For 95% of my photos I have one minute post process rule. It means I don’t want to spent hours retouching one photo to make it
People often asked me What do you do with your photos and after I tell them they don’t think I told them everything, like there’s some hidden special feature I use. And I really don’t have any secret hidden gems. I will show you exactly what I do in few steps and this is all one minute max per photo.
First of all I shoot RAW. For everything and all the time, just RAW photos. During the shooting I try not to kill the photo with over or under exposure. I rarely have perfect exposure out-of-camera but I don’t care too much for that.
Second step is also important. I care. It means that I like photography, I like shooting and I give myself a time to go through all the photos from shooting, select the ones I like and open the selected ones on by one and edit them.
And now we come to subject of this post – Edit. It is very simple. I open the photos in Adobe Camera Raw, and go through tabs, ticking boxes and dragging sliders.
As a sample I will use photo from half-marathon i recently shot. It was high-noon, hardly any clouds on sky so sun was very strong and my position on the bridge was not the smartest but at that moment I couldn’t choose anything better. As I was trying to shoot them in front, passing by me and in back I didn’t have time to change setup for every angle so I was hoping that I could save photos in Photoshop.
First tab I open is Lens Correction where under Profile tab I tick Remove Chromatic Aberation and Enable Profile Corrections. This is a good start because this way ACR recognize the lens and make Distortion and Vignetting adjustments for that lens. Be aware that Distortion correction can crop your photo a little bit so if you have very tight shot this can be a problem. But you can always drag slider to 0 to neutralize it.
I always check edges on objects or people to see if there is any weird colors (purple/green) around them and then I use Defringe Purple and Green sliders. Usually better lenses have less of this distortions but if you shoot direct at the sun, your aperture is wide open etc. you will get some of it. So just use these sliders to remove it.
If you want to turn dull, washed photo into something more aggressive with more colors use Dehaze slider under Effects tab.
After that I jump to Basic tab and go through all the sliders if necessary and depending what I want to do with photo.
In HSL/Grayscale tab I sometimes correct colors or play with the luminance. Most of the time in this tab I am bringing sky to life by dragging luminance slider of blue color to minus.
One more trick to pop up the sky is Graduated filter in the toolbar. Just click on the starting point, drag it where you want it to end and then play with the sliders. For the sky I usually go to minus on the temperature slider, reduce exposure and kill some highlights. But you do whatever you like.
Then I just save and open the photo in Photoshop where I do some cropping, dodge/burn and sharpen.
And that’s it, here is your before/after photo.
In most cases this few steps are finished heavily under the minute and you can do a lot with the photo with these sliders.