Brighten Your Wedding Photography: Editing Tips

Now that you have enjoyed your photo shooting with the happy couple and are left with gigabytes of photos to edit, you probably think of the insane workflow required to deliver your final result. All you need is a great, easy-to-follow plan, which involves great time management and creativity. We have already taken care of the first aspect and we will share with you the 10 efficient steps to a victorious editing process.  

Step 1: Photography is Storytelling

If you imagine editing photos is a ‘post-production’ process, you are wrong, my friend. Before getting started you should have already discussed with the couple the touch and mood they want to add to their wedding album or, in other words, to their story. Wedding photography is above all a story you tell by means of images. Why not check out our tips for visual storytelling first?

warm touch to wedding photography

The story line you wish to create will totally influence and ease your approach to the final result. Here are two options to bring up at your initial meeting with the turtle doves:

  • Do you remember that antique, sepia touch so popular years ago? Some clients still prefer the retro, vintage style and are interested in traditional posing.
  • If your clients are looking for a more contemporary style, be bold and suggest a Pop Art approach to their story.

Step 2: Download Photos and Select the Best Shots

Importing photos from camera into computer is not only necessary for the editing process, but also easy, especially if you follow our tips. Be clever and consider your needs first. We recommend you to choose a software that both downloads and helps you edit your photographs. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is our top choice.

Selecting shots is one of the best skills a photographer can have as it will save more time than you imagine. Lightroom allows you, for instance, to rate your already imported photos. Once you added a start rating you can use the filter settings to access your favorites. Try to select the photos you want to keep and not the ones you wish to delete! It is essential to keep a positive attitude.

Step 3: Always Store the Originals Safely

In our article on best ways to import photos we have discussed the importance of storing your originals on an external drive. This is desirable especially if you tend to save edited photos over the originals. If you decide to use Lightroom, it will allow you to select an alternative import location.

Step 4: Basic Editing Tips

Whether you use Lightroom or Photoshop to edit and retouch your material, there are some basic options to consider. As we like Lightroom (you have already figured that out), here are some editing steps to follow:

  • Warm the Photos by Adjusting the White Balance

For a bright but detailed result, try to reduce background highlights and increase shadows.

  • Smooth Out the Noise

Noise reduction is another aspect to consider as you will probably shoot outdoors as well and won’t always use a tripod. Lightroom allows you to easily adjust Luminance, Detail and Contrast. Keep the luminance slider between 40 and 50 and lower the contrast.

Lightroom Noise Reduction

  • The Key to Sharp Images

Sharpening is another essential step of the editing process. Try to focus on the main characters, but do not insist on unnaturally sharpen their skin tones and faces. What you can do is boost the Masking slider a bit and keep the Detail slider to around 10 as to avoid noise.

  • Make Them Glow

Of course there are many settings to play with, but try to stick to the essentials. Be careful with details and work out the exposure and clarity so as to brighten the photographs. Let the sun shine in all photos.

Step 5: The Bride is Your Priority

Bridal portrait

Yes, the couple is important, but if you want your wedding photography to be successful you have to fulfill the bride’s expectations. Bridal portraiture should be one of your main treats, but don’t miss the big picture! Weddings are perfect occasions to capture emotions and general excitement. That’s why candid photography is another must for the photo album.

Step 6: Add Brightness to Your Clients’ Wedding Photography

Weddings are cheerful occasions. Regardless of the theme and style of the story, make sure you catch the glow of happiness on everybody’s faces. Keep in mind that:

  • Foreground elements are important too. Brighten or darken the background according to the mood you want to set to the scenes.
  • Warm and glowing effects are a must!
  • Bright eyes speak joy and happiness.

Step 8: Retouching

Do not panic, not all photos need to be retouched. Choose the ones that will be gathered in the photo album and retouch especially portraits. The trick is to make them look realistically amazing. Focus on whitening teeth, reducing bags or dark circles under eyes, and adding light to the eyes.

Step 9: Export Your Photos

Now that the editing process is almost finished, you will need to export your edited material in JPEG format and name the files according to your inspiration.

Step 10: Share Your Story

The final step is gather the main scenes and characters and create an amazing photo album. This is where your creative skills take part into the story. Make it memorable and let the images speak for themselves.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

10 of the Best Free Lightroom Presets

Adobe Lightroom offers great tools and can help you automate the workflow and add creativity to your library of photos. In Lightroom you can add a photo style by using presets to one or more images in your library.

As the popularity of Lightroom has increased we’ve seen a lot of presets that can help you enhance and modify the look of your photos. Whether you use a PC or a Mac, Adobe Lightroom is a non-destructive image editor. This means that you can try numerous presets without ruining the original photo. It’s a lot easier to edit your photos without having to constantly make back-ups of your images and makes experimenting with different kinds of effects a breeze.

We will show you how to make your own preset and also present some of the best free presets for Lightroom.

Creating Lightroom Presets

It’s very easy to create a custom preset in Adobe Lightroom and there are only a couple of steps you have to take in order of making one. The first thing you have to do is to press “D” on the keyboard in order of entering “Develop” mode. You can also click on “Develop” at the top right part of the window.

The next thing you have to do is use the settings from the panel on the right side to apply settings to a photo. You can adjust black levels, curves, exposure and even apply some custom color effects. There are more options, however, including a lens correction feature.


The options in the “Develop” mode offer all sorts of features needed for you to change the way your image looks until you are satisfied with the result.

After you applied settings to your image and you’re happy with the outcome, you have the foundation set out to create a custom preset. Any settings you applied to the photo are now ready to be added in a preset.

On the left side of the window you will see a panel called “Presets”. In order of creating a new preset, you just have to push the “+” button. A new window will appear which will allow you to adjust the settings you want to include in your preset. Each of these effects can be either unchecked or checked in order to add them into the preset.


After you push the “+” button, a window with a list of options will pop up. This shows the settings you’ve already applied on your image as the foundation of the preset. By unchecking options in this window you will exclude them from the new preset. After deciding on what settings you want on the preset, give it a name and click “Save”. There you have it! Now you have a new preset that you can apply on all your photos.


Installing Lightroom Presets

After you downloaded some presets, you need to install them in Lightroom to use them. It’s very common for presets to come in zip archives. The first step to install these presets is to unzip the archive in a folder.

After you’ve extracted the preset you will want to right click the “Presets” panel in Lightroom and create a new folder for all the presets you’ve downloaded if you want to keep them organized. After creating the folder for all your presets, all you need to do is right click on the folder and select “Import”.


A window will pop up and you will have to point Lightroom to where you’ve extracted your presets. Select the presets you want to add in Lightroom. You can also select multiple presets by pressing “Shift” or “Ctrl” on your keyboard. Click “Import” once you are satisfied with your selection. There you have it! Now your presets are ready to use.


10 Free Lightroom Presets

We’ve searched the web for some of the best presets for Lightroom out there. Here are our favorite Lightroom presets that you can download for free. Click on the title of the preset for the download page. Enjoy.

1. 8 Epic Lightroom Presets for Weddings


This is a collection of presets for people who are interested in wedding photography. With the help of Lightroom and these presets you can really enhance the way your wedding photos look in just a few minutes.

2. Vintage Lightroom Presets


With the help of these presets you can add a vintage look on all your photos to get that nostalgic feeling. They work great on pictures of old cars or old timey cafés and work wonders on your photos in just a few moments.

3. Bad Ass Film Look


These are great for people who want their photos to look like they’re film. We gave them a try and we can honestly say they are pretty impressive.

4. HDR Style Lightroom Presets


There are a lot of people who love HDR photography. Even though HDR looks really cool you might not think about it until you’ve actually taken the shot. And while that look cannot be completely copied by using just one photo, you can use Lightroom to get a similar look. These are some great presets with the help of which you will get that HDR feel on your images.

5. Polaroid Style Presets


Back in the day, Polaroid was used to get a pretty picture instantly whether you used it to shoot portraits or landscapes. It’s a shame that in 2008 Polaroid announced that they would no longer produce instant film cameras. However, you can get the same look by altering your photos digitally. These presets will help you modify your pictures to look like Polaroid photos in just moments.

6. Silky Smooth Skin Preset


This preset will make your portrait look amazing. This will soften even the harshest of skins to look like that of babies. It’s a very useful preset and works really well on all skin types.

7. Black & White Infrared

free lightroom presets

This is a great preset if you want to simulate black and white infrared photography. This preset converts a regular image to look like it’s been shot through an infrared filter. And it does so in just moments of your time.

8. Intense Heaven Preset


This preset greatly intensifies the skies in your photos as well as other elements. It truly does make photos look like they’re part of heaven.

9. Post-Apocalyptic Preset


This preset features a very grungy look filled with warmth and contrast. It’s a great way to alter your city landscapes to look as if they are part of a post-apocalyptic scene.

10. Pencil Drawing Preset


This preset will turn your photos into black and white images that look like pencil drawings. It’s a great preset and the results are quite nice.


So there you have it. This was our list of 10 free Lightroom presets.

Images source:

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Part 2 of the automation of Lightroom

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Lightroom 3 – A Quick Look At 5 Great Features

Have you been debating what software packages to buy to help you become a better photographer? Should you turn to Photoshop or to Lightroom as your workhorse processor?

Here’s a great video from Terry White of Adobe to show you 5 features of Lightroom 3 that will make you look at what you do with your photography in a whole new way.

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