Whether you use Lightroom, Photoshop, VSCOcam, Afterlight, Snapseed, Picasa or another program or app, there are a few things you always need to pay attention to when you’re editing outfit photos. Today, I share the list that I go through in my head when I edit photos of fashion bloggers. The list is in the order of how I usually go through the editing process, but another order is also possible. Not everything on the list is always needed, but you may want to go through all these steps anyway and try to tweak these things a little to see if it improves the photo. This checklist will help you edit the perfect outfit photos and give you the high-quality content you’re readers love and keep coming back for!
Step by step
1. Pick a good photo
Choose the best of the bunch: If you have 15 photos of the model in the same pose from the same angle, choose only the best one to focus your energy on.
- The photo has to be sharp or at least the subject needs to be in focus. Zoom in on the eyes to be sure.
- The model has his/her eyes open (unless you’re deliberately going for closed eyes).
- There are not too many distractions in the background (people, bicycles etc.) that are difficult to edit out.
2. Straighten or rotate
Is the photo straight? Check the horizon or other lines that need to be straight.
Make it straight by rotating the photo. Tool: Rotate or Straighten.
Is the model in the right position of the photo (for example: in the middle or 1/3 of the photo)? Are there elements at the edges of the photo that need to be cut out?
Cut the photo at the edges to get the model in the right position and remove disturbing elements.
Is the photo too light or too dark?
Adjust the exposure. Too light: less exposure. Too dark: more exposure.
How is the contrast of the photo? Does the model stand out from the background or is the photo too dull overall?
Dull? Add more contrast, but be careful: too much contrast can give an unnatural effect. Always check the face of the model.
6. White balance or temperature
Is the temperature of the photo correct? Is the photo too blue or too yellow?
Too cold or blue: make it warmer. Too warm or yellow: make it colder.
7. Highlights or shadows
Are there parts in the photo that are overexposed (too light)? Are there parts in the photo that are too dark?
Overexposed parts: Highlights down. Dark parts: Shadows up.
Are there distracting elements in the background (spots, bicycles, people, litter etc.)? Are there distracting elements on or around the model (dust, wrinkles, loose threads, hair in the face etc.)?
Remove anything that distracts. Keep zooming in and out while you retouch to see the effect and to stay aware of the level of detail.
I like to retouch in Photoshop: Spot healing brush and clone stamp. Alternative: Use the app TouchRetouch on your phone.
What are you going to use the photo for? Print or web? How big does the photo really need to be?
There’s no use to upload a photo of 4000×6000 pixels on your blog if they will turn out smaller anyway. It will only annoy your readers because of the slow loading time. Resize your photo to a suitable width and height and take into account the quality of the image and the file size.
To create more atmosphere in your photo you can go ahead and use a filter.
I recommend VSCOcam (free app for iOS and Android), VSCO Film (presets for Lightroom) and Afterlight (app for iOS and Android). Try different filters and choose the one that suits the most. I like to choose the filter that gives the most natural effect in terms of colours and contrast, but just gives that little extra oomph to the photo.
One final rule: Less is more
Try to make subtle changes, don’t overdo any of these things!
Be especially careful when retouching skin. You don’t need a fake tan and your readers will see through your overly airbrushed porcelain skin. Try to make it look natural and keep it real. Your readers want to see the real you anyway.
The before-after photos are from this shoot with Rachèl.
I hope this list is clear to you and that it’ll help you with editing your outfit photos. If you miss anything, let me know! Any ideas for a next tutorial?