An Intro To Post Production And Editing In Photography

An Intro To Post Production And Editing In Photography

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post production in photography by john mclenaghan

Post Production

Simply put, "post-production" is the editing that occurs on an image after it is shot. 

Photographers will use software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom to edit and format their images.  Editing is used to polish and prepare an image for publishing, online sharing, or printing.

We all have access to free or paid editing software.  Which one you choose and end up with is a matter of taste.

Editors & Retouchers

Photographers have options.  You can edit your own work or send your images off to a professional re-toucher who edits the image for you.

Some examples of editing that goes on a lot...

  • Removing skin blemishes like pimples.
  • Making color corrections.
  • Cropping images to improve composition.


Formatting For Size

Formatting for a specific publication SIZE.  Some websites, newspapers or social media require a specific size for all the images on the site.

Example - Instagram displays images in a 1:1 (square) format on the feed.  Editors format an image by cropping it to the correct size specified by Instagram.

Formatting For Type

There are many different formats types that you can save a photo as.  Most popular being the JPG format.  Others include TFF, BMP, PNG and more.

Most of the time, the difference in type is the amount of compression used to bring file size down.  A large size (8 or 10 megabytes) may not be suitable or needed at all.  A final image is saved to the specific need of the publication or client.

Example - Facebook recommends JPG files for page banners and post feeds.

Formatting For Consistency

Preparing a group of photos to look similar is a BIG THING right now!  Instagram influencers have figured out a color scheme that works for their followers.  They build a brand around that and edit ALL of their images the same way.

Example - YouTube influencers that know their stuff edit their videos and photos with consistent color across ALL their content.  Building a brand.

First Step - Converting A RAW File

Most photographers shoot in the RAW format.

One of the first steps with a RAW image is to convert it into a format (like jpg) that they can edit and save to.

The CAMERA RAW filter in Adobe Photoshop is the default starting point in post-production for most photographers.  This filter converts a RAW image into a version that you can edit.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) During EDITING

Along with editing the viewable part of an image, post-processing also includes embedding metadata into the unviewable part of the image.

Metadata is descriptive information about the image that helps search engines index your file.  Which helps people find your file.

This includes...

  • Keywords
  • Titles
  • Dates
  • Locations
  • MORE!

Editors add metadata to the image during post-processing.

Get Things "Right In Camera"

Eventually, you will hear a photographer say that they are “looking to get things right in camera”. Meaning they do everything they can to expose and frame their photos correctly -  while they are shooting

Saving time in their editing workflow later.  Because TIME IS MONEY!

The more you shoot, the more you will realize that there is only so much time in the day that you can spend on editing!  Get things RIGHT IN CAMERA!


It’s always good to know that we have technology and editing software that can "save" the image during editing. 

However, it’s still important to stay sharp and avoid forming bad habits.  Over editing can become a crutch that keeps you from being great.

1 Response

Marie Anderson
Marie Anderson

December 15, 2019

Enjoying these videos and teaching notes. You are a natural at teaching. Especially things from the heart that you love and have a passion for. Thank you.

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