In this lesson and the subsequent lessons, I want to focus on developing a conceptual sense of how to process or develop your images for print. If the negative is the score, then we want to compose the best score possible, and after the initial capture, the rest is a matter of interpreting the raw data creatively.
This means that you start with a compositional vision in mind—what you want to convey with the image; what the image is about. Once you have a strong sense of what that is, and that’s crucial to any successful editing session, you can then use and apply the tools to develop this vision which will ultimately manifest itself in a print.
I’ll be using Lightroom Classic CC, but most of this will still apply even if you have version 6. If you’re not using Lightroom, there’s much you can apply here just in terms of editing an image creatively, and you should be able to transfer that to whatever application you are using.
99% of my images are completely developed and printed inside of Lightroom. My workflow has become smoother, more creatively focused, and fun.
Basic Developing Tips
- Take a “global” approach to developing the image so that the overall look and feel is representative of your vision.
- Set exposure properly for the mid-tones in your image
- Set proper white and black points to expand and optimize tonal values for print
- Apply contrast judiciously to avoid over saturation and/or compressing the shadows
"The personality of the photographer must be present in the image for an artistic photograph to have value."