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| p.1 #3 · How did you learn to edit? |
To get a good start in editing or just the basics you must start with colour management. You need to have your monitor correctly calibrated and profiled or else what you see is probably not what you've actually got.
Then the basics are relatively easy -
Pick Adobe Standard or Camera Neutral profile. None of the garish alternatives.
Adjust white balance so that the colours look right / plausible.
Adjust exposure so that it looks right / plausible for the scene and / or subject. This includes adjusting contrast if necessary, preventing burnt out highlights of important details, salvaging details from dark shadows, etc.
Capture sharpening is compulsory but should never show any obvious halos or graininess at contrast edges. If it does then you've gone too far.
Let Lr do the output sharpening at first.
There's a heap of other controls but it's easy enough with a profiled monitor to judge whether the image at least looks like it might be realistic even if it is not perfectly accurate. In fact, a perfectly accurate capture will not look realistic because at the scene our brains and eyes adjust to variations in light between bright areas and shadows and we see details everywhere, but in a print there is one flat scene in front of us at one distance and the contrast ratio is fairly low so that we do not adjust - we therefore need to have the brightness range compressed enough to make the print seem like what was photographed rather than actually like what was photographed.
A lot of books and stuff on editing or using photo software will just show you a multitude of ways to do the clever stuff that is quite unrealistic and definitely in the artistic category. That is harder to learn than the realistic basics and for your application mostly unnecessary.