Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Editing and software

Several of you have left comments and sent me some emails asking what editing software I use and how I get my pictures to "pop", as well as what presets and actions are.

I am not an expert, by any sense of the word. I am one of those people who learn by "playing". I also like to read tutorial books. I particularly like to read Scott Kelby books. That said, this is usually what I do to treat my photos:

Software that I have: Photoshop elements 7, Photoshop CS3, Lightroom 1 and Lightroom 2 upgrade.

I generally run all of my photos through Photoshop CS3. I have purchased many "actions" from different places, so many times I don't do any manual editing, I just run the photo through several actions. If I don't use an action, generally the first thing I do is play with levels and curves. I also add some vignette, as I love that look.

If I run my photos through lightroom (which I know many photographers d0) I use "presets" which are like actions. I purchased Pixel Fairy Presets and installed them into lightroom. I'll import a photo into Lightroom, run a preset and then tweak the balance, hue, saturation, etc...until the picture looks the way that I want it to.

Seriously, editing is my FAVORITE part of photography. While I enjoy the process of composing photos and taking them and looking for cool angles and locations, I become giddy when it comes to the editing process. I realize that most photographers feel completely opposite, but that is what makes photography a great art. There are all kinds of fun and exciting things you can do.

I hope this answers some of your questions.

One emailer asked me what my favorite look is: My favorite look is urban shots with a "Pop" of color. I like to really pop colors with levels and curves and I also love, love, love to use the burn tool.

Happy editing!


Leslie said...

Thanks Missy for this post. I have done the Lightroom trial 2x now, and have just purchased it. I don't have photoshop, and only thought those actions worked on photoshop. So your saying that I can download actions, like from Pioneer Women or Debbie, and they will work on LR? This is so very interesting.

Also, did you see the comment I left about your camera a few posts back? I would love to know what kind of camera and lens you shoot with? So did you learn everything you know, just by reading books?
Your photo's are simply amazing Missy.

Jboo said...

Thanks for the info!! You are so clever! I'm hoping to take a Photoshop course later this year and maybe I'll be able to figure out some things.

Hope you're feeling better!


Julia said...

Missy I feel like I could have written part of this, you follow the same path that I do, although I admit to needing to learn more about lightroom. I love my CS3 actions though and don't know what I ever did without them. LOVE love the photos in the last post of Paige, those glasses look made for her, she is one stylish 11 year old!

Kerry said...

Thank you Thank you! I thought I needed lightroom before the presets- thanks for clarifing.

Rhonda said...


Long time no see! I haven't been to blog-land since CNY weekend and so I didn't even know you'd given me an award...tee hee....I'm gonna go bad and read to see what it is I do to pass it along....BUT FOR NOW, I just wanted to tell you that that little Miss Paige is some kind of BE-AU-TI-FUL! LOVE your pictures. You're quite the photographer, my dear. And you've got quite the subject as well! WOW! Gorgeous. What a gift you're giving her. I hope that as Macy Li grows, she'll want to cooperate with me so I can take some photos like that!

Well, blessings my friend. And thanks for the "award" haha....I have to go back and read what that actually is.


PS....Still wanting to have lunch with you and Amy!

mommy24treasures said...

I love editing too, but I never know when to stop sometimes, I could sit up all night when I have a fresh batch of photos! And then I am loving lightroom I will do one set then another then another and love the way it looks all the dif ways. Its a timesucker!
I love how the princess presets worked for you. They look great! DO you shoot in raw or JPG? I have not shot raw because I know I will need an external hardrive for it as big as the files are and as many as I take. I took 174 yesterday:)
Glad you are continuing to feel better and stronger Missy

Kate said...


These recent pictures of Paige are so dear...and so great. I love her new glasses...and you totally do rock with the pixel fairy presets....it does look like fun.

I am ordering photoshop and lightroom later tonight...so excited about it all. Just worried I won't be able to figure it out!!! We'll see!

Hope you are feeling better...I don't like to nag...but it's about time for a new post...I need me some Paige cuteness and photographic brilliance...I'm just saying...

Colleen said...

Oh Missy, you are so far beyond me. All I know how to do is crop. LOL!

Tracy said...

Totally unrelated...but I love your playlist....I usually check my sites with the sound muted.

Gail said...

Great post and info Missy. I'm hoping to get Lightroom and Photoshop soon. Have to say I love the editing part too so that new software is going to be dangerous for me.