing ever: the airbrush tool.
Aaaand apparently in this picture I've decided to Photoshop a monocle onto my face. Heh. Just kidding..but I do like to get up close and personal when it comes to airbrushing. The secret is to do it ever so slightly - unless you're going for that 2D all-over-beige face that's obviously so on trend. It's late and I'm getting giddy. BE PROFESSIONAL STEPH! Okay, I'm back.
When using the airbrushing tool (also known as the paintbrush tool) I always make sure I use the eyedropper tool to match the colour I want. So when it comes to getting rid of dark circles I either select the eyedropper (ALT l) or hold the ALT button when using the paintbrush and select the colour closest to where I want to recolour. If that makes sense? For example, when getting rid of slight dark circles I'll eye drop the colour closest to the dark circles, that's not actually the dark colour (unless I'm looking to add more dark circles? Could happen!). One thing I always like to do is make sure my opacity is pretty low, to make sure it doesn't look obvious. I usually use around 20% opacity (found at the top of the screen) and just build up as I go. Also make sure you put the 'hardness' of your brush fairly low, otherwise you'll just end up with perfectly round, skin-coloured circles all over your face. Again, each to their own though.
I'll do this for anywhere that needs a bit of touching up - usually things like spots and dark circles though. I always like to go back to my original picture to compare the two as I edit, just to make sure I'm not going over board. Now onto the clone tool..
The iron is my least favourite friend, making the clone tool my best. The clone tool kind of works exactly like the paintbrush, only instead of mimicking colour it'll mimic the entire area you've chosen. To make it obvious for you, I decided to close a bit of my hair, which you can see is now on my stomach! So chic.
As you can see in the image above, I'm not exactly a pro when it comes to ironing out the creases in my close (in fact, it would help if I actually owned an iron..) so to make the photo look a little more polished I've decided to edit the lines out ever so slightly. Not enough to make it look like I'm wearing a perfectly flat top, but just enough so it doesn't look too obvious. Think of it as keeping it really...50% of the time. Ahem.
So again, keep the opacity and brush hardness down low to keep things looking natural, and build up over time. The clone tool takes a little bit of practise, but after a few minutes you should get the idea of it! It would confuse you all a lot more if I tried to explain how to use it in more depth, but just think of it as another airbrush tool, only you copy areas of the picture as opposed to just colours. As always, feel free to shoot me a message if you're ever confused!
And I'm done! I decided to lighten up the background ever so slightly (personal preferences again) but otherwise I think it's turned out pretty well for what only take a few minutes. In fact, it's taken me a lot longer to explain how to do this than actually do it, so don't be put off by the size of this post! Think of it as just a few easy steps. As always, feel free to go ahead and edit however much of the photo you'd like, but if I could throw one piece of advice your way it would be to do it gradually. Here's the before and after if you want to be nosey..
Hope this helped some of you! The same rules generally apply if you're just using JPEG, only you won't get the same Adobe pop up as I did at the beginning. Photoshop is one of those programmes that can be used in 5 million different ways (I'm not exaggerating either) so what might work best for me may be completely different for you lovely lot, but I hope this helped all the same. Failing that, at least you got to see a COMPLETELY UNEDITED PHOTO OF ME!!!!11 Oh internet.
What are your photo editing secrets?!