Why to edit the picture at a global level first?
It’s like arriving at work in the morning. You need to set up your desk, your computer, your mind, your calendar… to get a clear line of what will come to you in the next hours. To look at the big picture before entering into details.
By doing general changes affecting the entire photo, you prepare it for a flawless local editing. And, on top of that, it makes you learn new tricks about digital photo editing basics and photography in general. I tell you, it’s a win-win!
It’s also the occasion to get a first close look at your image, before touching to anything. What do you notice that you hadn’t seen on the screen of the camera? What distracting elements do you see?
Which photo editing tool to choose?
One of my photo editing tips for you beginner would be to actually use a separate tool for ‘global’ and then ‘local’ edits. Why? To not get overwhelmed at first by all the features on Photoshop. Plus, the tools I’m going to show you are easy to use on mobile.
1. Snapseed: on mobile, free app, super intuitive, selection of similar color areas to correct
2. Camera RAW
The Plus: uncluttered interface, all necessary features, large histogram, open your DNG files
The Cons: linked to Photoshop, rather desktop-based app, interface a bit oldish
The Plus: easy to use, all features to correct global colors, wide histogram, integrated tool (converts RAW into DNG or JPEG, offers first editing, stores images in a performant way), on mobile AND desktop
The Cons: linked to PS, not for free.
How to edit your photo at a global level: easy method!
Choose a ‘mood’ – I think, it’s the most important of all the photo editing tips for beginner I can give! Because all your editing efforts should go towards ONE unique atmosphere you want for your UNIQUE image. Ask yourself: what story you want to tell? What feeling to give to the spectator? And even if global editing is, as the name explains, general… it will already push the photo towards a specific aesthetic ‘look’.
Adjust main parameters according to this ‘mood’. My photo editing tip for beginner: put cursors to an extrem, to get the most complete perception of the parameter’s effect on the pic. Then, decrease or increase to get the most ‘natural’ effect possible (be light. Editing shouldn’t be visible, except if you want it).
Temperature & tint: modify the light appearance. Mesured in degrees Kelvin. Low temp. = warm colors (yellow, orange…) / high temp. = cold colors (blue, green…)
Exposure: modify the amount of light.
Contrast: adjusts the gap between light and dark pixels. High contrasts = vivid image with dark shadows and bright highlights.
Shadows & highlights: separated control on both shadows (dark areas) and highlights.
Ton curves: affects overall brightness / contrats and color intensity. Use it in step 1 only if the dynamic range is really too wide
Correct main colors
Hue & saturation: changes the ton of a color (from red to yellow, for example) and the strength (level of greys within a color).
HSL: in Lightroom and Camera RAW, very nice tool to adjust each main color. Increase the one(s) contributing to the ‘mood’ you want. (pic above: orange, yellow, red)