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Steps You Can Take to Create Beautifully Edited Lifestyle Images

Are you catching up on your editing backlog? Before you start doing any work on your next gallery, take a look at these tips for creating the best possible result in your post-processing.

When it comes to creating what we would deem "successful" images, it's not about merely fixing them in post-processing. Arthur Ward, a photographer with an extensive background in the sports industry, is running us through his workflow and thought process for creating a good lifestyle image from the very start of the concept until that last save in your post-processing software. Admittedly, if you are working on an already existing gallery, you cannot go back in time to adjust your composition and framing choices. However, you can certainly follow his guidelines for the post-processing part and use the rest of the pre-shoot tips when you are creating fresh content after our working restrictions have been lifted.

In his tutorial, Ward is using Capture One and Photoshop as his choices for post-processing. If you use alternative editing software, you can still take on Ward's tips and incorporate them into your own workflow, especially if your editing software is just as powerful and can work in layers. If you aren't very experienced in sports-themed lifestyle imagery, Ward's experience and comments in that regard can be beneficial, too. Your model's body positioning can make or break the image, so understanding what makes one fitness pose more successful than the other is helpful to create a realistic but also visually appealing photograph that showcases the theme or product.

Lead image used with the permission of Arthur Ward. 

Anete Lusina's picture

Anete Lusina is a photographer based in West Yorkshire, UK. You'll either find her shooting weddings, documentary, or street photography across the U.K. and Europe, or perhaps doing the occasional conceptual shoot.

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Thanks Arthur for this comprehensive video which focuses on the process itself. One question regarding directing your model. In my sport portraits I just let them do the respective "move" for just a little bit. E.g. just a few steps of running instead of running the whole street. I do this then over and over again (which is easier if you don't have to walk all the way back to the starting point) to have enough material for the "perfect" pose. Do you "interfere" somehow on the poses of the model and if so how do you do that? Thanks in advance.

Hey Michael, that's a great question! My philosophy when working with athletes is to observe first and "interfere" at the end. In other words, I let the athlete do the motion on their own with little to no guidance, capture a few frames and if needed I use those frames as feedback for the athlete to help us both get on the same page. I also always try to learn from the athlete's perspective on what they believe to be the best posture or form that best represents their skill set and talent. I try to keep the interference to a minimum early on and get as much feedback as possible!

Thanks for your reply. Feedback to the talent is important. Because not everything which feels good looks good or represents the sport the best visually.

How long did it take you to retouch that person and modifier out from behind the tree? Will you lock down the frame w/ a tripod next time. Backplates are amazing when lighting small like this. Solid photo though.

Hey Johnny, to answer your question, not too long. I just masked around the tree trunk. Going around the leaves were a bit tricky so those took a little longer. As for tripods I almost never used them for two reasons... while mostly shooting in gyms, sidelines or in crowded spaces they actually can become a safety hazard for the athletes and others and also they slow me down. Most times I only have a few minutes to enter a space to get the shot so I always try to go handheld for the mobility.