How I Take + Edit My Photos Part 4 | Dark and Moody Edition

I’ve once again switched up my editing style and a lot of you have been really loving it, so I figured I’d expand my editing series to teach you guys my new style.

My editing has become a lot darker and moodier over the past months (inspired by Audrie Storme) – which is pretty different to the bright, colourful edits I see a lot of nowadays. My editing is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea – I realise a lot of people prefer the brighter edits – but I personally prefer moodier tones a lot more.

Since I’ve started editing this way I feel like my photos are a lot more me as opposed to a blogger stereotype which I tried to fit myself into, so hopefully you guys enjoy it more too! This editing is also a lot easier than when I tried to make my photos super bright – and it doesn’t require any filters.

After editing

I primarily only use the Lightroom app to edit my photos now – I just use my phone because it makes editing a lot faster and easier. I will occasionally use Snapseed or Facetune if I want to add more of a blur or edit something out, but my main editing comes from Lightroom.

Before editing

I know I said that I don’t use any filters, but I technically always shoot with a filter on. Most of it gets edited out though so it barely counts, right?

I take every photo using the dramatic filter on my iPhone (if you don’t have an iPhone then I’m sure most cameras/phones have a similar filter). This immediately makes my photos look less saturated and a little moodier, whilst still keeping warmth. It does, annoyingly, add a lot of highlights to a photo though, so I use Lightroom to darken those areas and add more shadow.

When I start editing, my first step is always to select the curve option on Lightroom. From there I add four dots which are equally separated along the line, and then begin to create an ‘S’ shape. The top two dots increase highlight and exposure, whilst the bottom two add a little more saturation and shadow.

I discovered this technique from Audrie Storme and it’s completely changed my editing game. It’s so simple but it really makes a difference to the end result.

Once I’m happy with that section of the editing process, I then use the more specific elements of the Light section to change the exposure, shadows, highlights etc. This section is usually pretty similar – I always increase shadows and decrease highlights – but the amount needed depends on the image.

I typically like to decrease the contrast too: this makes the shadows a little less harsh and blends everything together seamlessly.

Once I’m happy with that, I move onto the colour tab. I only change the saturation and temperature in this section so it’s a pretty quick job.

Depending on the lighting in the photo I’ll either add or reduce warmth – it’s really based on what each photo needs individually. I never like to go too warm with my photos though, just enough to give it a little life without becoming yellow.

I always reduce the saturation of my photos, but again, how much is dependant on each photo. If it’s a product shot then I’m happy to desaturate it more, but if it’s a photo of myself then I don’t like to lose too much saturation and look washed out.

My final step is in the effects tab; the only things I edit here are the vignette and grain. I love adding a dark vignette to increase the shadows in the photo even further, and it really draws focus to the centre of the image.

I up the grain to around 20-35, I don’t want too much because then the image isn’t clear – just enough to add a slight vintage-y look.

Once that’s done I’m finished, and it’s ready to upload to the ‘gram!

I do add to this editing style if I’m trying to edit a really dark image. Although shooting in awful lighting sucks, I’ve figured out a way to fix this too.

Before editing

I really wanted to get a photo of my phone screen, but the light made the picture way too overexposed. In order to combat this I decreased the brightness, but this meant that the rest of the photo was in shadow.

To fix this I used Lightroom again, but before I used the curve feature, I used the effects tab to up the clarity pretty much completely. This brightens the background without overexposing the image, and brings everything in shadow back to the foreground.

This is a really useful technique if you’re ever shooting in the dark or are backlit by the sun. It does add even more graininess though, so be prepared for that and edit accordingly.

After increasing the clarity I would just edit this in the exact same way as I did above!

After editing

The only other change I make to this editing style is when I’m taking photos of myself. As the dramatic filter tends to wash me out and hide my freckles, I need to edit myself to look more like me.

Before editing

To do this, I first use the auto edit option – this brings back my tan and freckles without me having to spend hours messing with the exposure and highlights. It pretty much removes the worst parts of the dramatic filter without losing the shadows and moodiness.

Once I’ve done that, I edit using the exact same method we used for the first photo – this allows me to bring back more of the shadows that we lost from using the auto edit.

After editing

That’s all there is to it! I find it way faster and easier than any other editing style I’ve had in the past, and I much prefer the image I get out of it.

I hope some of you found this post useful, let me know in the comments if you learnt anything new!

See you next time,

A x


  1. August 26, 2018 / 4:45 PM

    Amazing tips! Very useful, i love your editing style

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