In my six years of blogging about travel, I’ve learned a few things. I did some things correctly from the get-go, like creating social media accounts and letting all of my friends and family know about my blog. I emailed tourism bureaus and asked to be added to their press lists. And I got busy writing articles, mostly about local attractions, at first.
But there are many things I had to learn along the way. Here are the top five:
Build relationships. Networking with other bloggers and with destinations is important. I joined several travel-writing and blogging Facebook groups from the start. Today I’m active in only two of those groups–the ones that include bloggers I have the most in common with. We bounce ideas off of each other and sometimes work together on collaborative articles. I also keep in touch, through social media, with destinations that have hosted me. In fact, I’ve become Facebook friends with many destination staff members. Building relationships has brought me many opportunities, including requests for paid writing assignments outside of my blog.
Write multiple articles about a destination. When I visit a destination, I don’t stop at one article that lists everything I did there. Instead, I first write focused articles on each attraction I’ve visited. Then later, I write a round-up, a summary of each attraction, and I link back to those focused articles. This practice has gotten me many invitations for return visits to destinations.
Don’t procrastinate. After dreaming about travel writing for years, but not doing anything about it, I took Great Escape Publishing’s blogging course to learn the basics. Then I jumped right in. Blogging is a good way to get into the travel-writing world because you don’t have to write query letters and keep your fingers crossed, hoping an editor will like your ideas. You write about what you want, when you want. And you get your writing out there immediately for the world to see.
Populate your blog, but take a break when you need it. I began posting article after article, about three a week. This was a good thing, at first. After all, the more content you have in your blog, the more page views you’ll get through Google searches. But writing so many articles became a burden. It didn’t leave enough time to market my blog on social media. I was stressed. Eventually, I cut down to two articles a week, and then one. I’ve even skipped a week occasionally. And you know what? It hasn’t affected my stats at all. In fact, my page views have continued to increase.
Use SEO. To get onto the first page of a Google search, you have to use Search Engine Optimization. That means you include words in your article and title that match terms that people might search for. At first, I guessed at terms I should use. A few years into blogging I discovered there are helpful tools available, like Yoast, that guide you on SEO usage. Today, about three-quarters of my blog’s page views come from search engine searches.
Learn from my experiences. Incorporate these tips into your strategy for quicker blogging success.
[Editor’s Note: Connie completely reinvented her life at 60, with a part-time blog about her local region. You can do this with your own locale… with your favorite hobbies… or with international travels and adventure. Whether you love luxury spas or cultural immersions… history or shopping… all you have to do is pick what you love and get started.
It is truly a blessing and a wonderful feeling to wake up each day doing the things you truly love to do. It is also amazing that those things create for you the lifestyle of your choosing. For me it is travel photography.
Early in life I discovered my love for art. Sketching in pencil, pen, ink, and charcoal. Later in life I was introduced to analog photograph. I became obsessed. But, because of the cost of film and printing, I had to abandon this love.
Now that I am retired I have returned to my passion. I am fascinated by this new era of digital imagery. Thus, the creation of Digital Age Professionals.
We first, had to consider who our potential customers were going to be. Secondly, we had to identify the problems DAP could solve for these customers. After, this we had to establish a location for our potential customers to visit.
Working from the digital format, our first step involved building our web site. Our website is our digital home (real estate). We have made our home as delightful as possible.
As with any home we expect guest. Guest come in two distinct forms, invited, and uninvited. I don’t know about you but certain close friends are allowed to drop by anytime. Of course, the option of admittance is entirely at my discretion 🙂
Then there are those uninvited guest. That you really have to consider if they are worthy for admittance. However, with our business home we want everybody interested in our product or services to stop by at any and all times!
Marketing, is where my problems began! I quickly realized that even though I had a web site, no one was stopping by. I became very lonely. In this instance lonely equates too low income. I had to quickly learn to market my product to those who are interested in my problem solving capabilities.
Thanks to Six Figure Mentors and AWeber I have now developed superior marketing skills and capabilities. Not only for me, but to other business owners who have marketing problems.
Marketing is the most important part of our business development. Without customers there is no business.
Choosing A Niche
Even though my problems began with marketing, choosing my niche quickly became my largest problem. I am writing this post for all new marketeers who are wrestling with this very same problem.
Affiliate marketing got me started, then I soon realized that I had to develop marketing plans that were concentrated on a particular speciality according to my personal desire. This is where the rubber meets the road.
I spent months trying to get this right. I now understand that many marketeers struggle with this problem. Thankfully my love for photography led me to my perfect niche.
By the way, what I have learned from all of this, is that finding the proper niche is an evolutionary process. Don’t get hung up, let your heart lead you to the lifestyle you desire.
When starting out in the photography business, it’s tempting to be a jack of all trades, shooting everything that looks interesting. While this approach may get you hundreds of unique photos, it will not set you apart from the competition.
Competition is a good thing, professional photographers who have embraced the power of intense competition in stock photography have discovered the power of branding for a specific niche. A niche will help you learn and zero in on what works and what doesn’t.
What type of photography sparks your creative juices? Your passion should be an indicator of your photographic niche.
Succeeding in the crowded field of stock photography requires tenacity, a willingness to get out of your comfort zone and work. Those that have succeeded in stock photography, have discovered the power of being focused on a specific niche.
Research on different niches to find out about the competition, gather as much information as you possibly can to discover what works in the niche and what doesn’t. Gather relevant statistics about sales and market demand. This should help you come up with strategies for joining the niche.
Embracing competition also means seeking out new areas that are underserved. Look for what customers are constantly asking for, what seems to be in short supply, join photography forums listen to the hub talk. Discover where there is demand.
Photography is all about painting with light, Creative photography is an art that transcends all spheres, essentially this means that you can shoot any kind of image, your creativity is what will direct your photography business.
You cannot be an expert in landscape photography, portraits, astrophotography, weddings, food, street photography. Approaching photography creatively requires that you zero in on a specific niche, buy the right gear and practice to shoot amazing photos in this niche.
Creative photographers, don’t really have to be professional, they can be hobbyists with an eye to see what works and what doesn’t. If you are a hobbyist with a keen photographic eye, expand your knowledge level through training, courses, and practical applications, as you concentrate on your chosen niche.
What is a niche?
The business dictionary defines a market niche as
“a small but profitable segment of a market suitable for focused attention by a marketer, Market niches do not exist by themselves but are created by identifying needs or wants that are not being addressed by competitors, and by offering products that satisfy them.”
Photography has different specific niches, to discover which ones are profitable, and which ones aren’t you have to research. Study each niche in detail, and list only those niches that are of interest to you. Do you have the right gear and equipment for this niche?
Here is a list of a few niches that you can research on:
Real Estate Photography, Wedding Photography, newborns, Business, landscape Photography, Black and White Photography, Fashion Photography, Studio Photography, Street Photography Pet Photography, Photo-Journalism, Celebrity Photography, underwater Photography, Product Photography, Portrait Photography, amongst many others.
If you are a beginner starting out in photography, you will have limited knowledge about the equipment needed for specific niches. Start by learning about various types of photographic gear that will help shoot high-quality photos.
How do you identify a niche?
Your interest should lead you., Your interest, however, may not be good enough as an indicator of how profitable is. Researching about every area of your expertise to understand the market dynamics will help you settle on a profitable niche.
As we said earlier Photography is an art of painting with light, you may be good in one area and not the other, as an artist, identify areas you are good at. Proceed to do complete market research, this should direct your focus in the area that will eventually become your bread and butter.
When starting on your photographic journey, try out everything, see what works and what doesn’t, zero in on what is working. Study what prospective customers are asking for but seems to be in short supply. Are you in a position to work on meeting this demand? Do you have the required knowledge, expertise, and equipment to shoot images for this specific niche?
Before settling in one niche try out several niches to find out where your unique skills meet a demand in the market.
Challenges of niche Photography
Niche photography is a highly specialized approach to photography, it segments the industry into specific photography markets. Each market requires a specialized approach, in addition to special skills, some segments like astrophotography or insect photography require specialized equipment.
This means that no matter how passionate you are to shoot photos in a certain market, you might be limited by the availability of the right gear. Work in a niche that you have the right equipment and skills to produce high-quality images.
Your location will also determine the type of niche you can join, for example, if you live in the rural areas, you cannot shoot street photos, this, therefore, cannot be your specialty, unless you relocate to a city.
The location will also determine the type of images you can shoot, for example, you cannot shoot underwater images unless you live near a body of water. And have the right gear and scuba diving equipment.
Connect your brand to your niche
Once you have settled on a niche, prepare to ride the storms. As you go through the learning curves, you may find some months will be rough, you may be tempted to quit. Niche photography is a highly specialized photography genre that approaches a select group of buyers who may at first hesitate before committing to buying from you.
When you approach your niche with the end in mind you will stick in there for the long haul. Niche photography is a marathon and not a sprint. The easiest way to attract buyers fast is to have a wide selection of images in your niche.
Brand your images with a style template, as an individual your portfolio may not grow fast enough to stand out in the market. If you have the means you can hire other specialized photographers to shoot images that you can then post-process using your style template to retain uniformity.
If you do not have the means, build your business one brick at a time, work on your brand awareness, build your presence and don’t be in a hurry, the right buyers will eventually discover your unique talents.
Targeting a market niche is hard work, and is not for the faint-hearted, it is, however, the most rewarding and long-lasting successful way of joining this highly competitive business.
Do you want to make a stable career out of your photographic skills? Let stiff competition not derail your ambitions. Choose a niche, study the niche, roll up your sleeves and get to work, you will definitely succeed.
I have come to realize that my purpose in life, in simple terms is; to promote Health Wealth and Love. It is truly a blessing to be able to enjoy my daily life uplifting humanity by fulfilling my purpose.
When you think about it Health, Wealth, and Love combined are the foundation on which true happiness is built. Man’s greatest aspiration should be for, him and his family to enjoy life in good health, filled with an abundance of wealth and love.
There is great debate as to which comes first or, which is more important. I have come to the conclusion, that the order does not matter. To be lacking in either results in unhappiness.
I think we all would agree that the driving force in the universe is “Love”. I also think that all would agree that without good health, happiness is impossible. However, there arrises uncertainty about wealth. The question arises; can you be truly happy while experiencing lack?
Man is limited only by disempowering beliefs and erroneous thinking. Strangely enough, most of our disempowering beliefs come from erroneous religious teachings.
Teachings derived from passages such as; “ the love of money is the root of all evil”. Or, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into heaven”.
Please, examine such text more thoroughly. Passages are often misunderstood. And sometimes, further study may reveal other passages that should be examined.
Take a look at this passage;
Ecclesiastes 10:19 …a feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
Now, what do you think? Regardless of what you think, you probably can’t argue with the fact that financial condition directly affects all three of these very important areas.
We must have money. Money is only a medium of exchange that is used as a tool to not only satisfy necessities but to also forge a lifestyle. You get to choose your lifestyle.
It is “only” your thinking that determines your lifestyle. With thoughts of Health Wealth and Love, you create circumstances that in turn manifest the desired environment. Therefore, you get to enjoy your life. On the other hand, thoughts rooted in fear, produce poverty, lack, and ill-health.
My thoughts of an abundant lifestyle led me to the creation of Digital Age Professionals. Built on the Six Figure Mentors, affiliate marketing platform I now lead a lifestyle of complete freedom. I get the opportunity to promote Health Wealth and Love while I travel the world enjoying my two greatest passions; writing and photography.
I hope I have given you “Adequate Motive” to Create a business that satisfies the basic motives within your being. Join us, and turn your passion into the lifestyle of your desire.
In today’s society Money is the current that drives the machinery of consumerism. Money is our medium of exchange and therefore our measurement of value. Money is a symbol that represents value in goods, land or service.
Therefore having or not having money is our measurement of personal value and success. Even though I disagree, this belief directs our thoughts toward a never-ending quest for more and more Money,
Thoughts, Beliefs, and Religion
In my quest for more money and a better life, I have come to understand that thinking controls and directs our circumstances and environments. “As A Man Thinketh, So Is He”, our thoughts create our reality.
This discovery caused me to ask myself; what guides our thoughts? Consequently, in the contemplation of this question, I was led to Beliefs. Our thoughts are conceived and created by what we believe. “…go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto you” Matthew 8:13. Another version says “…what you believe will be done for you”
Where then do our beliefs come from? It seems to me that our beliefs come about as a result of mental conditioning, acquired in our life process. Our beliefs are grounded in the influences of family, friends, environment, education, religion, and overall interaction within the whole of society.
Looking at this list of influences, what stands out in my mind is religion. I think religion is uppermost in the creation of Beliefs, both empowering and disempowering. I have come to this understanding based on the definitions of the word “Religion”.
So, for this discussion about money I wish to probe the dictionary, as well as the sacred text of Christianity, the “Holy Bible”. My investigation reveals the interdependence, and co-dependence of the two terms; belief and religion.
Ceremonies and RULES used to worship a god or group of gods
(Internal) An interest, a BELIEF, or an activity that is VERY IMPORTANT to a person or group
A set of BELIEFS concerning the CAUSE, nature, and purpose of the UNIVERSE, especially when considered as the creation of a “Superhuman” agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a MORAL CODE, GOVERNING the CONDUCT of Human affairs.
A specific fundamental set of BELIEFS and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons
A body of persons ADHERING to a particular set of BELIEFS, and practices
Something one BELIEVES in and, FOLLOWS DEVOUTLY.(deep religious feeling of commitment)
The “Metaphysical Bible Dictionary” explains religion as:
A systematic exposition on the awareness of a deity who is the supreme ruler of heaven and earth; that which arouses reverence and love for a supreme being.
If you will notice I have capitalized certain keywords:
Set of beliefs
Now if you string these keywords together you may get something like this;
“Very important beliefs,(convictions) or a set of beliefs which cause and govern a moral code (conduct). Or, that are adhered to by Religious groups within the universe that follow these codes devoutly” (deep religious feeling of commitment)
Now, that we have examined how thoughts, beliefs, and religion are related, we can now examine the tenants of Christianity, from within the pages of the “Holy Bible”. My investigation of the “King James Version” reveals the use of the word money in a total of 140 verses within its text. For the purpose of this discussion, I will take a look at only a few. However, I urge you to continue to investigate.
Love of money:
In reference to money, what resonates with me is this statement; “The Love Of Money Is The Root Of ALL Evil”. Found in the following verses:
I Timothy 6: 8-11
(8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness
From this, I get the belief that we are to be content with only having the necessities of life. And, it goes on to say that those who go beyond this belief, fall into lustful temptation, that is considered to be foolish, and hurtful. And, that this lust leads to perdition (a state of eternal punishment and damnation after death).
Continuing, we find that the love of money is the root (cause/source/origin) of evil (profound immorality and wickedness when regarded as a supernatural force) And those who covet money have stepped away from faith (which is, a strong belief in God, or doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof), piercing themselves with sorrows. If you be a man of GOD you should flee from this evil.
Now, let’s continue with another well-known verse;
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God
The ultimate goal of the participants who operate within the religion of Christianity is to reach the Heavenly realm or the kingdom of God. Following this verse, I get the understanding that possessing riches is an automatic disqualification.
Please, pause for just a moment and consider the effect on believers that these passages cause. The effect is the creation of this very confused society.
These verses create and instill very powerful disempowering beliefs, that lay the foundation for a “poverty mindset” for those who devoutly follow Christianity. They send a very powerful message that suggests, having money is taboo. This raises the question; Is their honor in self-denial? Is their honor in poverty?
Now, for the surprise, let us now take a look at one small and very often overlooked verse;
A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry; but money answereth all things.
This verse in conjunction with several others allude to money as being a defense. Now, it seems that the script has been flipped.
Now, what do you think? Remember, your thoughts are rooted in your beliefs. Maybe, a better question should be; What do you believe? Do you believe having money is empowering or disempowering?
“Your Beliefs Create Your Reality”
Whatever you believe, it is a profound fact that; within this very real and constructed society, built on consumerism we must have money. Money provides the necessities to sustain life for you and your family. But, are we to stop there? Is there honor in lack?
In a universe of abundance, no one should want to just exist. We were created by God(Universal Sprit/Universal Energy/The ALL) in his /her spiritual likeness to be a creator. You were born to create according to the unique purposes, and gifts given you.
Your creations should and will bring forth the wealth, and abundance necessary for the enjoyment and fulfillment of your life. Look around you, all the material objects that you see were created by some man or woman. All these creations were founded in a belief out of which sprang a thought, which then manifested that particular object.
I challenge you, given the fact that you are a Being within this vast universe, that you now become that which you were born to be; a CREATOR! It is time that you create according to your purpose, gifts, talents, likes, and desires. Bring-forth the value you are intended to share with the universe. Abundance and Prosperity are your birthrights!
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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on our sister website, LightStalking.com
This is a fact that you may, or may not, be aware of- At this point in time, a digital photograph “REQUIRES” a number of Fundamental Editing Steps to become the gorgeous photograph that you intended it to be. The Fundamental Editing List, discussed in this article, includes the most important steps in digital photography.
Why? Read on.
Let me begin by stating, “There is a caveat to the above statement…”
If you’re still in the digital “Stone Age” and shooting only in the .JPEG format- well there’s little that I can do for you here.
By shooting .JPEG, you’re letting the camera decide how great your image processing is going to be. Yes… When a digital camera creates a .JPEG image file, it is “processing” the file inside the camera.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the term, “post-processing”?
With a .JPEG, I guess you can call it, “pre-processing”.
Okay! I concede that you can make “selections” on your camera to skew how the camera will record the scene.
“YES”, I know that you can still alter the image in post-processing after downloading the file from the camera.
However, you are starting out with a tainted original- (Tainted? Is that a nasty word in this circumstance?) The camera bias is already locked into your image file.
Why paint a picture on a canvas that already has paint splattered on it? (This is a metaphor for you visual learners.)
Why not begin with a clean canvas?
This is the important point to grasp; the camera settings, for creating a .JPEG image file, have no truly measurable system for the photographer to control what is happening to their image output. The camera software is taking over. These settings might include such terms as: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Faithful, Landscape, Portrait, or Monochrome.
I’m not saying that you should never shoot a .JPEG image or use these settings. (Although personally, I never use these settings. I leave them as neutral as possible.)
I always shoot .JPEG images. There is a place for them in the photography world. I shoot them for those moments when I need an image quickly: to send a sample to a client or upload to social media.
But my important work… that’s all coming from the raw file format.
I set my camera to shoot both raw and .JPEG.
Why does my important work always come from the raw file format? Because the raw file format is a clean canvas; it’s a digital negative. The camera created a neutral image with the full recording power available to it, and now (similar to film- where a color printing technician must pull the visual energy from a piece of film), you must post-process the beauty of the original scene back into your image file.
Why do cameras still have the .JPEG option? It is still the file format of choice for many applications. Photo labs use that format. The Internet is primarily set up to use the .JPEG format.
Important Point: Shoot and post-process in the raw file format, and then convert to .JPEG for distribution. Set your camera to shoot raw & .JPEG simultaneously if quick turnaround is a factor. Set your camera to the raw file format only if trying to conserve memory card space.
There are 14 primary post-processing steps that virtually every raw file should receive and 2 “semi-optional” steps.
I believe the 2 “semi-optional” steps are mandatory as well. However, that is my personal preference, and those 2 steps are included in my “workflow”, or what I call my “Fundamental Edits List”.
I don’t know about you- but that word “workflow” has always been kind of scary to me. Or maybe scary isn’t the right word? Useless? I came from the film days where the idea of workflow hadn’t been created yet.
Before, we get further into this idea of workflow in post-processing. (Because as it turns out, workflow is super-important.) I would like to share a couple of excerpts with you.
One is from Nikon, and the other is from Canon.
NIKON: “Nikon’s unique RAW (NEF/NRW) formats let you get the complete Nikon image creation experience, while fully exploiting the high level of image quality produced by Nikon cameras and NIKKOR lenses.”
CANON: “If you consider your RAW images files as digital negatives, then like traditional negatives, they need to be processed in order to reveal their true colors and tones.”
BINGO! (Those two above quotes were for the naysayers out there.)
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This is a fact that you may, or may not, be aware of- At this point in time, a digital photograph “REQUIRES” a number of Fundamental Editing Steps to become the gorgeous photograph that you intended it to be. The Fundamental Editing List, discussed in this article, includes the most important steps in digital photography.
This article is not going to spew forth on the wonders of the raw format (any more than it already has).
If you’ve read this far- there are two things that I hope you truly understand. (Soon, you will discover the MOST important steps in digital photography!)
You should be shooting the raw file format for maximum quality, and control, over your photographic product (pictures).
All raw format image files require at least 14 post-processing steps to reveal their fullest potential.
YAY! YOU GET IT!
Let’s talk about the 14 post-processing steps. (I’m going to leave out the 2 optional steps due to article length.)
I call them, “The Fundamental Edits List”.
Side note– If you want to get a complete breakdown of my Fundamental Edits list. Including step-by-step ‘how-to’ instruction in Lightroom, Photoshop and Elements. I’ve published an eBook on the topic called the Ultimate Guide to Fundamental Editing » Go here now to take a look.
There is a story behind my writing about my Fundamental Edits List.
This topic came to mind when I remembered a conversation that I had with a newer photographer several months ago.
She’d been into digital photography for about 3 years.
She was telling me about her frustration with her photography.
She said that she had studied the guides on composition, exposure, ISO, lenses- yada yada- but her photos still didn’t spark like all the others that she saw on Flickr and 500px.
I asked her, “What kind of editing are you doing?”
Her response stunned me.
She said, “Oh. I don’t do that editing thing. I’m a purist. I like shooting landscapes and capturing the beauty of nature just the way it was presented to me. I like light…”
I must have had a strange look on my face because she asked me, “What?!”
I asked her, “What do you think editing is?”
She got a little indignant.
“It’s like when you change the color, or add texture, or remove something that you don’t like… or put something in that wasn’t there-”
“Whoa!” I said. “Look me in the eyes. It’s virtually impossible to have a great shot in digital photography without doing some fundamental editing, or what people refer to it as post-processing.”
“That’s not what my uncle says, and he’s a retired professional photographer,” she responded.
“He is? Does he shoot digital photographs now?”
“No. After he retired, he took up fishing.”
(Folks, don’t take photography advice from someone who hasn’t been active in the industry it for at least the last 3 to 5 years. The industry is changing that fast.)
I believe that in fundamental editing there are three goals.
Fundamental edits should take your original concept, as designed in-camera, and bring them to life within the digital realm. Fundamental editing restores depth, color, saturation, and contrast etc. to something closer to what your original vision was when you snapped the camera’s shutter release button.
Fundamental edits should make your file as “printable” as possible. If you were to go to a photo printer and have a print made from your original digital file, as it emerged from the camera (raw format), chances are the print would not look very good. The fundamental edits whip your file into shape so that you get the best possible photographic print.
Fundamental edits should be used to fine-tune your composition.
What is the Bottom line? Fundamental Editing, (or post-processing if you prefer that language), isn’t about big changes. It’s about the subtle changes that mold your image file into what you originally intended it to be.
Here’s an example-
The image on the left is the raw file that came out of a Canon 6D camera. The image on the right is my final shot, as I pre-visualized it, when I snapped the shutter, and after conducting my Fundamental Edits List.
As you can see- the basic tenor of the photograph has remained the same.
It seems logical, at this point, to mention some examples of what Fundamental Editing IS NOT- (in my opinion anyway)
It isn’t HDR
It isn’t converting to black and white (or any monochrome tone)
It isn’t high contrast
It isn’t super-saturated color
It isn’t muted color
It isn’t selective color
It isn’t adding textures
It isn’t applying any funky filters or apps
It’s about restoring the raw file to a digital photograph that more closely resembles what your eyes saw and your memory recalls.
Now, let’s go back to workflow.
Having a Fundamental Editing List really requires a “workflow” to have predictable results.
If you’re an aspiring pro, or just have the desire to create the best possible images that you’re capable of- then you must take post-processing workflow seriously.
Completing a Fundamental Editing List in an established pattern will create predictable results.
What can happen if you go about applying fundamental post-processing steps in a willy-nilly manner?
You can increase the noise
You can create destructive edits that can’t be reversed
You can blow out your highlights
You can turn your black tones into inky blobs or grayish muck
You can throw your color off
You can over-sharpen and create ugly artifacts
Let’s take a peek at the items on my Fundamental Edits List:
Opening the image (How- you open the image can have significance)
Global Exposure Adjustment
Clipping on the Shadow End – Black Point
Clipping on the Highlight End – White Point
Efex – Vignette (optional)
Efex – DeHaze (optional)
Localized Exposure Adjustments
with the Adjustment Brush
Localized Sharpening with the Adjustment Brush
Global Sharpening (always- last)
I can’t cover the “how to” on each of these edits here. Quite frankly, it’s too much information to fit into a blog post. (Which is why I wrote a whole book about it)
However, let me give you some highlights.
Opening the image can have a significant impact on how you’re going to work on the file. It can also have an impact on how you will find the image at a later date. Depending on which program you’re using, it can affect images that you open up “after” a particular image. A key phrase here is workflow. Develop a pattern as to how you’re going to open your images. Complete the same steps every time. Those steps may vary depending on the editing software that you’re using. The steps for Photoshop won’t be the same as they are for Lightroom or Adobe Elements.
Crop in a non-destructive manner, this means in the ACR camera raw window or directly in Lightroom.
Do noise reduction early in the Fundamental Edits List. I do it right after my cropping. The reason for this is that the noise reduction process might affect some of the other steps. My noise reduction policy is to try and get it done outside of Photoshop or Elements (in the ACR camera raw processing window).
Use a very light hand in any global exposure adjustment. If you wish to become a real pro at post-processing, you need to master the Adjustment Brush. Professional use of the Adjustment brush will help you to eliminate sweeping global changes across your images that are the hallmark of amateur photography.
Clipping is a term that Adobe adopted to indicate lost image detail. In order to understand clipping, you need to have a working knowledge of the Histogram. It would also help you to study up on the Zone System. Clipping on the shadow end means that you’ve lost details in your black areas. If you look at your photographs, and the deep black areas tend to look like black blobs (with no detail); you’re likely clipping the shadows. On the reverse end is highlight clipping. If your highlight areas look like white blobs (with no visible detail) this means you’re likely clipping the highlights.
Clipping is a problem that I see all the time with photographs on the Internet.
Many of you digital photographers probably don’t remember Dean Collins. Dean was one of the original Photography Instructor Gurus. He was a true master of the photographic medium.
I took one of his workshops many years ago.
It was there, that I first truly learned that in a photograph there is “white” and then there is “WHITE”. The perception of “white” varies widely. When a bride is wearing a white dress, the dress should look “white” but not “WHITE”.
Do you get what I’m saying?
There should be texture and tone to the white dress. If it looks “WHITE”, (if it’s a white blob), then your highlights are clipped.
The reverse is true with shadows. A black cat on a black silk scarf should look “black” not “BLACK”. There should be tonal variations in the shadows. Those tonal variations should include texture and detail. If you can’t see that in your photograph, you have shadow clipping.
I’m not going to delve deeply into the Histogram and the concept of tonal range. However, it might help you to know this…
The number 255 on the Histogram is “WHITE”. Any number from 254 to approximately 230 is somewhere on the scale of “white” (with tone and texture).
The number 0 on the Histogram is “BLACK”. Any number from 1 to approximately 30 is somewhere on the scale of “black” (with tone and texture).
The photograph of the bride shows you “white” (with texture and detail), there’s no clipping. Color temperature and Tint represents the Wild West of post-processing. Why? We all see color differently. But, (and this is a big “but”), if you’re creating photographs for a customer, someone who isn’t going to see the world through your eyeballs, then an expectation of accurate color is pretty mandatory. This is a huge “workflow” step. Managing accurate color. Develop a system for color adjustment, and stick to it for predictable results.
Clarity is your friend. Use it wisely. Clarity helps to give your photograph the impression of sharpness without adding noise. Caution though- don’t go too far with the Clarity setting.
Vibrancy and Saturation are the most abused Fundamental Edits outside of Sharpening. If you’re shooting strictly for yourself, then you have free reign over these bad boys. However, if you’re taking on assignments, or wish to move in that direction, you must learn how to “accurately” set these two Fundamental Edits.
In order to do that, you must be able to accurately read and understand a Histogram. You must also develop the skill of evaluating “what is happening to the Histogram” as you make changes throughout your Fundamental Edits List.
This is important.
You must learn how to read a Histogram, and develop the skill of judging how the Histogram is changing as you make Fundamental Edits.
Vignette, DeHaze, and the Adjustment Brush aid in the altering of the composition in post-processing; I’m only going to discuss the Adjustment Brush here in this article.
In my opinion, the Adjustment Brush is the single most powerful Adobe tool in post-processing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re using Lightroom, Photoshop, or Elements (known as the Smart Brush in Elements). This tool allows you to completely change the composition and mood of a photograph. If you don’t know how to use this tool, learn it. I’ve written about it extensively.
Finally, we have Global Sharpening. This step is always last in my workflow, and I believe it should be in yours as well. If you’ve done a good job with the Clarity setting, and with localized sharpening using the Adjustment Brush, you likely will have to barely use this setting at all. That’s a huge advantage for you, because so many photographers abuse this setting and create obvious artifacts in their images.
Proper fundamental editing, with an established workflow, will push your efforts above your competitors!
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If you’re unsure about your Fundamental Editing, or you would like some guidance from me on how to apply a Fundamental Edits List properly. I have written a comprehensive guide on the subject.
It covers all three Adobe products: Photoshop, Lightroom, and Elements. Plus it includes a free printable step-by-stepediting checklist with that you can pin-up, or leave next to your computer.
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Kent DuFault became a photographer in September of 1974. He took a “Basic Photography” class in high school and was hooked for life. His best-selling guide, Fundamental Editing has helped more than 10,000 photographers learn and
This one-word question resonates at the foundation in the development of our understanding. In an effort to understand any subject within the whole of our universe we always begin our investigation based on interrogatives. Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and How-come lies at the root of both intellectual, and spiritual understanding.
Every parent, grandparent, teacher, babysitter that exist has at some time been bombarded with the daunting question of Why. They then desperately attempt to answer, usually with little success. Every answer always leads to another “Why”.
In an effort to know and understand myself I too am always faced with this daunting question. As I contemplate my being, or my existence, one why always leads to another, and another, and another.
This morning I was awakened with a somewhat disturbing thought. If I am faced with this challenge in my spiritual quest, the same must hold true for everyone who really desires to know themselves and how they fit within our magnificent universe.
Beware, the contemplation of “self”, is covertly discouraged by the creators of this “Constructed Society”. A society that is being directed toward what is termed “The New World Order” where totalitarianism is the aim. To know thy self is considered to be taboo.
If we begin to ask why in regard to ourselves and how we fit into the universal scheme, the truth about who we are begins to unfold. The power we possess as individualized yet connected spiritual beings comes to light.
Man is an individualized spirit created in the image and likeness of “Universal Spirit” (God). The omnipresence, omniscience, and the omnipotent attributes of God, powers man to be the creators of the world. The creators of this “Constructed Society”, have an “Absolute Understanding” of the creative power of thought given to man as a “Child of God”. This understanding forged the “Matrix” we now live in.
The only weapon that we have to counteract the advancement of totalitarianism, is our personal individual understanding of this same power. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote; “Self Reverence, Self Knowledge, Self Control…these three alone lead to Sovereign Power”.
Now contemplate the condition of the world, and the systems that dictate our well being. Our political, educational, health care, judicial, religious, arts/media, and agricultural systems.
At the end of your contemplation ask yourself Why. Why are you like you are? Why are other individuals like they are? Why is society like it is? The answers will explain WHY we are in the mess that we are in!
Why now becomes the same annoyance produced by your most inquisitive grandchild. Each answer opens up a whole new concept of life, which leads to another Why.
I submit to you the answer to why the world is like it is so obvious. Simply put, we are here because ALL the systems of our world which we depend on to protect, lead, and guide us are created, established, and founded on two principles; PROFIT & POWER.
This idea, this thought, this suggestion goes against every fiber of our preconceived belief. We believe that each one of these systems protects us from harm in whatever capacity they serve. Change is blocked because the average individual refuses to challenge their belief in support of these systems. Please understand, by nature, a belief is only true because you believe it to be true. CHALLENGE ALL YOUR BELIEFS!
I submit to you, the answer to the question as to why society is in its present state resides in the profound quest by man to succeed through and by, the creation of PROFIT & POWER!
We find ourselves living in a most interesting era, where society seems to be moving in opposite, yet parallel directions. We are beginning to acknowledge the significance, and power of “Thought based on Truth”. Yet we run from Truth as if it were a venomous serpent.
We are moving into a new age. An age where the last frontier is not infinite space, or within the confines of the ocean, nor is it anywhere within the sphere of the earth. This new frontier lies within the understanding of the omnipresent “Universal Mind”, in relation to man.
This “Aquarian”, age of transformation, grows from the roots of Truth. The truth about the “creative principle of thought”. The understanding of the power of thought is considered to be the greatest discovery of all time. Correct thinking grounded in Truth, ignited and fueled by the emotion of love is the key.
We should seek Truth in all aspects of life. Most importantly we must seek the Truth about our universe and how man relates to the whole of it. The truth about the Universal Spirit, Mind, and Energy, commonly called God. The Truth about our human connection to the whole of the universe, even though we function as Individualized Spirit.
There are those who actually know and have known and accepted the Truth about the power of the mind, and then there are those who have not yet come to “Absolute Understanding” of who we are and the power we possess through thought.
Those that have come to realize the power of the mind of man, and how that mind works in conjunction with the Universal Mind, have excelled to enormous heights. They understand that the Universal Mind is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscience, and that the universe is guided by “Natural Laws”. These individuals have used the spiritual power within them (cause) to create a network of influential power (effect) throughout the world. Thus, the continual construction of,“The New World Order”.
The advancement of this power consortium is moving at a rapid pace toward the creation of a state of “Totalitarianism”. Centralized world control by autocratic authority; a political concept that places the citizen under one absolute worldwide authority. Ideas such as worldwide baking and education systems paired with global communication and artificial intelligence. All created under the guise of global alliance, which stimulates world trade, and ignites “global consumerism”. Ideas that have created the matrix in which we now live and have our being.
Then there are those less fortunate beings who are just now coming to an understanding of “Truth” in regard to how our universe functions. It seems that the larger number of earth’s inhabitants have allowed dis-empowering beliefs to cloud Truth. We fear Truth simply because Truth challenges our preconceived beliefs.
These preconceived beliefs are the causes for the circumstances, and the environment in which we live. Our thoughts are directed by our beliefs, and our thoughts lead to actions whether positive or negative. Our beliefs manifest into reality.
Those of us who refuse to challenge our beliefs. have been thoroughly immersed in the oil of deceit. This well-defined oil has the viscosity of quicksand. The more you struggle to get out of this deception, the deeper you sink.
Engulfed, we now become the very oil that lubricates the system. A system oiled by our ignorance and powered by our labor that produces the currency which fuels this global system of consumerism.
So how do we change our circumstances? We must challenge our beliefs! We must seek TRUTH! The truth about God’s Universe, and how we are all connected beings functioning as individualized Spirit. The truth about our creative ability using the power of correct thinking impressed upon the Universal Mind of God. These principals of Truth must be told to each generation, and to every people in new and varied ways.
We must take a better look at the conflict between science and theology. We must study and compare religions. We must understand that all our power comes from within (the Kingdom of God is within). We must understand that thought is the controlling principle of the universe, and that correct thinking creates desirable environments and circumstances. These efforts will destroy traditional ways of thinking which have become antiquated, and impotent.
We must also develop new ways of participating in this global economy. We must change our position as common laborers and consumers to the status of producers. The creation of income-producing entities will reverse the situation. This is where the positive connects with the negative and creates the power to create your ideal environment. Change your way of thinking, change your circumstances.
We are standing on the doorstep of a new era. The common man is finally learning the secrets of his mastery, thereby ushering out the “New World Order” and ushering in a “New Social Order”. More wonderful than anything imagined.
Look around you, every material object you see, started out as a thought in some man’s mind. The car you drive, the bricks that form your home, the toaster you used for breakfast this morning, the plate you ate from, the cell phone that you can’t put down. All things (material objects) have their origin in the mind of man, and the manifestation of these objects are the result of Thought.
The mind of man is creative. It must be understood that this creative power originates not in the mind of man but in the “Universal Mind”(God), the source of all power, wisdom, and intelligence. This “Universal Mind” is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscience.
Being omnipresent, mind permeates all things and all space. “The ALL(God) is in Everything, and Everything is in the ALL(God)” This means that the essence of God resides within you, and all individuals. (“ The Kingdom of God is Within”) We are Individualized Spirit. All your power comes from within.
This mind permeates every cell of your body in the form of negative energy. We have come to understand that this energy comprises our “subconscious mind” it acts without our conscious knowledge. This subconscious mind is our true connection between God, the universe, and our conscious mind.
The Universal Mind and You
“God made man in His own image” (Spiritual Image). A through examination of the word man will bring you to its origin, which is the word mind. Now replace the word man with the word mind. The scripture will then read “God made mind in His own image”. Thus, the mind of man is a part of the Universal Mind. It should be noted that a part of anything possesses the same substance and quality of that from which it comes. The only difference is one of degree.
The subconscious mind is the connecting link between the Universal mind and the conscious mind of man. Our subconscious mind is responsive to the desires (will) of our conscious mind.
The conscious mind is the positive energy of thought. The only activity of mind is thinking. Our conscious mind thinks, and impresses upon our negatively charged subconscious mind, which is the connecting link between you, and the Universal Mind(God). This connection produces the power necessary to cause the manifestation of that particular thought. Making your conscious mind the creator of things, environments, and circustances.
Be very careful, your creative conscious mind is susceptible to all forms of influence, gathered in by your senses, what you hear, see, smell, taste, and or feel. Your thoughts are not only influenced by impressions from your senses, but they are also affected by your beliefs, most of which are received via heredity. Your beliefs guide and direct your thoughts, therefore shape your reality. (circumstances, environments) It must be noted that your deeply ingrained beliefs can be either empowering or disempowering. Examine all your beliefs.
I must take a moment to enlighten you to that most of us are oppressed, and subjugated. We have an oppressor in some form or another, whether it be in the form of government or some elitist power. This oppression is rooted in consumerism. As a consumer you are the power that fuels our intricately “constructed society”. And, your beliefs are shaped to keep us in that position. You can only change your position by becoming a producer, thereby lessening the effects of consumerism.
Your subconscious receives all thoughts both good and bad it does not discriminate. If your thoughts are of peace, love, wealth and happiness, your circumstance and environment will be good. But, if your thoughts are based on fear, poverty, and lack, your thoughts will manifest circumstances accordingly. You have been given the power to think on the level of “The Absolute’(God), now use that power.
You Are a Creator
Now that you understand that you are a creator, what are you going to create? Are you going to continue to create bad circumstances by harboring thoughts of poverty and lack, based on fear? Or, are you going to think thoughts of joy, peace, and abundance? Resulting in a life of true happiness filled with good health, wealth, and love.
The power of thought could be considered to be man’s greatest discovery. I submit to you that the major difference between the super rich and the common man is this discovery and the use of it’s power.
There are those who made this discovery and have used this power to create large amount of wealth. Then, there are those who have made this discovery and have not acted on it.
Then there are those who are just now becoming aware. Now that you are beginning to develop this understanding, what are you going to do with it? What kind of lifestyle do you wish to manifest?