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photo editing with apps | the workflow

January is proving to be my blog catch-up month. It's been so much fun to update it and begin to write again, this editing series I am picking back up after too long a gap. I posted an editing story of this beautiful red tree to my Instagram account late last year and I asked whether you would like to see the complete editing workflow. The overwhelming response was 'yes' so, a few weeks later, here it is!

I took and edited this image on my iPhone. I used 2 apps, and I will share the step by step how to below. I actually put all my iPhone images through photo editing apps, they do a perfect job and using the full editing suite on my computer seems like overkill for images I rarely use beyond Instagram's tiny format.

autumn in Notting Hill - photo editing with apps

I love this image, autumn in Notting Hill is just so beautiful. Almost as beautiful as spring if you ask me! I find my phone struggles to cope with the bright colour though, that and my preference for desaturating images anyway, so the end result looks quite different to the image captured originally.


So, before I share the edit, let me share the apps. First I put this through Lightroom. Always, each and every time I use this app. Other apps vary but this I use for every single photo I take. Next on this occasion I used Color Story. This app has just had a fairly major update, including a grid option for you Instagram posts, I haven't fully played around with it yet but the editing tools are easier to navigate I think.

the editing workflow - lightroom

As a general rule, I work through the same order when editing.

First fixing perspective if necessary. This photo didn't really need it but to straighten lines and angles, I usually use SKRWT. If you have ever wondered how I get those straight facades, this would be the app for it.

At the initial stage I will also crop and frame the image as I want it.

Then I begin with fixing the exposure and contrast. Here it goes:

  1. exposure +30

  2. Contrast +5

  3. Shadows +16

  4. Whites +14

  5. Clarity +20

Next I look at the colour. As I mentioned above, my phone doesn't seem to like bright colours and definition is lost. You can find the individual colour edit function in Lightroom via the 'color' tab, then select 'mix'. Each colour can they be edited individually also. To compensate for the colour captured by my phone, I edited the following:

  1. vibrance -5

  2. saturation -23

  3. red saturation +3

  4. red luminance +7

  5. green hue -27

  6. green saturation -6

  7. green luminance +7

  8. orange hue -21

  9. orange saturation +17

Next I am going to look at the detail. Pinching the image to see how sharp it is (or not!) I edited as follows:

  1. sharpening +16

  2. luminance +11

These steps bring me to the image below. Now this is slightly more desaturated than I would edit if using Lightroom alone, deliberately so, as the filters I want to add in Colour Story will bring the red back to life.

the editing workflow - Color Story

Just a quick visit to Color Story to add a filter or two as follows:

  1. Everyday 46%

  2. Lite Brite 17%

Why use the filters? They are a complete package, many tiny steps to create a 'look' and I like to experiment with them! My favourite filters are part of the basic pack within the app too so no extra purchase involved...

So there you go, I'll post the original and the fully edited side by side below for you to compare. Most of my edits follow the same workflow, first fixing framing and light, then colour.

I hope this answered your questions!

J x

further reading

On Editing Photos- my free download which includes an updated list of editing apps for many purposes from basic edits to adding text, creative edits to films

working the light- fixing awkward contrast in your photos


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