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How to Edit Natural Light Photos: Tips & Techniques

Less is more when processing portraits shot in natural light
Photo of a swimsuit model

Editing natural light photos is a lot trickier than it might seem. In the below tutorial, Phloshop shows you some simple techniques for getting the most out of the natural light portrait editing process whether you’re using Capture One or Photoshop CC 2022.

In the video, he first shares behind-the-scenes footage of a recent swimwear photo shoot captured using only natural light. After displaying the RAW unedited files from the shoot, he walks you through his editing process while sharing his tips and techniques to enhance the beautiful lighting in his shots.

“We should have certain things in the back of our minds [during editing] because I’ve noticed that when it comes to retouching, a lot of people think that it’s just about cleaning up someone’s skin, polishing it and making it look as porcelain as possible,” Phloshop says. “But I want us to just take a few steps back and understand the fundamentals of that and see if we can apply the definition of retouching to this image and see if we can just make it look a whole lot better.”

In the course of the over 30-minute free video below, he shows what to and what not to do while editing natural light photos during post-processing.


“Your camera colors are also not always the way you want them to be,” Phloshop says. “Color grading is very subjective so it’s up to you, the artist, creating or painting the image with light to figure out the tone and the color you want to work with.”

He also discusses adjusting brightness, contrast and saturation in an image shot with natural light. “All these things, like I said before, are subjective but when it comes to blemish removal and all those things it’s up to you or what your client requires. If you are your own client; if you’re shooting for yourself, then you can determine how far you want to push those alterations.”


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