I bought my first DSLR camera back in December 2009 with the greatest expectations that you could imagine. Everybody knows that a good camera is essential to take beautiful photos, but somehow I was failing to produce anything decent.
Unfortunately it took me a couple of years to finally understand the most simple and important fact about digital photography: any photo goes through post-processing, no matter what camera or lens you use. All the professionals are doing it, and the amount of manipulation that is done sometimes is mind-boggling.
Right from the start it is important to note that post-processing is not morally wrong, easy or destructive. Most photographers do at least these basic things with their photos: image cropping, white balance corrections, temperature corrections, add contrast and vibrancy, lens corrections, etc.
One of the main tools to accomplish this is Adobe Lightroom.
To be able to improve your photos you will have to start shooting in RAW format, and I won’t go into detail as to how or why this is done.
Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a photography course, just my spin on why some people take better photos.
Below is the original photo that I took in 2013 in Graz, Austria using a Canon Mark II with a Canon EF 16-35mm 2.8F L ultra-wide lens. This is the photo directly as it was downloaded from the camera (resized only). It was a cold and windy evening, which is why it is somewhat dark.
And below is the same photo after 30 seconds of post-processing in Lightroom.
Or to get a better understanding of the difference, here’s a side-by-side comparison.
Here’s a screenshot of the edits that were done in Lightroom for this photo:
And one more example of a photo that I took in Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, Austria, also in 2013, using the same Canon Mark II with the 16-35mm ultra-wide lens.
And finally a photo I took with a Canon 6D and a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro lens in October of 2014.
These are just some simple examples of why the photos of some people come out better, even if they use the same camera as you do. Nothing will be able to replace the post-processing of a photo.