This is a really important subject and a very hard subject to teach. There are so many ways to get your end result, and because it is such a creative process, I can't tell you what is right and wrong. Let's look at this more as guidance and ideas. I would like you to email or post in our Facebook community any questions or 'curlies' that you are having trouble with - and I will do a screencast for you.
iPhone users - you can stick with your Apps for editing and filters, or you can download your images to your computer and open in Lightroom, Photoshop, Nik Software or any other software.
I use the above three programs for retouching, so that is what I will cover. If you have questions about any other software or end effects, please post in the Facebook group or email me - and I'll do my best to give suggestions.
#1 MOST IMPORTANT RULE
BACK UP YOUR IMAGES! As a Professional Photographer, I am told to back up my images three times, and keep one set off site.
As anyone interested in photographs, memories or assets, I'd recommend you keep at least two sets of images.
Buy external hard drives and download them. Don't keep them all on your computer - computers crash, get stolen, become obsolete.
You don't have to keep every single copy - perhaps keep the original or largest resolution and trash the email size versions.
I use a program called Carbon Copy Cloner to copy automatically what is on one hard drive to another.
iCloud can also be back up.
Time Machine (Mac) is perfect for backing up your computer and all of its files. I use it to back up consistently during the day.
OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF
Once you start getting a lot of images, they become harder to find. On importing, consider keywording. You can then search via keyword. I list what is in the photo, where, who and any other distinctive features.
Instead of keeping the camera file name, I rename my images. I name them with the client/location, date, and sequence number. If someone comes looking for a photo, you will always have a unique file name.
I store my files under a folder structure.
I also use multiple Lightroom catalogues to limit the amount of images I am looking through when searching. Some catalogue categories are -
specific recurring clients
Delve into the Help categories in whatever software you are using. Many will offer online videos to help you discover what the software can do.
GENERAL EDITING TIPS
Save with the largest file size you can.
If you want a smaller file size, save as a copy, or rename. Once you have thrown away information by saving as a smaller size, you can't get it back.
Every time you open and save a JPG, you lose information. Try and keep all your photos as DNG or TIFF until final output. Or save as a JPG copy.
Be aware of your highlights and shadows. Don't over darken or lighten and lose information.
YOUR SCREEN AND WHERE YOU EDIT
I use a Datacolour Spyder5Pro to recalibrate my screen. Screens vary wildly in colour and brightness, but calibrating; you keep it consistent. The results you see you can expect when printed (nearly - as screens and paper display whites very differently).
A good quality display is beneficial. Apple Cinema displays are ok, but Eizo displays are at the pointy end of the pyramid in regards to photo quality.
Keep the lighting neutral and consistent. I work in a darkened room, so I can work at night or during the day with little change to my screen and the way I see it.
Look at your screen straight on, not from an angle.
HOW I DO IT
Show me some before and afters on our Better Pics for Business photo page. Explain why you did what you did.
Ask a question. :)
Making your photos work for you - social media and planning