FAST Engagement Photo Editing Tutorial – Learn how to edit a full shoot in under 24 minutes!

FAST Engagement Photo Editing Tutorial – Learn how to edit a full shoot in under 24 minutes!


Hey guys, Ryan here at Signature Edits
and today I’m gonna take you behind the scenes to show you how I cull and edit
an entire engagement shoot in under 30 minutes. Let’s do it. Alright so the time
is 10:36 and we are ready to go. The first thing that I’m going to do is open
up photo mechanic – that’s the program that I use to call my photos. You can
use Lightroom if that’s what you have, but photo mechanic is faster. So
Lightroom you might have a pause between images while they’re loading – that sort
of a thing. Photo mechanic you’ll see here once I pull it up that we are just
blazing through the images. So there we go, I get started and I’m just gonna go
through this as my first kind of look and I’m gonna grab everything that I
kind of like with my first impression. Because it’s an engagement shoot it’s
not super important that I take quite as much time as I would with a wedding.
Obviously I’m going to get all the good shots, while still getting through it
pretty quickly. So I’m just going through here and grabbing the shots that I like
the most. A lot of walking and things that are repetitive. I’m just kind of
gonna grab one from the set – so I’m not going to grab five photos from this
exact pose. I’m just gonna grab one maybe two if there’s two different expressions.
Great. And there’s some laughter, they’re having fun but we’re still pretty
similar here, so I’m going to keep going. Great that’s kind of a neat little detail
there – nice. I did grab those two they’re from the same set that’s okay we’ve got
a laugh and we’ve got a smile and they can choose later on which they like most and you can see how amazingly fast photo
mechanic is as compared to Lightroom where you’re waiting a second or two a
photo that makes a big difference when you’re trying to edit something quickly
imagine going through a wedding that has four thousand photos well in photo
mechanic you can do that in probably thirty minutes whereas in Lightroom it
would take me a couple of hours for sure so it’s worth it to me it’s a couple
hundred dollars to buy the program but if you’re doing a lot of shoots and you
need to get through images quickly I have not come across anything better right that’s kind of funny and nice once
in a while I’ll grab one I’ll realize there’s one better further out these are
pretty funny they had a lot of fun Wow apparently she’s pretty strong so not a
whole lot to see here I’m just going for the emotions the reactions and I’m
grabbing as much variety as I can and I will do probably a second pass to narrow
it down to my top kind of 5060 images and it depends some photographers give
their clients 100 images from the shoot some give them 30 or 40 I kind of like
to give them all the unique photos the ones that I really like well at the same
time not overwhelming them with 15,000 photos and then all of a sudden they
kind of lose their impact because instead of having one photo they have to
choose between six and sometimes having too many choices actually makes us less
happy in the end great they’re doing some running nice he’s got some cardio
in this looks a little awkward I’m just not going to keep it especially because
he’s hidden completely behind her would have been better to pose him over here
to make him look a little more significant in the frame like this he
looks tiny and she looks huge because she’s hidden hiding him behind her so
we’re just probably not gonna keep any of those maybe that there we go that’s
better you see how much of a difference that makes between this and this he just
looks like more of a man also general rule you want to have the woman look
smaller in the frame so I would have had him over here more and maybe had her
stand slightly to the side that would have made her smaller and appear thinner
and made him just appear more masculine so we’re gonna go through lots of good
stuff man there are a lot of photos in this engagement session they went for it that’ll work
and again I don’t know why they didn’t maybe because she’s a girl and she
wasn’t comfortable it would have been better to have her in behind what made
her seem smaller again okay so that’s pretty similar I don’t know if I like
one more than the other I’m gonna just go with that one cuz she’s kind of
smiling great okay so you saw how fast that was
it is now 1041 so what does that take four minutes and I just pressed that you
know we’ve got all the ones I basically do a yes or no culling system so I’m
calling them I mark it if it’s a yes everything else by default is a no so
we’ve got 88 photos I can narrow it down and go through really quick and just
make sure that there’s not too much repetition I don’t really like that one
and that’s not as good as this one great it’s okay anything that looks too cheesy or forced
I’m going to get rid of it as well so we got some major repetitiveness I like
that one better so keep that that’s out of focus and because all the lighting
the lighting is very similar across all these photos it’s not going to be too
much more work for me to go through and edit you know 80 versus 60 great so that
was one more minute to just do a final pass there call it a few and I’m going
to copy selected photos and what I normally do is I’m going to move photos
delete originals couldn’t navigate to where I have those photos kept right now
everything is a bit of a mess and have to move this over later to my backup
hard drive but normally I put them in a folder labeled selects and I’ll hit move
great and then the rejects I’m going to copy them and put them in their own
folder as well and I’m going to label that rejects and then that way I always
have the photos I don’t actually throw them away in case it turns out that I
selected one because I am calling pretty quickly and I sometimes select one
that’s out of focus and then there’s one that is in focus right next to it that I
didn’t select so I keep those handy and organized so that took just over five
minutes to do the culling I’ve got Lightroom pulled up here and we are
going to keep moving all right got my Roz here I’m going to import them into
Lightroom perfecto and normally I don’t apply a develop setting on import or
metadata because I like to do that once I actually look at the photos themselves
I’m not generating smart previews for performance because my Mac seems to
run pretty well out of the gate here however if you have performance issues
with your laptop or a computer you can make sure to do that to generating
previews will definitely make it faster performance so what I’m going to do here
is I’m going to find a preset that just works well and I’m going to apply it to
everything definitely the key to editing quickly is in batch editing so right
here I have the signature at its presets we’ve got four in our Genesis pack and
I’m just looking through to see what works the best I think that signature
edits zero one is going to work the best and here we have three variations plus a
knight and basically the pluses are just howdy saturated the greens are that’s
the main difference that’s happening here so I’m gonna go with maybe plus one
that’s a nice middle ground and I’m just going to sync that across I’m also going
to set this photo to auto white balance because I find in general Lightroom does
a better job at auto white balance in post then your camera does in the moment
and we’re just going to sync everything across I haven’t made any adjustments
except for that so now every single photo is going to be set to auto white
balance and have that preset applied great so now let’s get through it and
start editing so in general I’m just going to go through and I’m going to
adjust my exposure I’m also going to adjust the contrast and just do kind of
a master adjustment because I am noticing that in general these photos
are looking a little bit too contrasty so we’re just going to dial that back
little by pulling the blacks up maybe the contrast down a little bit adding
maybe a little bit of d haze and one other thing I’m going to do is the grain
is pretty strong in these presets and I like to start with less and I can always
add more so I’m going to take the size down and the amount down then I’m going
to sync those once more across everything and get started going through
from here now that I’ve got my base changes I can basically just go through
a just my exposure maybe do a couple of local adjustments here and there as
required and I’m good to go so one thing I am going to do is well just a master
change I’m going to take my vignette and the correction under lens Corrections
I’m going to take that down to maybe like 70 this is just a personal taste
thing I find that Lightroom goes a little bit heavy on correcting the
vignette and so I’m going to want to make sure that that is reduced a little
bit great okay now I’m going to go through and I’m
going to edit these bad boys and you’ll notice that I’m using the keyboard
shortcut so I’m using the plus and minus to adjust my exposure that’s a really
quick Lightroom trick you can use and I am holding shift and that’ll actually
let me do it in bigger increments and just save me clicking more we’re going
to sync the white bounce across these two photos because they’re from the same
setting it saves me some time great and one last little thing that I can do this
is what I do on most of my photos for adjustment layers this is all I do I
grab a radial filter I’ll grab the contrast and take it down and just
invert it so now there’s less contrast in the middle or wherever I move this
filter and you’ll just see it very very subtly brightens what’s going on in the
middle here so that way I can actually brighten the subjects just a tad while
having it really really be transparent and quick to apply you can see how quick
that is let me take the exposure down a little on that one and I’m just gonna go
through like this this one’s looking a little bit blue so I’m gonna take that
and warm it up a little bit maybe darken it great and there’s really not a whole lot of
fancy editing going on here I’m just taking this radial filter just to
brighten up the couple a little bit and here and there you’ll see there are some
adjustments that I’m going to make as it’s required but my main thing is I
want to do the most efficient work possible I still want to do a great job
but I want it to be efficient so I don’t want to have to do extra work by
individually doing my images so this one her skin’s looking a little bit pink so
I’m going to add some green cool it down a little bit lower the contrast and
reduce saturation and that’s just a quick little brush that I tend to use
when I’m finding that skin is looking too saturated it’ll brighten it very
slightly and reduce the saturation and the amount of red by just adding some
green back in great and we’ll paste our radial brush on here looks good I don’t really need this radial brush
but it will help me just add a little bit more focus onto the couple by making
it darker and one thing I’m going to do with this one is I’m going to grab my
texture brush if you buy a signature at its pack they come with this nice
workflow of pre-made brushes so you don’t have to get your settings for
every single brush you’ve just got some already pre saved or you can make your
own just by pausing the video and copying that setting if you like the way
it looks you can see what a simple edit it is here’s the original and here’s
after with that preset and just one little radial filter applied I’m going
to copy that save me the time of moving it good and our skin’s looking a little
bit saturated here so we’re gonna do the same thing as before
saturation BAM contrast down just like that it’s subtle but it works keep it
easy when you can that’s maybe looking a little bit yellow actually so we’ll just
take the white balance down a little great and because we don’t have any skin
tones just add a little interest here I’m going to go to my texture brush
again Oh text your brush put with my adjustment brush there we go and you can
see we’re just adding a little bit of text you’re making it maybe a little
more interesting to look at and we could even paint a little bit on them just to
add some sharpening great and we’ll do the same thing on this one
take my flow up a little save me some time perfect once more there we go so that was just
that radial filter made that extra pop brightens them up right away so I can
make it a little bit darker get a little bit more of that sunset back now she’s
looking pretty red I’m gonna grab my skin brush and I actually have a premade
brush just to save on time that’s pretty much it I probably went too far on that one just
by taking too much of the white balance down we can just copy paste because
we’ve got the same kind of frame going on at work I’m just racing by holding alt
and again you might say oh that’s a sloppy brush stroke that you just did
Ryan well that’s true it is however you can’t see it if you can see it then I
get really concerned I hate that when you can see the brush showing up but if
I can’t see it it works if it looks good to your eyes it is good that is a pretty
good rule of thumb when it comes to editing photos now of course the real
question is are your eyes good because if they’re not
I’ve had many edits where I think it looks great in the moment and I come
back and I’m like what were you thinking so developing your eye is definitely a
process that comes with time and we’re about halfway through right now making
good time now I think I can see this brush that maybe not see there you go that you can definitely see so just
delete this so we don’t have it added to every image here oh great
and again super sloppy but because it’s a really subtle effect you can’t see it
you can’t see that it wasn’t perfectly placed in every way great you can see
how that radial filter just darkened the background right down and made them pop
little and add a little bit of brightness to that awesome and I can
copy/paste I’m just not going to copy my brush effects there we go looks great
and I don’t feel the need to edit every photo if if for instance the photo looks
good right away there’s no need for me to go in and brush and do all sorts of
fancy stuff add extra work to what I’m doing if it looks good let’s leave it so
here’s our original here’s with that preset and a radial filter applied maybe
dial back the contrast just a little bit these guys had so much fun of their
session it’s great mm-hmm a little bit of vibrance tywin let’s do one in black and one white just
for fun and sometimes if the photo doesn’t look great in color right away
one strategy I have is you know what black and white can be nice once in a
while let’s give that a try then if that looks good no worries there’s no need to
fight the image to be something it’s not and you will notice that these presets
look really really good just on their own without much tweaking first off
that’s good that’s something that’s not all presets do however that’s also
because the lighting conditions are very very good if you’ve bought these presets
or you’ve downloaded other presets in the past and like why don’t they just
work the way that these ones do well it’s because these photos were taken at
sunset when the light was very soft you’ll notice there’s no harsh shadows
going on you can’t even see the Sun in the sky in general you’re going to get
way better results from any presets when your light is good so if you want to fix
your presets that’s the first thing you should do but one of the things that we
did when we designed the presets is we looked at it and said okay how can we
make these just work even if the lighting is terrible even if it’s a
super sunny day at 12 o’clock and they’ve got huge shadows under them how
do we make these presets just work and so that’s why we designed them the way
we designed them so that they’d be fast that we can move through and edit an
entire engagement in an hour or a wedding in a couple of hours makes a big
difference especially when you’re editing a lot of shoots and one of the
reasons that they’re so flexible is if we add harsh lighting right here what
one thing you can notice is the presets by themselves when I first apply the
preset it’s a little bit harsh but we’ve got
lots of wiggle room we can take our contrast all the way down or our blacks
all the way up we can take our whites all the way down we can really really
bring back a lot of the detail from this image and we have lots of options
where’s some presets when you buy them the contrast is up here the blacks are
down here the whites are up here shadows are down here and you don’t have
as much room to actually tweak things after the fact so that’s one of the
reasons that these presets work well but you don’t have to use them use whatever
presets work for you and whatever gives you the look you’re
going for if you do want to try oh I’m gonna put a free demo link in the
description below and you can check that out to download some free samples see if
they work for you the way you want them to will cool that one down maybe darken
it a little bit great she’s looking a little orange here so we’ll just paint
on there and if you want to see what you’re painting you can just press the O
key that’ll show where your adjustment brush is coming from so if I press o
here it’s a really quick way to see what’s going on because sometimes you
don’t notice that you’ve missed a spot or that sort of thing
just brighten that up looks good get out of this one I’m gonna take a
little bit more time on because I think it’s a great shot just to add some
desaturation and we’re going to grab this grass and paint on there and we’re
going to switch to our texture brush and if you find that the brush is too strong
too weak you can always hit this little triangle and grab the amount slider
bring it up or down just dial it in where you like it there we go and then
we’ll just warm it up just a little bit looks pretty blue to me and I’m not
going to try and fight it and make it not blue at all the reason is blues
because there’s a lake here there’s a mountain here and it’s reflecting all
this blue light so no matter what I’m going to do it’s going to stay blue or
it’s going to just look unnatural to your eye so I’m not going to fight and
try and make my image something it’s not that is just a quick little tip from
personal experience of trying way too hard to make something look a way you
want it to when the photo originally didn’t look like that you’ll find you
just get frustrated and it looks silly great this is okay no that’s needs to be
warmed a little bit I might do that in black and white actually try that add a
little bit of D haze darken it down do one more with the grass same thing awesome these are looking a little bit
warmer than our other photos we’ll just take that down a little bit in white
balance and we’re going to switch that brush to our skin desaturate err there
we go that’s better nice you’ll see we are almost all the way through here now
and take a little more time on this one and just do another layer of that
contrast but this time I’m going to use it to add texture outside of where they
are great and we’ll dial it back a little bit by pressing this triangle
bringing the amount back here’s before and after awesome this one his eyes are
actually closed so I can delete that you got one last photo and I actually wish
that they had had her sit up on here and him in front it would have made him look
again larger in the frame but it’s still a great shot I’m gonna see if I can get
this guy back no it’s already blown out so I’m just going to leave it with them
nice and bright we’re missing a little bit of contrast from where he is facing
into the Sun and there’s some lens flare going on so what I’m going to do is just
reset this brush add a little bit of D haze and contrast and paint that on him
obviously that looks way too intense so we’ll dial that back so that it’s subtle
D haze can be your best friend or worst enemy you decide okay so that’s our
entire session we’re going to export it way I normally do it is because I’m
using the signature edits presets it comes with a print preset but if you
want to copy my settings you can go ahead and just set it I find quality
around 80 is great image sizing we just leave that full-size matte paper
sharpening on low and I export it to its own folder and I will label it Shawn
Laura client print so I know what it is and we’ll rename the photos Shawn Laura
engagement and export okay so that took a minute we are now finished exporting
from beginning to end inside of Lightroom that took eighteen minutes to
edit these images plus the five minutes it took in photo mechanic for a grand
total of 23 minutes from beginning to end with this engagement shoot now
obviously not every session is going to have perfect ideal lighting it might
take a little bit more finishing from photo to photo but I hope this was a
good just demonstration of how quickly it can go when your lighting is great
when you’re using presets that you know you’re familiar with and when you’re
just taking your photos adjusting with keyboard shortcuts your exposure and
white balance and then using transparent effects that don’t need to be super
complicated to get the job done if this was helpful please make sure to hit that
like button don’t forget to subscribe and if you want to try out these presets
you can download them in links below for free all right take care

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