The process of creating photographs can be broken down into three distinctive phases:
- Conceptual Phase
- Action Phase
- After Capture Phase
When you find yourself in the middle of a beautiful landscape with the intention to photograph it, the possibilities are endless. You do not need any equipment at this point, all you need is your creative vision to decide what you want to create.
You might decide to capture the entire scene with the widest viewpoint possible or, you might decide to isolate only the most interesting element of the scene and make it a focal point. You can include a wide open sky in your composition or completely eliminate it. As I said before, the possibilities are endless.
This phase is about What to Photograph.
This is when you have to choose the right equipment and proper photo techniques to fulfill the creative vision you defined in the Conceptual Phase.
This includes: lens selection, focal length, aperture setting, option to use tripod, filters etc. When everything is in place, you press or trigger the shutter to capture your vision.
This is when you decide How to Photograph.
Everything that happens after you press the shutter button is part of the After Capture Phase.
After Capture Phase
Organizing images on your computer, selecting the best photos, publishing and – the most exciting part of all – photo editing all occur in the After Capture Phase.
Depending on the type of photography you do, the importance of these three phases of photography can vary. For example, for a sports photographer, the Action Phase is the most important part of the process.
For me, as a travel and landscape photographer, the After Capture Phase is just as important as the Conceptual and Action Phases. It represents more than 50% of the effort I put into every photograph before I am ready to publish it.
Even though the composition of your photographs and using the right camera settings is crucial, the lack of creative editing can be the decisive factor between an average capture and a revenue generating portfolio piece.
Let me give you an example.
I took this photo about 10 years ago when I was just starting to learn photography.
I saw the potential in this capture from the very beginning because I liked the composition featuring the iconic conversion lines of the Manhattan cityscape. However, even though I took it in the early morning hours with the sun rising behind the buildings, it still looked monochromatic and dull.
After a few unsuccessful editing attempts, I simply rejected it and forgot about it for years until about six months ago when I stumbled on it again while cleaning my Lightroom catalog. I decided to give it another try and, ten minutes later, I had something exciting.
Since then, I have licensed this photo on multiple occasions and it has become a solid piece of my portfolio.
For 10 years, this photo had great composition and was taken using the right camera settings but, it was lacking another essential component of any good photograph: interesting and creative editing.
The focus of this mini course is to give you a jump start to the After Capture Phase of photography with special attention to Photo Editing.
The choice of Lightroom is simple. First of all, it’s a great program created by photographers for photographers. Secondly, there are not too many other choices available. After Apple discontinued the development of Aperture, Lightroom became the only professional grade tool that covers every aspect of photography: Organization, Editing and Publishing.
Do I have to buy and learn Photoshop?
When it comes to photo editing, I am asked this question the most often and want to address it right away.
The short answer is NO.
If you are just starting in photography, you do not absolutely need to buy and learn Photoshop. Lightroom will cover all of your needs for the first couple of years without the need to ever open Photoshop. And, if you are not planning on taking your photography beyond the hobby level, Lightroom is all you will ever need.
What do I need to follow this course?
Since this is a Lightroom mini course, you need Lightroom. If you do not own it yet and you want to see if it is the right tool for you before buying it, then you can download a 30-day free trial and make your decision after completing this course.
The rest of the material required to successfully complete this course will be available for download on my site at no charge. This material includes the Demo Lightroom Catalog, Demo Images and Lightroom Presets.
How expensive is Adobe Lightroom?
This is another question that I get asked a lot and is driven by the misconception that professional editing tools are expensive and unaffordable.
When I started in graphic design years ago, this was absolutely true as Photoshop cost $1,000 and, in order to keep learning the program, I had to use it at work or use the 30-day free trial and keep changing the dates on my computer.
Now, you can buy the standalone version of Lightroom for around $150, which is an incredible deal if you compare the Lightroom price to the price of photo equipment. Another option is to purchase the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan which comes with Lightroom + Photoshop and costs only $10per month.
Here is the simple breakdown: my photo equipment costs more than $5,000.00 and my photo editing tools, which are just as important to me as the equipment, cost me $10/month.
Exercise for this Lesson
Download the Resource Pack I sent you earlier (check your welcome email). Save it to your computer and unzip/unpack it.
Make sure you do not save it too deep into your file system. Sometimes Lightroom has a problem opening Catalogs with the long path. To be safe, unzip/unpack Resource Pack in the root of your main drive.
Explore the contents of the Resource Pack.
If you have any questions, please use the comment section below, I will be glad to assist you.