How Tos
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How I Edit My Photos

Some of the most FAQs I get concern camera equipment and editing, so here’s a quick post on how I personally edit my photographs. Disclaimer: It’s not really a tutorial; I’m not a professional. Obviously. This is just a… sort of “share what you know” kind of post.

I currently use a Nikon D5100. My kit lens is an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, but the favorite one that I use if I can is a vintage 35mm f/2.8. I have a couple of other lenses at my disposal but those are the main ones I use. I also use a point-and-shoot camera, the Canon S100, sometimes.


For the past few months, I’ve been shooting most of my photos in RAW, as it allows for more freedom for post-processing. But, I discovered that you can open compressed JPGs in Camera Raw, so I’ve been shooting non-RAW unless I need super high quality images.

Edit - 1 - RAW

I usually just tweak exposure and contrast levels in Camera Raw. I don’t really change much of the editing for travel or daily photos, but for my beauty blog, I do a lot of color correcting to show the shades as accurately as I can. For the fun stuff, I play with the layers or I go to Actions.

Edit - 2 - Actions

If you’re going for a standard look or want to save some “formulas” for future use, you can do so using actions. You can save your own—for example, I have some for resizing and saving photos in bulk—or you can also download some pre-made actions. There are a lot of free ones online, but a lot of photographers and bloggers also have them up for sale. I bought a small pack from A Beautiful Mess to try out, and I’ve got a few free ones from Nirrimi at The Color Shop.

These are useful to quickly achieve a look you need. Here is an example of editing using Actions and Camera Raw:
Edit - 3 - Original copy

For my post called London Calling, I edited my photos using an Action by A Beautiful Mess called Magnolia, tweaked to my liking.


For on-the-go editing, I primarily use my iPad Mini. I don’t really like the resolution of the cameras on these. Though decent, I prefer using photos from my point-and-shoot at the very least, and if I can help it, I try to use photos from my cameras. Transferring images used to be really difficult, though, because I had to upload the images from my SD card to my computer then email the files to myself and then download the images on to my device.

Edit - 5 - iPad Contraption

However, I’ve been using my dad’s Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, which is basically a glorified SD reader that connects to your iPad. Works like a charm.

The reason why I like loading images on to my iPad, though, is the photo editing software I primarily use: VSCO.

Edit - 6 - VSCO

I have all of the filters, because they’re all just so beautiful. Editing is very easy—1 click and then you have a lot of different avenues for tweaking the images even further. This is the main app I use for on-the-go editing, as I find that for color correction, it is all that I need.

Other apps that I use are A Beautiful Mess (for collaging), Afterlight (for adding the white bands and occasional light leaks), and Swankolab (for something a bit like film developer fun).

That’s mostly it! Nothing really outrageous, but I do take some liberties sometimes. Feel free to ask questions or clarify anything. Let me know if you need me to make a more detailed post on anything I’ve glossed over here.

Originally published in June 2014.
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