Here’s a quick checklist that will remind you of the photo editing steps that most images need. Most photos won’t need all these steps, but they will need some of elements of this workflow. Do as much of this as you can in Lightroom, if you have it. Your photo editing time will be much shorter if you do. And scroll down for the printable version of this checklist.
- Adjust exposure and and read the RGB values to confirm that you aren’t too bright or dark
- Adjust white balance
- Add or reduce contrast
- Adjust skin tone using Levels and layer masks
- Identify and remove any reflected color casts
- Defog or reduce noise, as necessary. In Lightroom, add clarity or reduce noise.
- Remove under eye circles and blemishes
- Soften skin
- Add any creative enhancements
- Sharpen on stamp visible layer
- Save as PSD to maintain the layers
- Save as JPG for the print lab
- Reduce size for posting on the internet or emailing
- Adjust sharpness, if necessary, to suit the lower resolution
- Apply watermark
- Save small sized JPG
- Undo resizing so you don’t over write your full size PSD
I’ve linked to various tutorials on my blog to help with some of the steps above. For those of you want to learn photo editing systematically, rather than piecemeal, and you want the latest and greatest methods presented in a well-organized, easy-to-follow format, I am currently registering two workshops.
The first is the Photography Workflow, where you can learn Lightroom and Elements together. The other is my Elements-only workshop, The Secret to Creating Photos that People Love. I will give you a neat little package full of step-by-step lessons in PDF and video format, plus cheat sheets like you’ll find below. You’ll also have a photo-editing expert (me!) to answer all your questions and provide suggestions on how you can improve your edits along with detailed critiques of what you do for homework. These lessons cover all the steps above and so much more!
My photo editing workshops take you from start to finish with your photo editing:
- Import or open photos
- Correct shooting problems like exposure and white balance
- Retouch portraits (improve skintone, remove blemishes, soften skin)
- Add creative enhancements like color pops or black and white edits
- Polish your images so that they look their best for print or internet use