Inspawration Editing Process & Rationale: Start here!

The Process & Steps

A lot of people ask for tutorials in various situations, and while I have tried to create (and will continue creating) a variety of different tutorials, at the end of the day, most of my tutorials follow the same, basic process and workflow.

Below, I’ve listed most of the steps that I follow… however, I don’t follow EVERY step in EVERY photo. You will need to know your way around Lightroom & Lightroom masking features, and know how to mask in Photoshop in order to follow this tutorial. 

Generally, the workflow is:

  • Adjust White Balance in Lightroom
  • Slight Global adjustments to lower highlights and raise shadows
  • Remove fringing if needed
  • Maybe change HSL if there are strong greens
  • Selective editing in Lightroom using radial filters to:
    • Brighten the dog
    • Add clarity and texture to the dog
    • Work on the eyes as a whole, catchlights separately, darken pupils if needed
    • Remove colour casts
    • Lower distractions in the scene, eg., bright highlights, too dark areas, too colourful areas and so on
  • Moving into Photoshop as a smart object, creating a New Smart Object via Copy
  • Doing any “fixing”/tidying up with clone stamp, healing spot brush, composition changes (generally not cropping in yet unless very sure!), fixing/brushing over bright highlights and so on
    • Any kind of blur effects (rarely used, but sometimes to make the bokeh a bit “melty”)
    • High pass filter for sharpening
    • Bring in other layers to make a panorama
    • Copy & Flip background if needed
    • Content aware fill, content aware crop, etc (rasterised version of our original layer needed)
  • Shape the light using curves layers, depending on the original light direction, where the dog is looking, and composition of the image
  • Colour grading using selective colour layers, maybe a gradient layer
  • Finishing touches” which could but must not always include:
    • Gradients on radial to create separation from the background
    • Dodge and burn/contouring using curves layers
    • Remove colour casts on the dog
    • Fix distractions eg., too much saturation in areas
    • Adding more contrast
    • Adding more drama
    • Adding overlays
  • Save and return to Lightroom to check the histogram and make sure I’ve used the whole light range (unless it’s a specifically dark and dangerous photo)
    • Raise exposure a little if needed
    • Add denoise if needed

Pro & OG Members: You’ll also find this tutorial in Beyond > Editing Tutorials 🙂

Once you’ve finished, why not share your work!?

Download the image below to use in your Instagram stories. Just right click > Save as/Save Image.

Simply go to the stories area as normal, select to upload this image, go back to your camera roll, copy your edit, add some text to the story, and paste the photo in.

Or, you can add your image to the template in Photoshop! 

Or, use the editable Canva template!

Don’t forget to tag @inspawrationphotography somewhere so I can celebrate your learning!

Don’t worry if the image looks blurry, it’ll be fine when you download it full size.