Moderation is key: In-depth tutorial for editing documentary photos

Dec 22, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Moderation is key: In-depth tutorial for editing documentary photos

Dec 22, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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In his recent tutorial, photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich drew our attention to some major mistakes we make when editing documentary and travel images. Now he’s taking things to a higher level. Mitchell has just announced an in-depth tutorial for editing these kinds of images. He guides you through editing one of his photos, so you can follow along, one step at a time. Even though you can edit Mitchell’s image, it’s not about following a certain trend or replicating a certain look. The goal is to learn how to edit a documentary photo of life to be lifelike.

If you’d like to follow along, you can download the raw file and presets here, they’re free of charge. Mitchell starts the edit with a custom-made preset and builds upon it. However, you can watch and follow the tutorial even if you don’t use presets, or if you use those of your own. The point is that you’ll learn how to edit with moderation and how to transfer your feelings from a particular moment into the image of that moment.

When you open the photo in Lightroom, first think about what kind of light the photo was made in. The light will have a huge effect on how the photo should feel. Also, if you use presets, this will help you to identify which preset group to start testing out on the image. If you saw the previous video and the point about making references when shooting – now is the time to consult those references.

The tutorial is fairly long, around 24 minutes. Here are the timestamps so you can follow along:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 1:44 – About the preset
  • 2:31 – The first things to do in Lightroom
  • 4:42 – Explaining the settings
  • 5:07 – The Contrast
  • 5:48 – Shadows & Whites
  • 6:18 – The Tone Curve
  • 9:58 – Tweaks to the preset
  • 10:13 – Tweaks to Global Adjustments
  • 12:18 – Local Adjustments
  • 13:36 – The face
  • 17:30 – The eyes
  • 19:27 – The hands and the arms
  • 21:09 – About this style of photo-editing
  • 22:27 – Final words

Mitchell goes through his editing process, but he also explains why he uses certain techniques or a certain look. Personally, I always need to know why something is done before I start doing it, which is why I find this tutorial very useful, and I hope you will too.

[Photo Editing Masterclass + Free RAW FILE & Preset | NEW Lightroom Tutorial | Mitchell Kanashkevich]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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