Developing digital photos

A friend of mine once posted a pro-photo that he took at a wedding. There was something special about the photos that could not be missed. The colors popped in some rich ways, were subtle and almost mute in another way, and the photo as a whole had a subtle but magical quality about it that simply made it special.  He had taken a good shot, and made it fantastic.

What that photo made me realize was that it was time for me to dive into a more advanced level of color editing if I wanted to further my photography career and take things to the next level.

As a graphic designer I know Photoshop inside and out.  I can Photoshop a mouse on a cats head, add shadows, and cut them out so they are riding a skateboard. Photoshop is OK for color editing, but it does not have the magic. What I did not know was that it would be another product, Adobe Lightroom, that would transform my photography.

Lightroom is a full photographic workflow for ranking, tagging, cropping, editing, color-presetting, watermarking, sharing photos.  Learning to craft color, to blend subtle tools that bring your photography to life, seems now as much an important part of the creative process as camera + lens choice, and even taking the photo.

The image below has been my most successful image on the site 500px. It got over 4000 views in 24 hours.  The irony is that it was an image I took 3 years ago, did not think much of at the time, and only now got around to editing in Lightroom.



Out of the camera ( RAW ) file

Final edited photo.

Final edited photo.


This blog post is not a Lightroom tutorial, but a ode to the importance of the digital darkroom. The images our cameras give to us are the foundations of magic, but we need to put the time in to let that magic come to life.