Let’s just say it flat-out: photo editing is AMAZING. With all of the apps, programs, filters, overlays, and technology we have now, it’s easier than ever to get that perfect edit on your photos. However, when you take a photo session of, say, 200+ photos to sort through and apply beautiful filters, do skin touch-ups, and prepare for web, YIKES it gets time-consuming. With programs like Lightroom, it’s becoming easier, but what if you’re a cheapskate like me? I’ve got an efficient and FREE system perfected, and I’ll share it in this post.


digital photo professional

{basically the program that saved my life}


Good editing won’t happen without a good program! Up until about a year ago, I was using Gimp full time. It’s a great, open-source alternative to Photoshop. However, the workflow is super slow in Gimp, as you have to edit each photo one. by. one. and manually applying your settings to each one. Cue Digital Photo Professional. DPP is software that Canon offers with their cameras. You have to have a Canon camera to download it, as it asks for a serial number on the download page, but any camera will work – point-and-shoot, or DSLR. The download page for the camera I have can be found here. This program can process both RAW and JPG images, making it super easy for me to transition between deep editing (RAW images) and light touch-ups (JPG images). Let me walk you through a typical 30 minutes of editing, from the moment I stick my memory card into the computer to the moment I press the “export” button.


culling through your images

{pick the best one, then pick a nice edit}


First, I open up DPP.

I basically select all of the images (in this case 140, but sometimes it’s as many as 1000!) and open them in the editing window.


I can see all of my images on the left sidebar, and I have my editing tools on the right sidebar. I do all of my RAW edits first:

Then my RGB curves:

Here you can see the before-and-after view. I basically cleaned up my shadows and highlights, then threw a little bit of color into the tones to make it look a little vintage-y. Now comes the fun part!

I copy this “recipe” that I’ve made…


…and just paste it onto the next image! This has saved me HOURS, I kid you not! It speeds up my process so much.

Of course, I don’t use the same recipe on all of my images. When I think one needs more of a different look, I play around with it, and I’ve created recipe #2 for that session. Actually, I save a lot of my recipes to the program, so that I can use the same one anytime I want, on any photo.

Some photos need less editing than others, as seen in this one above.


export your images

{time to make them official}


I spent about 30 minutes sorting and editing the 140 images from Kaitlyn’s senior shoot. When I was done, I had 21 images that were “keepers”, the ones I definitely wanted to export. Some of them were still good, but required a little extra work. I save those for the end! 😉

Along the way, I had been rating each image that was a “keeper” with 5 stars (just pressing the “5” key). Now, I go to my view panel and sort them so I see the 5-star images first.

Then I click the “batch process” button and choose the destination, names, and sizing of my images. Beyond that, all I have to do is press the “execute” button and wait for them to process!


the fancy editing

{this is where Gimp comes in}


Sometimes, an image is ALMOST PERFECT, but I want to give it a little extra. Take this one for example:The far right one may be a little on the intense side, but it fits the photo and definitely makes for a more interesting and highly contrasted image. Gimp has literally THOUSANDS of features that can transform your photos. I especially love turning my photos into an oil painting:

These kinds of edits can take up to 30 minutes for just one image, so I don’t do them all the time. Though costly as far as time, they’re worth it!

That’s pretty much all there is to my editing process! I hope this post was helpful!


I want to hear from you!

how do you edit your photos efficiently?


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