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Digital Editing | TKP Education

Hannah Hagaman, The Cottonwood Collective

Hi friends! Thanks for hanging out today on The Kindred Path. My name is Hannah. I am the owner of the Cottonwood Collective. I have been a photographer for a decade professionally but have had a camera in my hand since I was about 10 years old. This year I launched a digital editing course to help other photographers see how I edit my images and hopefully get their own images where they long to be. I wanted to share a quick snippet from the course today! In my course I include a checklist to make sure you’re headed in the right direction when editing your photos. Here is the checklist explained in a bit more detail.

1) Skin tones are most important

Have you ever had a client complain about looking ghosty or too orange or red? Your clients will THANK YOU for keeping their skin tones looking as beautiful as possible. Warm, deep, and glowing. Light has a huge part to do with this however you can adjust things post production to make skin looking great even with less than ideal light. That's the most important thing to remember while editing.

2) Greens and Yellows

Greens are tough and change ALL year round so this takes tweaking always. I love to use reference images to help with my greens depending on the time of year. I personally like deeper greens and less saturated. I also don't love blue greens so I typically make both my greens and yellows more of a yellow hue than green. Pay attention to how I do this in each of my videos.

3) Use reference images to compare your work

It's okay to have inspiration! It's okay to look at work to use as a reference. Has anyone ever read "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon? There is SO much good wisdom in this book! Here is a big takeaway when it comes to using reference images for your own work. “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.”

4) Make sure your whole gallery is cohesive

Compare your work throughout your gallery. I use the control R command (stands for reference) in Lightroom to pull up images from different times of the shoot and make sure that even in different lighting situations, I am still consistent. I also edit with the same profile every time so that all of my work stays consistent for my every client.

5) Be okay with imperfection & keep going!

You're not going to get it perfect every time and that's okay! I still have shoots with less than ideal light situations or wardrobe choices and really dark wall colors that affect the whole shoot and I simply do my best for my client because at the end of the day it's only important that they are happy. What I post and choose to share with the world is only what will feel consistent with my style. I still have shoots that I choose not to share and that's okay! Be picky and share only the images you want to repeat.

At the end of the day, KEEP GOING. This is my encouragement for you today. I have had a camera in my hand since I was senior in high school taking my friend’s senior portraits. That means I have been perfecting my craft for at least 13 years. I have played with all the presets, all the Lightroom settings, lots of different cameras, have taken many classes, workshops, I even have a degree in art. One of my favorite quotes has always been “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” - Jon Acuff. Friends, run your race, you are on your own beautiful journey to a successful photography career and I will be the first to be your biggest cheerleader because I was there too! Put in the 10000 hours! Do the work, do it a lot and you WILL get to where you want to be! I promise. Here to help in anyway I can along the way. Remember that comparison truly does steal your joy! Do everything with excellence and commitment to detail and an incredible experience for your clients and watch your business grow year after year!"

Hannah Hagaman, The Cottonwood Collective



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