90% of Photo Editing Basics in Just 15 Minutes

Mark Denney
9 Aug 202315:39

TLDRThe video provides a concise guide to the essentials of photo editing, emphasizing the importance of a structured workflow. Sponsored by Squarespace, the tutorial begins with organizing the Lightroom Develop panel to streamline the editing process. The presenter then demonstrates a step-by-step approach, starting with basic exposure adjustments and white balance, followed by cropping and tone curve adjustments. Color calibration and grading are also covered, with a focus on enhancing the image's color palette. The HSL section is used to refine specific colors, and the detail section is employed to sharpen the image. The video concludes with the application of subtle effects like vignettes and the use of local masking to highlight particular areas of the photo. The presenter also discusses the importance of cleaning up distractions and sensor spots in the final stages. The video ends with a mention of a giveaway winner for a Nissi filter kit and a reminder to subscribe for more content.


  • 🎨 **Customize Your Workflow**: Organize the Develop panel in Lightroom according to your personal editing process for efficiency and consistency.
  • 📸 **Start with Basics**: Begin editing with the Basic panel to balance exposure and make initial adjustments to highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks.
  • 🔍 **Clarity and Dehaze**: Apply negative Clarity and a bit of negative Dehaze to soften details and reduce any harshness in the image.
  • 🌈 **White Balance**: Adjust white balance after exposure for more neutral and realistic colors, using the Color Picker for a neutral reference.
  • 📏 **Cropping for Composition**: Crop the image to improve composition, focusing on elements that attracted you to the scene.
  • ⛓ **Tone Curve Tweaks**: Use the Tone Curve to add contrast and make personal preference adjustments to mid-tones.
  • 📈 **Calibrate Colors**: Boost primary colors for a more vibrant look, utilizing the Calibration section for color enhancement.
  • 🎭 **Color Grading**: Tint highlights and mid-tones subtly for a warmer or cooler look, depending on the creative vision.
  • 🌟 **HSL Adjustments**: Fine-tune Hue, Saturation, and Luminance to simplify the color palette and reduce distractions.
  • 🔧 **Detail and Effects**: Sharpen the image and add a subtle vignette for a polished look, skipping unnecessary steps.
  • 🖌️ **Local Masking**: Use brushes and gradients for local adjustments to enhance specific areas like sunlight or to correct dark spots.
  • 🏞️ **Final Touches**: Clean up the image by removing sensor spots and making any final adjustments for a distraction-free result.

Q & A

  • What is the main focus of this week's video sponsored by Squarespace?

    -The main focus of this week's video is to provide a quick summary of the basics of photo editing, which forms the foundation of any good photo editor's work.

  • What is the first step in the photo editing workflow demonstrated in the video?

    -The first step in the photo editing workflow is to balance out the exposure of the image, addressing issues like underexposure.

  • How does the video suggest adjusting the white balance after balancing the exposure?

    -The video suggests using the Color Picker tool to select a neutral color and then adjusting the saturation to 100 to check for any unrealistic color cast, followed by resetting the saturation to zero.

  • What is the purpose of cropping a photo during the editing process?

    -Cropping a photo is done to improve the composition by focusing on the important elements and removing unwanted parts of the image.

  • How does the video recommend enhancing the color of an image?

    -The video recommends using the calibration section to boost primary colors and the HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) section to adjust specific color aspects like saturation and luminance.

  • What is the role of the tone curve in photo editing according to the video?

    -The tone curve is used to adjust the contrast of the image by lifting or lowering points on the curve to affect the mid-tones and overall tonality.

  • How does the video suggest sharpening an image?

    -The video suggests using the detail section to increase the sharpness and adjust the radius for a more precise effect.

  • What is the purpose of adding a vignette effect to a photo?

    -Adding a vignette effect helps to draw the viewer's attention to the center of the image by darkening the corners.

  • How does the video suggest using local masking in photo editing?

    -The video suggests using local masking to enhance specific areas of the image, such as applying a radial gradient to highlight the sunlight or using an adjustment brush to bring out detail in the fence.

  • What is the final step in the video's photo editing workflow?

    -The final step is to clean up the overall photograph by looking for and removing any distractions like sensor spots or unwanted elements in the frame.

  • What is the benefit of organizing the develop panel in Lightroom as demonstrated in the video?

    -Organizing the develop panel helps to streamline the editing process, ensures that all important steps are covered, and makes it easier to remember and follow the workflow.

  • What is the prize for the 250,000 subscriber giveaway mentioned in the video?

    -The prize for the 250,000 subscriber giveaway is a complete Nissi filter kit, which includes graduated neutral density filters, solid neutral density filters, a filter holder, and a circular polarizer, valued at nearly one thousand dollars.



📷 Photo Editing Basics and Workflow in Lightroom

The video begins with an introduction to photo editing basics, emphasizing the importance of understanding the essentials as the foundation for a good photo editor. The speaker shares their personal workflow in Adobe Lightroom, starting with organizing the Develop panel according to their preference. They discuss the process of editing a photo from a trip to Menorca, Spain, and how they customize the Develop panel to follow a specific order that aids in efficiency and ensures all important aspects are covered. The video also mentions a giveaway for a filter kit to a lucky subscriber.


🎨 Adjusting Tone, Color, and Crop in Lightroom

The speaker continues their photo editing tutorial by detailing the steps they take after customizing the Develop panel. They start with basic adjustments such as exposure, highlights, shadows, white point, and black point. The process includes softening the details with negative clarity, increasing texture, and applying negative dehaze. After exposure, they adjust white balance using the Color Picker and saturation to ensure no unrealistic color casts. The video then demonstrates how to crop and straighten the image to improve composition, with a focus on a fence that attracted the photographer's attention.


🔍 Advanced Adjustments: Calibration, HSL, and Effects

The video moves on to more advanced adjustments, including tone curve modifications to add contrast and color calibration to enhance primary colors. The speaker also discusses color grading to warm the highlights and give the mid-tones a subtle blue tint. The HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) section is used to refine specific colors, such as reducing the saturation of the orange color and adjusting the green luminance. The speaker then talks about sharpening the image, adding a vignette effect, and briefly touches on lens correction and transform, which they use less frequently. Local masking techniques are also covered to enhance specific areas of the photo, such as the sunlight effect through the fence.


🏆 Conclusion and Giveaway Winner Announcement

The speaker concludes the editing process by emphasizing the importance of a consistent workflow and the benefits of organizing the Develop panel for efficiency and to avoid missing steps. They also mention a final check for sensor spots or distractions in the photo and demonstrate how to remove unwanted elements. The video ends with a thank you note to Squarespace for sponsoring the video and an introduction to the platform's features for website and e-commerce needs. Finally, the speaker announces the winner of the 250,000 subscriber giveaway, a complete Nissi filter kit, and provides instructions for the winner to get in touch.



💡Photo Editing

Photo editing refers to the process of altering or enhancing digital photos to improve their appearance or to correct imperfections. In the video, it is the main theme, as the host discusses a workflow for editing photos in Lightroom, emphasizing the importance of understanding the basics to create a strong foundation for any photo editing task.


Adobe Lightroom is a popular photo editing software used by professionals and enthusiasts alike for organizing and editing photos. The video script mentions Lightroom as the platform where the host demonstrates the editing process, highlighting its features such as the Develop panel, which is crucial for non-destructive photo editing.

💡Develop Panel

The Develop panel in Lightroom is a set of tools used for adjusting the look and feel of a photograph. The host in the video customizes this panel to fit a personal workflow, which includes organizing the tools in a specific order to streamline the editing process.


Exposure in photography is the amount of light that reaches the camera's sensor and determines how bright or dark an image is. The script describes adjusting exposure as one of the first steps in photo editing, where the host balances out the exposure to correct underexposure and enhance the image's details.

💡White Balance

White balance is the process of ensuring that whites appear white in an image, which helps to achieve natural and accurate colors. The video mentions adjusting white balance after exposure correction, using the Color Picker tool to select a neutral color and fine-tune the overall color temperature of the photo.

💡Crop Tool

The Crop tool is used to remove unwanted parts of an image or to change its composition. In the script, the host uses the Crop tool to focus on the elements of the photo that are of interest, such as the fence in the composition, and to straighten the horizon for a more balanced look.

💡Tone Curve

The Tone Curve is a tool in photo editing software that allows for adjustments to the tonal range of an image, from shadows to highlights. The host in the video uses the Tone Curve to add contrast and fine-tune the mid-tones for a more visually appealing result.

💡Color Calibration

Color calibration involves adjusting the primary colors in an image to achieve a desired look or to correct color imbalances. The script describes how the host uses the calibration section to boost certain colors and increase saturation for a more vibrant and intentional color palette.

💡HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance)

HSL stands for Hue, Saturation, and Luminance, which are individual color channels that can be adjusted in photo editing. The host discusses using the HSL section to modify specific colors in the image, such as reducing the saturation of oranges and adjusting the luminance of greens to refine the overall color scheme.


Sharpening is the process of enhancing the details in an image to make them appear clearer and more defined. In the video script, the host increases the sharpness of the image using the Detail panel, which helps to bring out fine details like the texture of the fence.


A vignette is a gradual transition from the fully exposed image to a darker border around the edges. The host mentions adding a subtle vignette to the photo to draw attention to the center and create a more polished look.


The basics of photo editing can be quickly summarized, forming the foundation for any good photo editor.

Photo editing involves balancing exposure, adjusting white balance, and cropping to enhance the composition.

Using the Tone Curve to add contrast and refine the mid-tones for a more polished look.

Color calibration is a favorite method for editing color, allowing for fine-tuning of primary colors.

Color grading can be used subtly to tint highlights and mid-tones for a warmer or cooler effect.

HSL adjustments help to refine specific colors, reducing saturation where needed for a cleaner look.

Detail sharpening is crucial for bringing out the fine details in an image.

Adding a subtle vignette can enhance the overall mood of a photograph.

Lens Corrections and Transform are often the least used sections, suggesting they may not be necessary for every edit.

Local masking can be used to enhance specific areas of a photo, such as drawing attention to texture.

The use of an Adjustment Brush allows for targeted adjustments to specific areas, like a fence in the composition.

Cleaning up distractions like sensor spots or unwanted elements in the frame is an essential final step.

Customizing the Develop panel in Lightroom can streamline the editing process and ensure consistency.

A structured workflow helps to be efficient and ensures that no important steps are skipped.

The video provides a step-by-step guide that can be applied to any photograph for consistent editing results.

The importance of starting with a raw file and working through edits in a methodical order is emphasized.

The presenter shares a personal workflow that viewers can adapt to their own editing style.

Using the 'Visualize Spots' button can help identify and correct sensor spots in an image.

The video concludes with a giveaway for a complete Nissi filter kit, adding value to viewer engagement.

Squarespace is highlighted as a sponsor, offering a platform for photographers to showcase and sell their work online.