It's not because I'm a great photographer, I'm not.
It's not because I've got lots of expensive equipment, I don't.
I am just an amateur who barely understands the basics of how to use her DSLR.
The reason I get great comments is largely due to my taking the time to edit photos. Now let me explain. I'm not talking about using photoshop or fancy software to do lots of post processing.
I'm talking about editing, the same way you would edit a blog post, or a letter to your business clients or a birthday invitation, but instead of words it's images you're editing.
Editing your photos is about making sure you've got all the necessary information easily displayed, discarding anything superfluous.
It doesn't matter what program you use to edit your photos, even if you're using your phone you should be able to implement these tips.
Here's my secrets on how to edit photos.
1. Pick the best shots
The first thing to do is to select only the best shots.
This will probably be less then a third of the photos you actually take. If you're choosing more then that you're not being choosy enough.
Nobody wants to see what is basically the same shot over and over again. It's boring, even if they are great shots.
When I took some macros in my back yard I ended up with 48 shots, a lot of those were just grass.
A good way to do this is to quickly run through your photos and gold star (or write down the name) of each photo that strikes you as looking good. Go with your first impression, and work fast.
You'll start second guessing yourself if you take too long deciding.
2. Narrow your selection
Pick the best of the best. Select only one of each type of shot.
If you have 2 shots that are really great but they are of the same subject, angle or pose, just pick one, it doesn't matter which one. Sometimes I'll add them both to a post and then remove one of them once I see it in context.
Of those 48 garden shots about half were fine to use but there was only 7 distinct subjects. I selected only one shot of each subject (almost). Only 6 shots made it into the final published post.
Narrowing down the grass shots was challenging, but once I removed all the similar ones it got easier.
Okay, yes I snuck in a second photo of grass into the post, but it was a completely different composition to the first one and I kept them well apart from each other so it didn't become boring to look at. It's important to know when to break the rules too =)
You should now have 5-15% of your original images left. You should be aiming for a 5% ratio.
Crop out the boring bits. Only show the good bits of the photo and get rid of the excess visual 'noise' that detracts from what you are wanting to show.
These are the same two grass photos seen in the top row in the above collage.
Now doesn't that look better?
4. Apply corrections
Is your image a little dark? Add some fill light. Is it lacking in contrast? Boost the shadows or highlights. Is there a riot of colour confusing the eye? Make it black and white.
There's no need to get carried away with fancy schmancy post processing options that will date your image, like HDR or vignettes. Make your images evergreen and just correct the lighting and colour a little (which you could have done before you took the shot if you were better with your camera).
I didn't apply any corrections to the grass shots, so Geri The Wonder Dog is helping out.
This shot of Geri was a little dark so added a bit of fill light to lighten the whole shot and added some highlights to improve the contrast. You want some nice dark and some nice bright sections in your shot.
Now you know my secrets to great photos. Do you think you could make your photos look better by using these methods?