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Improve Your Photography By Learning to Edit

A Guest Post By: John Davenport

You might have read the title to this post and thought that I was going to talk about how editing your photographs can make you appear to be a better photographer, but no, I really do mean better – behind the camera.

Thin Ice

I came across this idea of improving my skill behind the camera, by focusing on my skill behind the computer, when I was going about launching my new YouTube series, “Let’s Edit”, which focuses on how to edit photos in Lightroom.

What Exactly Can Editing Teach Us?

As we start out on our photography journey we are learning everything there is to know about creating a photograph. From how our camera works to how different light effects our shots and this can be a bit overwhelming – especially when we’re out in the field taking photos.

Optional Caption: Learning to Crop Differently Can Teach Composition

Learning to Crop Differently Can Teach Composition

When I first started photographing landscapes I would get lost in the act of trying to fiddle with dials and buttons and forget about composition, or when I’d focus on composition I’d forget about my shutter speed or ISO settings. There is so much that goes into creating a photograph that sometimes it helps to just sit down and learn a different way. So I thought I’d try to learn to take better photographs by focusing on learning how to edit the ones I did take.

One area that editing our photos can teach us is the idea of composition. I know there will be people screaming at the screen as they read this, maybe even ripping their hair out, when I say that cropping photos is an excellent way to experiment with composition, but it really truly is.

You can take the same photograph and crop it countless different ways and by doing this you are training your eye to see scenes differently. Apply this knowledge of composition the next time you’re in the field and you’ll actually see those different compositions as you’re looking through the viewfinder making it possible for you to take more photographs while you’re out in the field.

One other area that comes to mind is learning to see things in the field that will look good once edited. Take this black and white photograph of the Boston skyline that I took while I was out photographing the city with my sister.

By Seeing the Edit in the Field You Can Set Shots Up Accordingly

By Seeing the Edit in the Field You Can Set Shots Up Accordingly

By having the black and white image in my head as a concept I was able to know that by under exposing the frame then and there it’d make my life so much easier when I go about creating the final image back in Lightroom.

Now, this is just two concepts where editing can be applied to what we do in the field, I’m curious, have you ever thought about this idea of applying what you do behind the computer in the field? Do you think you can come up with other areas of editing that will make sense when you’re behind your camera? Let us know in the comments below!

John Davenport is an avid amateur photographer looking to make a name for himself. He has recently started a new YouTube series called “Let’s Edit” as well as launched a community site to go along with it. You can also find John on Facebook and Twitter.

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