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How can I edit faster?

December 30, 2016

“I’m a photographer and I love what I do, but the amount of time consumed from my life for editing, at times, makes me feel like I have no life. How can I edit faster?” We recently got this question from a photographer and we thought we’d share our response with you too!

We’ve been there! At times we even wanted to quit because we felt editing was consuming all of our free time. We are parents to two little girls who are homeschooled. They love to play and require our attention (a lot of it). We also have friends, family, church and ahh hello we need to squeeze in date nights as much as we can ūüėČ ! So we definitely get it!

This photographer is not alone in wanting to find a balance between work and life. But we feel, the question shouldn’t be “How can I edit faster?” It should be “How can I get it right in camera?” That’s right! We believe it all begins in the camera. Here¬†are some tips that will help you get it right in camera therefore cutting your editing time.


1. Find good lighting

Time and time again you will hear us talk about lighting. It is what we prioritize in every shoot. When taking a picture we always make sure that we have nice even lighting on our subject from head to toe. This will help save time on trying to correct highlights, shadows and exposure in Lightroom.

2. Remove distracting elements

We hate opening an image in Photoshop. Actually, we try to avoid using photoshop as much as possible. We only use it for skin touchups IF necessary (the next tip will help you get creamy skin without using photoshop) . When we are shooting we are always paying attention to surrounding elements that can be a distraction and move them. Our brides will testify that we are big on removing clutter, trash cans, chairs, tables etc on their wedding day. It takes us two seconds to move those distracting elements but not doing so will, consequently, take 20 times longer to correct later in Photoshop.

3. Shoot shallow

We love to shoot at a wide aperture. We typically shoot our subjects at 1.6/1.8 and if its a couple at 1.8/2.0. So investing in lenses that have this capability, in our opinion, is a must. If you are starting off, we will always recommend to invest in good quality lenses over anything else. When we started shooting we purchased the Canon 7D instead of the Canon 5D Mark III and poured the rest of our budget¬†into getting L Series/prime lenses. ¬†Our brides always love the “blurry background” that it creates but we especially love the light and creamy look that it gives their skin. This helps minimize skin touch ups and the use of Photoshop. Our go to lenses for portraits are the 50mm and 85mm.

4. Expose Correctly

Nailing your exposure will save you a crazy amount of time in post. Take the time to look behind the camera every time your lighting changes. Make sure that your subjects are exposed correctly. In not doing so, you risk under or OVER exposing the subject during what would have been an amazing capture. This can result in a grainy image or worse, an image with blown out important details.

Rule of thumb is to focus on the subject, look at the exposure meter and to set it¬†at positive 1 stop. Double check the back of your screen and now you can fire away. I know you’re thinking, “wait isn’t that overexposed”? YES!¬†But let me explain. Your camera will trick you when your background is¬†lighter than your subject, for example the sky. It tries to calculate a correct exposure and as a result, your subject, nine times out of 10 will be UNDERexposed. I personally like to overexpose skin slightly because when you combine that with¬†a shallow aperture, you get that delicious, creamy skin.¬†I really don’t care if I get a blown out sky. An added benefit is that minor blemishes won’t show, therefore¬†you avoid having to open the image in Photoshop. Plus, I think it looks so darn pretty.

5. Composition

Get your composition right in camera! There is no reason why you should have to straighten every single picture in post. A great way to make sure that you are shooting straight is to check for your horizon lines and make sure that they are completely horizontal before taking the shot.

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