Not Sure Where to Start? My Top Editing Tips to Make Your Photos Pop

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When I first got into photography, I was much more concerned with the process of taking the photo than I was editing.

But the truth is that editing makes or breaks photos. You can have a world class camera, but without an understanding of what to do in the editing room, the potential of your photos will never be realized. I should also preface this post by saying - I’m still learning! Aren’t we all? That’s the beauty with creative arts. It’s a constant experiment to see what clicks (hah) and what doesn’t. I don’t want to pretend I have it all figured out, but I have learned a nifty little trick or two over the past few years that save me time and energy - and ultimately makes my photos pop a little more.

Don’t underestimate the impact of good lighting.

Ok, I know this post is about editing after the photo has been taken, but this is my #1 takeaway with photography. Good lighting makes editing a piece of cake. Bad lighting… well, it can be done, but it takes a lot more effort.

The best time to take outdoor photography (my favorite) is during the golden hour: the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. Because the sun isn’t fully in the sky, it softens the light into dreamy, warm beams that make editing almost unnecessary. Almost.

Shooting indoors? Think about investing in a ring light or something similar.

Download Lightroom.

If you’re going for high quality photos, Lightroom is a must. (And no, this isn’t an add, just linking because I want to make your life easier!) If it’s out of your budget, download the app to your phone - it’s free. Adobe software may have a steeper learning curve, but it’s worth it. The detail to which you can tweak images is bar none.

Use presets.

Lightroom presets are like the tinted moisturizer before the final splash of makeup. Sometimes they’re enough on their own and sometimes they’re not, in which case a little more tinkering is needed.

Presets come in a range of styles with a range of prices, and honestly, all of it is subjective. Do a quick Google search for the aesthetic you like “dark and moody free presets” or You can grab two of my favorite personal presets for free here - I go for the light and bright vibe myself, with a dash of extra exposure and a tinge more green, blue, and purple hues to get the colors popping nicely.


There are Lightroom tutorials a plenty, but one of the best ways to learn what you love it to pick one setting and play. One of my favorite evening activities is popping on episode of whatever trash reality tv show I’m in to at the moment and wiggling the settings back and forth. There’s only so much someone can teach you about how to achieve your aesthetic - because at the end of the day it’s yours!

Need to show your photos a little love? Download my two free light and bright Lightroom presets here!

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I’m Marissa, a feminist, entrepreneur, and creative with a head full of big dreams dedicated to helping you bring your feminist vision to life. Learn more →