Its best to try and get photo’s shot right while actually taking the shot. However most photo’s could do with a little post editing. Modern image editor/management software is very powerful and provide so many options it’s possible to spend hours on tweaking one photo. Unfortunately most of us do not have time to spend hours in front of our computers. I follow these steps to quickly enhance my favorite selection of photo’s after each shoot. If there one or two which I particularly like then I may revisit them when I have more time for further adjustment.
1. Crop and Straighten – Before you so anything else make sure the horizon is straight and the composition is correct.
2. Adjust Brightness – Usually down with the levels tool. Adjust highlight towards the peak of the histogram. Boost contrast by moving the mid slider towards the highlight.
3. Correct Colours – Use colour balance to adjust shadows, mid tones and highlight to enhance specific areas of your photo.
4. Sharpen and remove noise – Use your image editor’s sharpen and noise tools to finish your image off. For Photoshop users the Unsharpen mask is very powerful. As a starting point try increasing the amount to 100% and radius between 1.00 and 1.08 pixels.
Many photographers only spend 2-3 minuets per photo.