a tutorial on how I edit my photos
I have had this question almost every day.
I take pride in my feed and partly because I’m a perfectionist is the reason why it’s so consistent. It’s super easy and there are only two main apps I use to get my feed the way it is. I'm going to show you a step by step on how to achieve aesthetically pleasing photos in under 2 minutes per photo.
What Camera should you be using?
This is a debate that I could have all day. If i'm being 100% honest the type of camera does effect the quality of the photo but it doesn't mean that you can't use any camera. You'll just need to do a little more work to make the photo quality a little better before posting the photo.
There are a few types of cameras I would recommend for entry level photographers. I would put my suggestions of specific cameras but there are always new and better ones coming out.
Basic requirements I would suggest are:
Higher than 18 Megapixels
A flip screen (helpful if you're taking photos alone)
Compact/ Light Weight
Easily exchangeable lenses
A view finder is a great way to see exactly what your taking and not worry about the glare of the screen
I take as many of my photos in my DSLR camera. I find the quality on there is incomparable to my phone when editing with the Colourtone app on my iphone. It’s super important you have a high quality image if you’re going to change the way it looks. I shoot all my photos in raw format even on my Iphone with the moment app which helps me when I edit them to look sharper and clearer if necessary.
If you don’t have a proper camera it’s not the end of the world - please don’t think that you can't achieve what I post with a standard iPhone or smart phone camera. You do have to be very particular with your settings don’t worry I’ll explain in a minute. Some to note: Although I do not use video for my feed it’s still set to the highest quality setting.
Now, If you’re using your Iphone I use the following settings on my camera.
What apps to use when taking the photo:
Once you open up your photos it will now look like this. First thing is first don't panic, those lines are meant to be there.
In case you're not familiar with the lines they are going to make sure that you keep all your photos in line and straight so we don't have to spend time doing it later. If you're extra adventurous you can use the "moment" app which I'll link here. This app allows you to shoot in RAW format and also adjust more settings like ISO, shutter speed, exposure and more. If you're new to the game using the normal photo app on your phone is perfectly fine, I still use the photo app when I'm taking a quick photo or don't need to adjust anything major.
Taking a straight photo:
Now that you have your camera app (which ever you choose) it's time to start taking the photos...
I love the guidelines (grid) and think it’s probably going to be your biggest asset. Just like a DSLR camera you’re able to have a grid to separate the camera into 6 sections. Almost making every photo if positioned properly to be centred and straight. I am big on having the subject in focus in the middle of the photo. I also like all my photos to have all the lines centred and symmetrical. Taking photos in HDR makes sure high definition resolution is turned on. It makes a photo a lot crisper and sharper. This is a great tool that will help the quality when editing.
Have a look at this photo while I was on a plane. Everything is symmetrical and meets at a point. It's also straight and doesn't have any lines at are not straight.
I usually put my focal point of the photo in the middle square so it's centre. It's always going to be in the middle and where the eye is attracted to the most. The top 3 squares I usually leave for the background and the bottom 3 squares are for the foreground. I never shoot my photos using an effect or filter before editing.
Now that you have your photo symmetrical and ready to go it's time to start snapping.
Once you’ve got your photo on an iPhone always one still and a ‘live’ photo. I am a big fan of Live Photos if you’re looking to do a candid or want a range of choices when you’re editing. Live photos are great as well if you're wanting to make a video later as you can combine them all to make a hyperlapse or time lapse down the track.
The types of photos you want to take:
When I take my photos, as you can probably tell I have a heavy blue tone throughout my feed. I am very particular about it having a blue sky, or a blue ocean or a blue background. When wanting to keep a consistent feed either using the same preset or the same colours in your photos is going to be the way to do it. Taking a photo in the sky when on a plane is guaranteed to be blue (if it’s daylight) so blue theme and blue sky = perfect photo.
This is a perfect example of a photo I would take (the plane window seat). Travelling all the time I’m always flying. It’s my preferred method of transport, efficient and domestic travel is so cheap. If you need help on booking your domestic flights within Australia you can read my how to here!
Now when I edit my photos I use one app almost every time, unless I need to do some touch ups to the background etc. With videos I have a few go to apps but for a minute let’s focus on photos. I use the Colourtone app by Bonnie Cee. It’s honestly the biggest lifesaver. I have all my presets in the palm of my hands ready to use as soon as I take a photo.
When taking a photo on my DSLR camera I have to either use my laptop or an SD card to iphone adapter to make sure I can get my photos onto my phone for editting. I did play around with Lightroom for a little while and Bonnie Cee also has lightroom presets but I find Lightroom gives me too much choice when editing my photos that I don't need.
Using the colourtone app:
Once you open the Colourtone app you will need to import your photo/s you want to edit. Depending on the look you want to achieve there are a selection of presets you can choose from. I bought all of the tropical presets. I find I use 2-4 main ones and the rest are not used as often but good to have in case I have a different lighting or colour palette.
The main presets I use are Bora Bora, Fiji, Seychelles and Bora Bora +. I don't normally use them at full intensity and will adjust a few of the settings.
Once you’ve selected the preset to match the look you are going for. You can click on the preset again to show an intensity bar. Once you are happy with the amount of filter that is on your photo you are going to jump over the contrast tap and head over to the sun tab.
Adjusting the lighting on your photo:
This will have your lighting settings. The tab is where you can adjust the amount of light and shadows that are on your photo. When taking raw photos on a DSLR camera they are naturally going to be darker. This is where I’d come in and adjust the exposure and maybe increase the shadows depending on what lighting I had when the photo was taken. For this image above I used the shadows only as the photo was pretty bright as is. When adjusting the highlights and shadows you want to make sure the background of the photo is clear and isn't saturated with light. Sometimes I find I have to adjust the shadows and highlights a little bit before it's where i'm happy with.
Adding Vibrance, Tint and Temperature to your photo:
The next tab you’re going to click is the thermometer icon.
Depending on how much blue is being used in the photo I would sometimes reduce it by increasing the temperature slider up to make create warmer tones in the photo, If I want the tones to be a different colour other than warmer tones I will use the tint slider to make it either pinker or greener. It's totally up to personal preference and the more you play around with it the more you will be familiar with it.
Once I am happy with the photo colours I increase the vibrance up about 15-40 depending on what colour I want to pop in the photo. I would only use the tint if I wanted to make the photo more pink or reduce blue ie; a sunset.
Adjusting the Sharpness, Grain and Vignette:
The lighting bolt tab is going to be where I adjust the sharpness of the image. I love my photos to be crisp and sharp so I normally will increase this to a +30-50 depending on the photo quality. If the photo needs more I can move the slider to half way. I want my photos to still look natural so I make sure it's not over sharpened. You can tell when this happens if the slider is adjusted to the end because the photo is becomes a little too edited.
Changing the colour Hue:
The circle tab is going to be where you adjust the colours in the photo and you can make them a certain tone or drown particular colours out. I usually jump straight to the blue tones at end of the selection. I will adjust the Hue to get that blue you can see in a lot of my photos and then increase the saturation of the particular colour if I want to see it more.
I sometimes will touch the others only if I want to drown out particular colours and or change the tone of them.
Once your happy with the edit click save at the top and then next to it you can export your photo to your camera roll.