📸 Beginner Guide To Post Processing In Photography (2024)

Jan 13, 2024 | Photography Tutorials

Hey there, photo enthusiasts and pixel magicians!

Welcome to the ultimate guide that will answer all your burning questions about post-processing and post-production in photography.

Whether you’re just starting your journey or are an old hand at this, we’ve got the lowdown on everything you need—from understanding the jargon like “post-production definition” to mastering post-photo editing skills that’ll make your Instagram pop.

Post-Production Techniques and Tools

So, grab your favorite editing tool, maybe a cup of coffee, and let’s dive into the pixelated world of post processing and post production.

Trust me, by the end of this guide, you’ll be processing photos like a pro!

post processing vs post production

Hey, let’s set the record straight before we dive into the nitty-gritty, shall we? Ever get tripped up on what exactly is post processing and what falls under post production? Yeah, they sound like they could be twins, but they’re more like siblings with their own unique talents.

Post Processing is all about those tweaks and adjustments you make to a single image after it’s been shot. Think exposure adjustments, color correction, and sharpening. You’re in the zone with your Adobe Lightroom, just you and your photo, getting it all spruced up.

Post Production, on the other hand, is the bigger picture (pun totally intended!). It’s an umbrella term that includes not just the editing part, but everything that happens after you hit that shutter button.

We’re talking sorting, selecting, and yes, also editing your photos. If you’re setting up a photo series or working on an entire project, you’re in the realm of post production.

So to break it down:

Post Processing = Making an individual photo shine 🌟
Post Production = The whole shebang, from shoot to share 🌈

Got it? Cool, let’s unlock some more photo magic!

Post Processing Photography: Essential Techniques in Lightroom

Photo editing essentials

So, you’ve got this stunning shot, but it’s not quite Insta-worthy yet. Enter Lightroom, the OG game-changer in the world of post processing photography. This isn’t just another app; it’s an artist’s playground loaded with features that make your images pop.

Lightroom takes your photo editing game to the next level. With features like the Adjustment Brush, Radial and Graduated Filters, you can isolate specific areas of an image for targeted tweaking. Wanna fix that overexposed sky? No problemo! Just grab the Adjustment Brush and paint away the blown-out highlights.

But hold on, it’s not just about making your images pretty. Lightroom is your go-to for organizing and managing your photo library too. Remember, post processing isn’t just about the edit; it’s about the workflow. From culling your photos to tagging them, Lightroom sets you up for post processing success.

One of my faves is the Presets feature. These are basically one-click wonders that apply a whole set of adjustments for a particular look. Vintage, black and white, high contrast—you name it, there’s a preset for it.

So, why is Lightroom a big deal in post processing photography?

•🎨 Creative Control: Dial in the precise look you want for your image.
•🗂️ Streamlined Workflow: Import, sort, and organize—all in one place.
•⏱️ Time Saver: Presets and batch editing are lifesavers when you’ve got a ton of shots to get through.

There you have it! Lightroom isn’t just a tool—it’s a cornerstone for anyone serious about post processing photography. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, you can’t afford to skip this beast of a program.

Post Photo Editing: Beyond Basics

Lightroom editing techniques

Ever looked at a photo and thought, “Whoa, how’d they do that?” If you’ve been settling for just the basic edits, it’s time to crank it up. We’re about to take a deep dive into the advanced techniques that’ll have people dropping the “🔥” emoji in the comments of your next post.

Frequency Separation: A Skin Smoothing Game-Changer

Let’s face it—airbrushing is so early 2000s. Today, it’s all about frequency separation. This technique separates your image into two layers: one for texture and one for color. Here’s a quick how-to:

1.Duplicate your background layer twice.
2.Name the first one “Low Frequency” (for color) and the second one “High Frequency” (for texture).
3.Apply a Gaussian Blur to the Low Frequency layer to smoothen the skin tone.
4.Use the High Pass filter on the High Frequency layer to isolate textures.
5.Blend both layers using the “Linear Light” blending mode.

Voila! You now have separated layers to fix color unevenness and skin blemishes individually.

Dodging and Burning: Sculpting with Light

Picture this: you have a portrait that’s almost perfect, but it lacks depth. Enter dodging and burning, your new BFFs for adding shadows and highlights.

Pro Tip: Create a new layer, fill it with 50% gray, and set the blending mode to “Overlay.” Now, you can dodge and burn without affecting the original layer, giving you more control and flexibility.

HDR Merging: When One Exposure Isn’t Enough

The struggle is real when you’ve got a bright sky and a dark foreground. HDR can be your hero, but watch out for moving objects like birds or cars—they can become ghostly echoes in your final image.

Panorama Stitching: For the Grandest of Scenes

Who doesn’t want to capture that breathtaking 360-degree view? But beware: even a tiny misalignment can create stitching errors that’ll leave you in post-processing purgatory.

LUTs and Color Grading: The Mood Makers

Ever scroll through Instagram and think some photos have a “vibe”? That’s color grading, and LUTs are the cheat codes. If you’re new to this, start with pre-made LUTs. Think of them as Instagram filters on steroids.

Beginner-Friendly Option: Software like Adobe Lightroom offers a range of preset LUTs that can make your images look cinematic without much hassle.

And there you have it—ways to go from just editing to full-blown post-photo wizardry. Your shots won’t just be 🔥; they’ll be an entire wildfire. Feel free to try these techniques and watch the likes roll in!

Processing Photos: Best Practices for Workflow

Photoshop post-processing tips

Step 1: Organize Your Files Like a Pro

Before diving into edits, you gotta start with some solid organization. Software like Adobe Bridge can be your best friend here. It allows you to manage all your files and even edit metadata—which is kinda like the DNA for your file; it tells you or anyone else all the nitty-gritty details about the photo. So, instead of sifting through a sea of “IMG_XXXX,” you can search by date, location, or whatever tag floats your boat.

Step 2: Pick Your Software Wisely

Here’s where the fun starts. Let’s talk Lightroom vs. Photoshop with a quick comparison chart:

And hey, if neither fits your vibe, you can explore alternatives like Capture One or GIMP.

Step 3: Non-Destructive Editing is the Way

Imagine you’re building a Lego tower but you’re super-gluing each piece as you go. Bad idea, right? Same goes for photo editing. Opt for non-destructive editing, which means you’re not altering the original file. For instance, Photoshop’s adjustment layers let you test out edits without making them permanent.

Step 4: Stick to a Consistent Editing Style

Ever thought about using mood boards? They can be an excellent tool for honing your unique style. You can pin different styles, tones, or inspirations, and that’ll give you a pretty clear visual direction to follow. Consistency isn’t just eye candy; it’s a signature of your art.

Step 5: Batch Process, but with Caution

Batch processing is like Netflix binge-watching; it’s awesome but can easily go wrong. When I say “thoughtful planning,” I mean don’t apply the same heavy contrast to every photo in a sunset series; what works for one shot may totally wash out another.

Step 6: Always, Always Back-Up

Backing up your photos is like insurance for your digital life. Google Drive, Dropbox, and external hard drives are solid options. Cloud storage has the advantage of being accessible anywhere, but hard drives give you control over your data. Either way, make back-ups a ritual.

Step 7: Review and Revise

Don’t rush to post that “final” edit. Some common mistakes include over-sharpening, too much saturation, and unnatural skin tones. Take a break, come back, and scrutinize each edit like you’re looking for Waldo. You’ll thank yourself later.

There you go! With these revised best practices, you’re all set to elevate your photo-processing game to a whole new level.

FAQ: All About Image Post Processing and More

What is Post Processing in Photography?

Post-processing in photography refers to the steps taken to edit and enhance photos after they have been captured. This could include adjustments to color, contrast, sharpness, and removing noise or imperfections.

These edits are typically done using software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. It’s an essential part of the digital photography workflow to bring out the full potential of your images.

What Does Post-Production Mean in Film?

In film, post-production is the phase that happens after the shooting has wrapped up. This is where all the editing occurs, including cutting scenes, adding special effects, and sound design. Unlike photography, post-production in film involves many processes, such as editing, sound mixing, color grading, and adding visual effects, among others.

What is Post Production?

Post production is the general term for all tasks related to editing and finalizing a project after the filming, shooting, or recording is complete. In photography, it refers to editing and retouching, while in film, it includes editing, special effects, sound design, and more. It’s a crucial stage that can make or break the final output, whether a photo, video, or film.


To produce high-quality images, post-production editing is a necessary step. Both Lightroom and Photoshop include strong tools and methods that may assist you in transforming your photographs in numerous ways, from straightforward exposure tweaks to intricate collages and retouching.

With its straightforward user interface, entry-level editing tools, and non-destructive editing options, Lightroom is a wonderful place for novices to start. Layers and masks, selection tools, and pixel-level tweaks are just a few of the sophisticated editing tools that Photoshop provides as you develop knowledge and proficiency.

Understanding basic editing tools like exposure, white balance, and contrast as well as more complex techniques like using layers and masks, selection tools, and the clone and healing brush tools are important things to keep in mind when using Lightroom or Photoshop for post-production editing.

If you liked this article, be sure to read other articles on our site, such as Understanding focal length and Night photography guide.

If you have any doubts or additional questions, leave a comment and I will answer you as soon as possible.

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Stacy WItten

Stacy WItten

Owner, Writer & Photographer

Stacy Witten, owner and creative force behind LensesPro, delivers expertly crafted content with precision and professional insight. Her extensive background in writing and photography guarantees quality and trust in every review and tutorial.






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