How I Actually Edit My Photos

Yes this is the real deal in how I edit my photos…


I feel like I have found my little photography niche. I have flickered through different filters, themes and presets. Trust me I spent hours gazing through Etsy like a kid in a sweet shop at all the different options of presets. I have also done other posts before about different apps to use etc… But now I have sorta found my vibe of the day and moody theme (relatable to my personality when I don’t have chocolate) I wanted to go on about the way I edit my photos. Also I have a few little insta DMs about how I edit too. So here is the answer to all your prays!

I don’t think of myself as an editing expert and I have learnt a lot through university but I still have to go to Google when I can’t figure out the Photoshop tools. Whilst we are on the topic of Photoshop I thought I would mention that when editing my photos I use both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. I have mentioned them before in this blog post about editing software but I will shout it from the roof tops again… They are BY FAR the best editing programmes that you could probably invest in. I understand they are not the cheapest of programs but you can trail them for 7 days free of charge just to test the waters. And don’t be scared of them. They are complex programmes but they are easy to pick up with tutorials or by having a play around. 10/10 from me. 


As mentioned above I am kinda going through the whole dark and moody stage of editing, something that I fit into really well and make my photos look professional #proud. This includes exaggerating the shadows and making the blacks blacker and the whites whiter. Got it?? Of course knowing me and being very flighty with my editing methods this might change. I mean just look at the sickly sweet pink photos, the amped up orange and teal phase, and the classic VSCO edit look. Click to cringeeeee. End of the day have a play around you will probably change it at some point. 

I have recently started using my new camera for my images – including these in this post – which is the Canon 5D Mark IV. Its my new baby and I am IN LOVE.

I always start by shooting my photos in RAW. When you take photos you typically shoot them in either RAW or JPEG. RAW files are much larger and allow you to edit your photos more in depth without risking the quality of them. So grab yourself a large SD card and change to RAW babe to get the most out of your editing. 

So since writing this post originally, and updating it now my photography has yet again changed. However I really love the way I have been editing my photos and its had a HUGE response on Instagram.


Old Darker Edit

The first step in my editing step is to open up the photos in Photoshop. I only really do two major steps in Photoshop – mainly because the rest just confuses me. But these two steps are big big game changers and make the world of difference to your photos. They are SO subtle but so impactful. These are called levels and curves. If you go to the half moon button in the bottom right hand corner of Photoshop you will find levels. Here you are able to change the blacks and whites in the photos. I will drag the cursor for the blacks to the first little peak on the graph and the same with the white. This just defines your photos more and just makes them look better!

Then I change the curves. This basically does similar to levels but just exaggerates it a little bit more. The curve is a straight line on the graph, the top right hand corner being whites and the bottom left corner being blacks. I drag this line in the white section up by the tiniest bit and the black downward by the smallest amount making a very gradual S shape to the curve. This has all just made my photos look more finished and professional and you can just go and post them like that. 

Export it as a JPEG and then open in Lightroom and apply my preset. 

Ahhh the preset… Don’t we all love a good preset. I only actually heard of the term at the beginning of this year (yes I must have been living under a rock). But then I realised I have actually dabbled with making my own for a few years. I have also bought a few off of Etsy before however I never really was happy with them. I much preferred figuring out my own style and I very much recommend looking at the style you like and then doing the same. By making your own you can change it whenever and to suit different types of photos. Here is mine: 

Exposure: +0.15

Contrast: +12

Highlights: +11

Shadows: -13

Whites: +17

Blacks: -34

Clarity: +8

Darks: -3

Orange (saturation): +3

Green (saturation): -61

Aqua (saturation): -38

Blue (saturation): -39

Orange (luminance): -8

New Editing Style – As Of May 2020

Whilst we have been in lockdown I have been able to gain a load of inspiration around the content I am making. To find out more about that process find the blog post here. And its meant me choosing a new method in editing my images. Now, I taking them into photoshop to correct the levels – as said in the step above. However I don’t change the curves. For some if they are a darker image I will use the steps above, however tweak the depending on the image. I will also make them lighter as its summer not winter.

Then I put it onto my phone and open the VSCO app. I recently bought the full version of the app and I LOVE it. There is so many different options and its only £20 for a whole year. If you don’t have the money to spend on Adobe products then this is a powerful alternative. The filters on here that I then like to use the most are FS4 and IH5 for black and white. I will reduce them down to about +3 but this again depends on the photo. Then I will add some grain, add a bit of fade and reduce the saturation by a tiny bit too.

Hopefully this has given you some sort of insight on how I produced my photos. Whether thats the darker images or my new editing style. I get questions on both so I thought I would spill the beans on both. A lot of bloggers NEVER give out details on how they edit photos in hope they can sell their presets. I have struggled for so long finding what I am comfortable with, so I wanted to share this with you because if you are in the same place then I know how you feel. Maybe I will do a little IGTV maybe on it one day. How does that sound?? 

Also please tell me I am not the only one with cringy AF edits from back in the day?? 

You can always have a scroll over on my INSTAGRAM or if you wanna tweet me then find me at @EMILYCBEAUTY!

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2 responses to “How I Actually Edit My Photos”

  1. Great tips!! Soooo useful. Thanks x 🙂

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