Here’s Why Photo Editing is Essential in Digital Photography

Lightroom presets class

Did you get a shiny new camera for Christmas and you are spending a lot of time learning the camera? Maybe you are getting up early to shoot at just the right location, in just the right light thinking you are going to be the next Ansel Adams. How is that working for you?

Do you realize learning effective photo processing is easily half of the secret to creating amazing images? I do the bulk of my photo editing and organizing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Lightroom is an amazing program that offers you state of the art adjustments to push your photography from good to great.

Your great new advanced digital camera has come a long way to helping you create properly exposed and sharp images, but if you don’t learn some simple photo editing techniques, you will be not be getting the maximum out of your camera.

Lightroom Presets

What makes Lightroom so great?

Maybe you have collected a large body of photographic work. Do you know where all your pictures are, and can you find them easily?  When you first import your images into Lightroom, you can create a series of tags and star ratings that will help you find your favorite images in a matter of seconds. I have over 40,000 images in my Lightroom catalog, all easily accessible in moments.

Why do I need photo editing programs to create a finished image?

When you shoot an image in JPG, it comes out of your camera as a retouched digital file. How can that be? Well, the camera has made the adjustments for you. It has made the decisions on saturation, sharpness, and color, all without your input.

Wouldn’t you rather be making the creative decisions yourself when it comes to post-processing?

Yes, it takes some effort to learn Photoshop or Lightroom, but these programs are so powerful, once you get the basic tools, you won’t want to go back. These are skills that you can use for a lifetime of photo taking and processing.

When you shoot with a RAW file, you can non-destructively change the white balance, color contrast, and saturation to your liking. (Non-destructive adjustments don’t harm the file or degrade the image in any way.) If you decide to change these settings with a JPG file in post-processing, with every adjustment, you are affecting the quality of the image and are losing resolution.  At the very least, work with a TIFF file, where the image adjustment is lossless.

If you have pre-visualized your picture when you take it, you will have a good idea of where you would like to go with this picture in post-processing later on.


Why doesn’t the camera catch what I see?

A digital camera can only read a certain range of light and gamut of color. The human eye can see a lot more than a camera can. By using post processing, you are allowing the image to reflect exactly what you saw at the scene, or what you visualized when you took the picture. The trick here is to not over saturate, over sharpen, or generally overdo the editing process so it looks fake or cartoonish. But if that is your creative vision, then go for it.

How do I get there? Practice, practice, practice.

Take a good beginning post-processing class like my Lightroom Quick Start class here at BPSOP. This is the clearly the other half of creating amazing images. Once you have learned the workings of your digital camera, it is now time to learn how to effectively edit in a program like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.



BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen

HollyHolly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly’s Free E-Book on “Landscape Photography and the Light and find out about her newest workshops at Jansen Photo

Reach Holly by email at and read her blog at

Holly Teaches:

iPhone Photography
In this class, we will introduce you to the magic of iPhone photography using several shooting and editing apps that will give you the ability to make your pictures sing in a fun and easy way.You will learn how to crop, change saturation, brightness and affect the overall look of your pictures with HDR, drama and grunge filters and other techniques. You will be amazed at the simple and effective methods.




Lightroom Quickstart


Do you want to learn to create images that show the beauty of the scene you saw when you took the photograph? Do you want to learn the other essential side of digital photography, photo editing and get up to speed quickly?

This course is designed to get you up and running FAST in this incredibly powerful program. In this two week information packed class, you will learn how to import, organize and perform simple and effective editing processes that will let you produce beautiful adjustments to your pictures.


For a complete list of Holly’s current workshops go to:

Jansen Photo Expeditions –

Holly’s Blog:

Facebook –

Instagram –

YouTube –

500px –

Creating a sense of place: Case Study #1

This post is the first in a series on how to create a sense of place.



Next time you’re taking photos on holiday or during a celebration, include detail shots to flesh out your story. When added together with photos of people, detail shots help show the mood of your scene.

Have a look at the images in this case study:

  • sun shine through a pergola
  • a key in a door with key-chain
  • a do-not-disturb sign
  • bath salts with wooden spoon
  • foot pouf and animal skin rug
  • silhouette of flowers
  • open seashell
  • interior roof-line, all in white

post_1A_sq post_1B_sq

Do you see how each image is taken close up and is framed tightly? This is what you’re looking to do with your detail shots.

Each of these images is like a single idea, and by combining several, a story is created.


  1. Vary the camera angle in each shot. Shoot up, down, out, across, or through a subject.
  2. Frame your subject tightly to omit clutter. Reveal part of the subject.



Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2


No post processing skills necessary for any of Brit’s courses. You may even use your phone!


Amazing Travel Photos Made EasyAmazing Travel Photos Made Easy teaches you how to create a collection of images that not only documents your holiday but that conveys how it felt to be there.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography and emphasizes getting all your shots in-camera.

You’ll learn how to get amazing travel photos using any kind of camera!

Learn how to capture these experiences:

  • landscapes
  • seascapes
  • cities & architecture
  • wine & dining experiences
  • nature
  • wildlife


Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1 gets you started photographing how you want your life to look and what you want more of in your life.

Ever wonder if the craziness of your life is, indeed, worth celebrating? The answer is a resounding YES!

Start taking images that that look like they came out of a glossy magazine.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography. You’ll learn how to capture images of your everyday life in a fresh and exciting way.


Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2 takes you further by focusing on capturing the essence of your loved ones — think about the little things that you’ll always remember, such as how they hold their favorite coffee mug in their hands!

Do you wish you had images of your loved ones that capture who they are as a person? What about a series of images that portray your life as nicely as a wedding photographer portrays a wedding?

Get ready to have fun creating lifestyle photos that you can’t wait to share with your friends and family.

This course delves into creative ways to capture even mundane moments and beautifully photograph even camera-shy loved ones. They’ll finally stop saying they don’t like seeing themselves in photos!


Get a taste of how Brit will work with you.

You can also work with Brit privately

Mentoring: Schedule a live session with Brit via Skype

Get a private image video review: Private Video Image Reviews

Find out about all of Brit’s courses, including Photographing Fine Art & Craft

How to Take Better Holiday Photographs

Holiday-infographic-02 (2)

Food For Digital Thought: Harmony

23colorDM-768x1176Although it would be nice if everyone lived in harmony with one another, that concept will most probably have to wait. Until then I would like to talk about something that can happen right now, and that would be to seek out and use colors that are in harmony with one another in your photos.

Since my background is not in Photography but in painting and design, I’ve learned through my studies which color is in harmony with another. I taken that knowledge and have applied it to my love of photography. By the way, I still consider myself an artist, I’ve just switched the medium from a paintbrush to a camera.

I tell my students that take my online classes and those that have taken my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct all around the planet that a camera on a tripod is just like a blank canvas on an easel. I talk a lot about color since it’s a basic element of visual design, and should be thought of as a very important tool in creating those works of art…the same ones you find on a canvas.

The methods we use to gain attention to our photography will vary, but what’s important is how we manage what the viewer perceives and processes when looking at the visual information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph. Humans rely on perception of the environment that surrounds them. Visual input is a part of our everyday life. Color, and understanding how the viewer perceives color, is what we as photographers have as a tool to present this information in a way that creates a sense of harmony.

monoIn my opinion we spend far too much time dwelling on so called ‘Rules’ in Photography: The Rule of Thirds (the silliest of them all), The Leading in Rule, Never Clip the Highlights, are three that come to mind and I’ve written posts about them going back six years.

We also think about shutter speeds, DOF, cropping (please don’t do that!), White Balance, etc., etc., ad nauseam. I can tell you that color should be considered right alongside every other facet when composing your photo.

Color is a great resource when trying to get across an emotion, drawing the viewer into our photos, making the subject stand out against the environment he or it is in, creating visual tension, visual interest, balance, and a sense of order in our present day chaotic world.

Screen-Shot-2017-06-24-at-4.01.22-PM-500x483Ok, let’s first talk about ways to achieve harmony through the color wheel, which as a trivia question for you to someday know, it was invented by Sir Issac Newton….yes it’s the same guy, the one who discovered gravity.

There are four main ways to create harmony using color: Using Monochromatic,Analogous, Complementary, and Triad colors.

The word monochromatic would usually conjure up the old black and white days, but it can also apply to color. In this application it’s made up of just one color, and different shades of it. This will create a visually balanced and appealing photo, albeit one that’s low in contrast; good to use when you don’t want a particular object stand out from the rest of the environment.

 colors are those that are next to one another on the color wheel. They live in harmony because of the similar hues. They’re pleasing to the eye and appear more often in nature than monochromatic and complementary colors do. That said, if you’re looking for contrast these colors wouldn’t be my first choice…complementary colors would.

Complementary colors are those that are opposite one another on the color wheel. They generate visual tension because of the contrast of one to another.

triTriadic colors on the color wheel are those that are evenly spaced on the color wheel, and will form a triangle. When using this form it’s important to achieve balance between the three colors.

Pre-visualization” is one of the guidelines in my “did it do it” list for good composition I pass out to my students. Being aware of colors that are in harmony and the effects it will have on the viewer will help you do just that…pre-visualize.

So my fellow photographers, the next time you go out think about all the tools you have on hand and make sure color and the harmony are included. Observe the effects colors have upon each another, study the color wheel and become a student of their visual relationships.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

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