One of the most common photos you’re going to be editing on your phone are going to be photos of people. Be it subjects that you are shooting with intent, or spur of the moment photoshoots with friends, you can end up with a lot of portraits on your phone! Before uploading or sharing them, take the time to learn how to make a basic portrait photo edit using Quickshot!
This tutorial is going to teach you how you can take a simple portrait to the next level with some basic adjustments. Additionally, what you learn in this tutorial is going to act as a foundation for more advanced Quickshot edits, as well as edits in other applications. Learning the first steps to editing a portrait photo makes you able to understand, and apply, a routine for solid edits on all your future images!
So, what exactly are we covering in this tutorial? Here’s a list so you know exactly what to expect!
- Using premade looks for one-click edits
- Starting from scratch with adjustments
- Building from adjustments to colors
- Adding elements to make images stronger
Without further ado, let’s jump right into the fun stuff! And for more quick tips check out our photography cheat sheet for free download!
Premade Looks for super fast edits
Using premade looks is a great way to dip your toe into editing with Quickshot. If you are brand new to the app and photo editing, using premade looks is a good place to start. Firstly, you don’t have to spend a lot of time learning what looks good! Secondly, you actually get to learn more about your specific creative preferences and figure out what those are and how to apply them.
For this entire tutorial, I’m going to be using the same image, so that you can see exactly how these different steps and processes change the photo. Feel free to copy exactly what I do, or take some creative liberty in your process!
This is the portrait image that I will be using to edit:
Now, open the image in a Quickshot editing session from your gallery. It should look like this:
Now, look-menu-based editing is super simple! Just open that looks menu at the bottom right, and scroll through! Choose a couple of looks that you like, apply them, and drag the slider to see how strong you want the effect!
Here are some different examples of looks that I liked:
While the looks are a great way to start editing, you may want to learn more about the process. Learning more about the process, and starting with the fundamentals, will make you improve down the road. Additionally, the fundamentals approach will give you a better understanding of achieving a look you desire.
Starting from scratch: Adjustments in Quickshot
Let’s reset our edits on this image now. To reset an edit, simply long-press or hold down the undo button. This will bring us back to our original image. If you do not want to reset this image, you can always create a new editing session for the same image. You can also export the image before resetting, so you have an edited copy.
Starting with adjustments is the classical way of editing digital images. Specifically, we are going to be working on what is known as global adjustments. These are editing steps that affect the entirety of our image.
Once you have a clean reset on your edit, slide your menu all the way to the right, and find the Adjust menu. This is where you are going to make almost all of your adjustments for this image.
Before we are going to be making color choices, we want to have the image be as clean as possible. Although this is not always necessary, it is important you understand the fundamentals behind creating a base image. Once you have, it becomes easier to be creative with a purpose.
So, what are we going to do to this image?
Step by step adjustments
First, we are going to increase the light or the exposure of the image. We want to do this so that we don’t have such a dark image, as well as for other steps we will take. This is what the image looks like now:
This is what it looks like with the light boost:
Next, we are going to add a little bit of contrast to the image. Because the hair and skin, as well as the red and green, of the portrait, are so strong, contrast works well here. The contrast boost will not work as well in images that are of similar tones or brightness values. This is what the image looks like now:
I really love the colors in this image, so let’s pump them up a bit with the Vibrance tool, like this:
After increasing the light earlier, the shadows got a bit bright, so let’s reduce the brightness of the shadows with the shadow slider. I did it quite aggressively, but you don’t have to. This is what my edit looks like now:
After these edits, my image still feels a little dark, so I am going to up the exposure of it. If you didn’t go as low on the shadows as I did, this may not be necessary. Take a look now:
Great, that’s it! We’re done with the base adjustments now! You may notice there are some sliders that I did not use for this portrait, and that’s important. You do not need to use every single tool. Knowing what they do and playing around with them, however, gives you more options to think about using in future images!
You also don’t need to go through these edits in a particular order. The order I chose here was just to keep the tutorial simple; left to right. In your own editing, do whatever you think gives you the best control and yields the best results.
Color grading and color adjustments
So, now we have a great starting point for an image where we might want to add some color grading flare. What is color grading? Color grading is adding a specific color palette or tone or set of tones to an image to give it a look. Some photographers develop a very specific palette of colors that they then use for all of their work. Thinking of color grading while early on in your editing career is a great way to start learning what your own personal style may be.
The first three tools to color grading are going to all be ones we ignored in the adjustment tool during the section above. These are the Temperature, Tint, and Hue tools. The temperature tool changes the color temperature of a photo. The warmer a photo is, the more orange, and the colder it is, the bluer. The tint is the same, but rather than blue and orange, it uses green and magenta. Hue, instead, shifts the colors of the whole image, along the color spectrum. While it can be used creatively, use it minimally for portraits, as it can make skin literally turn green!
I wanted this image to be a little bit warmer, as it is currently super cold to the eye. This is what I did with the temperature tool:
Now, I didn’t feel like I needed any more tint in either direction, but you could take this image in either way. Great, let’s move on to the fun part of color grading! Normally, color grading doesn’t add texture as well, but Quickshot allows us to do both in the Filter tool!
Open the filter tool, and just go through the options, figuring out what you like. This is what I settled on, but you don’t have to do the same:
Adding some Quickshot elements for that extra pop
Now, if you’ve been following along, you should have a pretty clean color graded edit that might also have some texture. This could be a completed image for you, or you could take it a little bit (or a lot!) further. We’re going to do one last thing for fun, just because it’s super fast and really enjoyable.
Take your edit into the element or overlay section. I prefer using the element section for portraits, as it allows me to better control what I am placing onto the image, but you can use either. Choose an element that you think could add to the photo.
Certainly, this is really up to your creative ideas. Some people might just want to use an element to create a leading line into the eyes of the portrait, and some people might want to use them as additional compositional elements. One of my favorite things to do is add subtle colors to the edges of portraits, as it really makes images have that vintage film look. I do that by using a lens flare and aligning the color I want to show up with the edge of the image.
This is how my final edit looks, element included:
The looks tool was powerful, especially in how fast you can accomplish an edit. I suggest that new photo editors start there, and then make adjustments as they go. If you are interested in how a specific look was achieved, then apply it to your photo. You can then look through each other tool to see what the look actually did to your image.
Now, go out and take some photos to practice with!