I get asked very frequently how I edit my pictures for posts and reviews. I do very minimal editing, stuff which takes a minute or two. And I don't use any presets, even though I know I should. But here is a quick and simple tutorial on how I edit my pictures.
Note: All my pictures are usually taken with a Panasonic GF2, a basic Micro Four Thirds camera. The editing is done in Photoshop CS6.
1. Get your picture ready
First you need to load up picture. Once loaded into Photoshop, duplicate it into a new layer.
2. Adjust exposure
My camera isn't a full frame DSLR so dynamic range is no where near as good. So you'll notice how the iPad screen is very nice and bright but the background and surroundings are a little dark.
What I do is, select the top layer, adjust the exposure and ignore the iPad screen, focusing on brightening up the background and surroundings.
To bring up the exposure settings you go to "Image/Adjustments/Exposure".
3. Using the eraser tool
You'll now notice that the screen on the iPad is overexposed. Because we added the adjustments from step 2 to the top layer, we can start erasing the part of the top layer which is the iPad screen. It'll then fall back onto the bottom layer which is exposed correctly for the iPad screen.
Notice how the iPad screen and the surroundings are now all exposed correctly.
4. Touch ups
Finally I add some touch ups. I first flatten the image (found in the "Layer" menu), put the vibrancy up a little to make colours pop (found in "Image/Adjustments/Vibrance"), and then put up the offset a little which gives a white overlay effect (found in "Image/Adjustments/Exposure").
Above is the final image and what it looks like. All this once memorised can be done in under a minute. It's a really quick way to make your images look a bit more natural and make the colours pop.