Photographers Share Their Editing Hacks & Secrets

Successfully running a wedding photography business is no small feat, and it can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you’re a one-person show. You’re not just behind the camera. You’re also handling marketing, email inquiries, and post-production work like editing. And to manage this workload efficiently, you’re bound to have discovered some time-saving hacks, much like these photographers have. 

From presets that enhance your photos with one click to Lightroom hacks that speed up your editing process, these photographers are eager to share their everyday editing tips and tricks. So, if you’re searching for ways to optimize your editing workflow and save valuable time, take notes from these skilled photographers. 

1. Use Image Masking to Make Backgrounds Pop 

No matter what photo editing program you use, image masking should be one of your go-to tools. While you can easily make minor adjustments to an entire image, sometimes you’ll need to make more selective changes. By using the masking tool, you can easily target specific areas of your image for a more enhanced edit. That’s why this is one of Kimberly Taylor Photography’s favorite editing hacks. In order to make the background pop in her photos, she “uses this tool to mask the sky or background. Then [she] reduces the highlights and increases dehaze.”

2. Understand the Why Before Editing 

For those who don’t have much experience editing photos, it’s easy to believe that editing is just playing around with different toggles and buttons in Lightroom until your image is perfect. Well, we know that’s not the case. There is a rhyme and reason behind every Lightroom tool, and editing your photos is a delicate a timely process. That’s why it’s important to understand the ‘why’ before playing around in Lightroom. 

Matlai Photography says that “studying color theory has helped tremendously with balancing out tricky light situations! Knowing how to purposefully use the HSL sliders has changed the game for me, and it gives me so much control over my final image.” 

3. Use a Software for Culling 

Lauren McCormick has found that “ the most lengthy process of editing is actually culling!” That’s why she uses “an AI software called AfterShoot to cull [her] images, and it literally saves days of time throughout the wedding season.” This is, however, a preliminary cull that weeds out any obviously “bad” shots. [She does] a second cull in Lightroom while editing to narrow down the absolute best images for the final gallery selection.”

Matlai Photography “uses Narrative Select to cull [her] images. The AI is fascinating, and it’s so much faster than anything else [she’s] tried. The pro version lets you do so many cool things, and it imports directly into Lightroom. This program has made culling fast and easy.” 

Regardless of which software you choose, this is a great option for those who are looking to save valuable time but not lose any creative control over their images. 

4. Organize Photos By Lighting Scenarios Before Editing 

Organization is crucial when it comes to your editing process. Finding a way to organize your photos in Lightroom will be the key to optimizing your post-production workflow. And Lauren McCormick has absolutely nailed it. 

“Instead of applying presets upon import (I know many photographers do), I actually go through each section of the day. I divide the sections up by lighting scenario, and each new lighting scenario marks a new “section”. I edit the first couple of photos in each grouping to match that exact lighting scenario, then simply sync the settings and paste them to the remainder in that section. It saves so much time! Then, all I need to do is go through each section and make slight tweaks instead of extreme tweaks (which I find you need to do if you apply a preset upon import.”

5. Organize Photos By Scene To Make Uploading to PicTime Easier  

As we said before, organization is key to optimizing your post-production workflow. But this won’t just benefit you while editing your photos. Grouping photos together based on the scene of the day (getting ready, first look, ceremony, reception, etc.) will make uploading your images to PicTime a million times easier. 

This recommendation comes from Boundless Hearts Photo. And she’s giving us the lowdown on how she uses this time-saving hack. “So what I do is, after culling with the help of AI and importing my files into Lightroom, I organize them by scene (of the day) and add a color label to that specific scene. This means I get to quickly change between the scenes and colors when I do my final checks. It also makes it easier to sync to my PicTime galleries (with some help from a plugin) per scene using these color labels. It’s been a game-changer!” 

6. Don’t be Afraid of Cropping Photos 

When it comes to editing your photos, we’re not just talking about adjusting the exposure or the saturation. We’re also talking about playing around with the rotation and cropping features. And Kylie Farmer is reminding you to “experiment with fun crops! This one has really helped elevate [her] client galleries.” While she loves “negative space, sometimes the image becomes so much more emotional when it’s cropped in a way that emphasizes the intimate components.”

7. Editing Hacks For Using Presets to Create Your Brand 

When you think about creating a brand, odds are your mind immediately thinks about your logo, website, and marketing strategies. And while those are all crucial parts of establishing your brand, your editing style also plays an important role. It brings brand awareness and allows you to attract a certain audience. 

Matlai Photography has slowly learned to format and save her own custom presets. “This has been tremendous in pushing [her] brand and also in easing up how [she] edits. While [she] likes to still get creative with new looks sometimes, knowing [her] colors and application has made building a business so much more enjoyable!” 

Whether you’re a beginner looking to adopt an efficient workflow or an industry pro searching for time-saving hacks, these editing secrets are sure to help you step up your post-production process. These photographers are helping give back hours into your schedule. But if you’re on the hunt for more ways to save time, check out these top ways to speed up your editing process

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