Hey, my name is Jan, but most of you will know me as @av.spotter on Instagram. I hope to give you some insights into my editing workflow I’ve developed over the past three years. I started with Snapseed back then, a mobile app through which I guess most of you also first came in touch with editing and improving picture quality. After roughly a year I switched to my, back then, new laptop. This switch enabled me to use the PhotoDirector7 by CyberLink program free of charge sinve my dad decided to purchase it for his own use since he is also into photography. To this day I still use the same software, I have tried a few different programs such as Lightroom and Luminar but was never really happy with these editing programs. What I like about PhotoDirector7 is the easy and understandable layout combined with many pro features.
The time it takes me to edit a picture properly can differ from photo to photo. Sometimes it’s just a few minutes but sometimes it can take as long as 45 minutes.
Now enough about my editing background, lets head over to my editing workflow. For this blog-post I decided to choose a picture also available here on planeposters.net .
So, this is the picture I decided to go for. The specs are ISO 400 f/8.0 1/800 @ 23mm
First of all, I start with sharpening and noise reduction. For this it is best to completely zoom in to different parts of the picture and try to find the best settings for these. The edge lines of the plane (or other objects) should be sharp and the textures free of noise.
Next I remove chromatic aberration if there is some.
After that I crop/tilt the picture to its final crop.
Then I begin with the adjustments referring to the whole picture like exposure, contrast, saturation, tone mapping, clarity and adjusting the shade curve. This is done by simply trying out what looks best. None the less you should consider that the changes done have to fit the following and it’s also important to know which setting does what to the picture, so you know where to change something in case it still doesn’t look good. This is something that is developed over time and by trying out different settings. Learning by doing 😉
After I’m done with that, I will adjust certain parts of the picture. For the sky I mostly use the gradient masking tool. Simply draw it on the sky with a focus on the highest object or the plane.
This is where I will normally make the sky darker, especially the blue tones, as this makes the clouds pop more. Using the same tool for the lower part of the picture, if it’s too dark (because of shadows or something) and brighten it.
After that in order to make certain details pop like the engines or the landing gear I use the brush and brighten tools.
Then coming closer to the final result, I also mark the plane with the brush and adjust certain settings (contrast, clarity, sharpness, …)
As for the final step, I zoom out a bit to see the whole picture and spot stuff I’m still not happy with. I will then try to fix these spots and export the final result.
Sometimes I do few of these steps or all of them over and over again, until I’m satisfied with it. Obviously, I couldn’t include every single edit style I have done in the past, since they are all very unique, but these steps are the ones I almost always take.
This is my personal editing workflow. It may help you to achieve better results, but none the less you should try to find your own workflow that makes you happy and with which you can achieve the best results.
Thanks for reading along and have fun editing 😉