In the previous post I was talking about how to get rid of bad photos and keep the good ones. If we are happy with the pictures what we’ve taken that’s great, but there might be a few trick how to make them more impressive.
Just imagine we’ve made a delicious cake to our family. It has a nice taste and the texture is also good. If we would like to serve it they will probably like it. But what about if we add just few more minutes work to it? If there are some slightly burned parts, just cut them off, then put some icing, chocolate sprinkle, whipped cream, etc. on the top. Put it on a clean and nice plate with fork, and napkin on the side and that`s it! There’s no doubt they are going to be excited!

We do the same when we are editing our images. Most of the photos has some faults. They might be slightly under/overexposed or the main object is not well framed, there are too much empty space on one of the sides, the airplane is not levelled, the image is falling to the left/right side, etc.These small mistakes can be easily corrected in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Level

For those images where the ground is visible, the camera supposed to be level with the horizon. Just simply find a reference point to check the vertical lines in the picture – like buildings – for being vertical. It`s better to use vertical reference points somewhere in the middle of a picture, rather on the sides as they often subject to lens distortion. Sometimes there aren`t any vertical objects to help measuring the level. In that case I usually use taxiway/runway but unfortunately it can be unlevelled. If there`s no reference point at all, what I can recommend, just make sure it looks good.These complications can be easily fixed by rotating the picture while it becomes straight, then use crop tool to get rid of unwanted parts.

Cropping

Cropping is when we remove unwanted parts from the picture. Most of the time I use 3:2 (width: height) aspect ratio, which is the most common format. It means if the width of the picture is 3 inches the height has to be 2 inches.

Centered

The main object (aircraft) supposed to be correctly centered, which means it should be equal empty space on both sides (left – right + top – bottom). The photo has to look balanced. The reference point to check the center is the fuselage most of the time, but there are exceptions sometimes.

Levels/Curves

This tool is used for correcting the tonal range and colour balance of the picture by adjusting highlights, shadows, contrast and midtones in the picture. This tool uses the histogram to show visual illustration of the tonal range of the picture. The left side of the histogram shows the black pixels on the picture and the right side represents all the whites. If the histogram leaning to the left side it means the photo is underexposed, if it’s leaning to the right it’s probably overexposed. Make sure to not underexpose the shadows and overexpose the highlights.

Resizing photos

One of the last thing in our editing process is to resize the image to the desired size. On most of the websites the accepted size is between 1024-1600 pixels width (but obviously there could be exceptions). But how can we decide which size is appropriate for our picture? The answer is very simple. It depends on the quality of the photo. If the image is sharp enough it can be bigger resolution, but if there are some small mistakes we can hide those errors behind a smaller size. It’s very difficult to judge at the beginning which size suits to our photo, but it becomes obvious after a while. Oh and I almost forgot an important thing! Never resize the photo before cropping it!

Sharpening

The most difficult part during the image editing post-process is to find balance between soft and oversharpened in my opinion. When the picture is soft it means the details are not sharp enough, the image looks a bit smooth. On the other hand when the photo is oversharpened we can see many jagged lines and white lining around the edges with too much contrast.

Clean up the background

For this action I use Equalizer adjustment which helps me to find all the dustspots and sensor dirts on the picture. After clearing up the image I go back one step and use Equalizer tool again to check the result. If there’s some dirt left I repeat the process again until the photo looks clean. When I am happy with the result I am ready to go for the final step to save the image.

Here you can see the final result below.

That`s it in a nutshell! Hope this very basic workflow gives you some tips what to do if you are concerned. Every person has a different editing style and by the time you will find your own, just be patient and practice a lot!