We all know there’s bound to be a signifcant influx of photos celebrating the natural wonders of autumn. Some of them – excellent, some of them – not so much. Unfortunately, we can also expect a wave of fresh enthusiasts to fall into the trap of excess, poor imitation, and even poorer methodology. It’s 2017 and the ecosysytem of photo editing softwares/applications is as massive as it gets. Besides the undisputed colossus that is Adobe Photoshop, contemporary photo editing is, in large part, carried out via the interface of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Here’s what to avoid when using it to edit your autumn photos!
Don’t Make Another One
Slick, swift and generally more user-friendly, Lightroom helps to generate beautiful photos with ease and excitement. However, if there is one software to be blamed for the influx of pseudo-artistic, “HIP” images, Adobe Lightroom takes the cake with ease (there’s actually a matte called “Instant Hipster”). It is, of course, totally fine to replicate the look with an intention to acquire the editing skills; however, it’s bad to propagate pre-baked things with the pretense of some serious creative credentials. The solution? Imitate first, optimize afterward. After watching a tutorial for another “Kinfolk/ish” muted photo look, try to play around with it. You may unintentionally reveal your own, unique style of presenting your photos!
And it’s Safe to Say That…
Presets, in essence, are not that bad of a thing. In fact, they can be legitimately awesome. Also, they can considerably increase your editing workflow and might highlight the already great properties of your photo. The only thing that’s solely up to you is deciding which preset complements a particular photo. To put it simply, the most popular filters are not necessarily the best option for your photos. Do a little research through the VSCO film library and collect a pack of your own hidden jewels!
Slow down with the Vignettes!
This is not as much about avoiding the traditional “indie” look as it is about basic rules of the modern aesthetics. Now, there’s nothing complicated here. In fact, the only tip you should keep in mind is to not use any vignettes at all. However, if you do decide to use one, make sure to edit the thing properly! Transcendent as it can be (-10; -11), subtle, and preferably without the usual eclipse form in the middle.
Oversaturating and… Overmuting
Both things are extremes and therefore should be avoided. Whilst the first one is a typical rookie mistake (instead of saturation, one should play around with the Vibrance though with a reasonable intensity), the second one is a more complex issue. Muteness surely is a trendy thing (in fact, the aesthetic has been an essential part of the flat-lay photo genre), but it’s one that by 2017 standards has already got somewhat tired. Not every style of photo is meant for it, and not every experience is as moody as muting makes it.
Even more, as the research on 2017 visual trends conducted by Getty Images and the video stock platform Video Block indicates, there’s a complete revulsion to be expected. To keep it short, filters are pretty much yesterday’s news. Colorful and street-wise pseudo-documentary style is about to take over both magazines as well as your social media channels! The keywords here are authenticity, photojournalism, awkwardness and humor, not a scruffy oak table surface with a latte, casually opened book and branches of pine. So, don’t mute. Instead…
Use Bold Colours
And by that, we don’t mean simply turning on the contrast level. The kinetic nature of present day’s pop culture scene has created an audience that’s rather allergic to the tame and the ordinary. Instead, they love bold colour concepts, concepts themselves and colours that truly make the picture (not just make it colorful). This does not necessarily mean beautiful combinations, but rather combinations that strike and overwhelm. There’s actually a preset entitled Big Bold Color. Although certainly not working for every image out there, it’s a good introduction to colour adjusting for a greater visual impact instead of achieving the effect via random shifting of brightness and contrast bars.
Being Very Late with Selective Colour
Probably one of the most widely despised effects these days coincidentally is also one of the ones newcomers tend to fell for most often in Lightroom. In a desperate strive to imitate Rodriguez’s Sin City vibe, they leave it all black & white, except, perhaps, for the lips of a lady, a scarf, or any other clothing/decor element. Not only is this practice a terribly outdated aesthetic by all means, it’s also one of the most badly abused ones. The most frequent mistake? Because Adobe Lightroom allows you to skip the mask drawing part, it’s usually the excess of colour. A poor monochrome environment (once again acquired through setting saturation to 0) is made even worse with an over-the-top red beret. A YouTube comment wraps up the issue with this effect rather precisely: “Selective colour is one of those gimmicks that people play around with when the image has no other value otherwise.” It is still exciting when done the right way, which; however, is totally not an easy thing to do.
Basically, the best way to avoid falling into the category of wannabe hipster aesthetic is to avoid turning originally well-intended effects into cheap gimmicks. The discovery of your own unique Adobe Lightroom taste and style might require some time, yet it’s definitely a rewarding lesson. Find your preferred filters, combine them and work with the best that’s available! But, prior that – have a wonderful autumn photo session!