Design party: how I edit my photos

One of my favorite things about taking digital pictures is editing the photos to look like they were taken on a different kind of camera. I pin stuff all the time of photos I love. Sometimes I pin an image because of the angle or composition; sometimes it's because of the way the model(s) or product is set up; and most of the time it's because I love the "feel" of the photo.

I've researched about a million different photo editing techniques and eventually found a couple of things that really work with my style.

Here's what I do with my images:
1// In Photoshop, there should be a tab for your channels at the top of your layers tab. Once you open that tab you'll click the dotted circle at the bottom of the box to select all the highlighted areas of your image. We want to fill in those areas with a light, soft color by going to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. I normally use #FFF4E5 as my fill color, but I suggest moving the color selector around and playing with it. I normally set this layer's opacity to 70% so the highlights aren't too  highlighted.

2// Now that we made the whites a little brighter, we want to make the darks a little darker. To do this, go back to your channels tab and click the dotted circle one more time. We're going to inverse the selection  so that the darker areas are selected. Do this by hitting the Shift key + CTRL/Command + "I" (or go to Select > Inverse). Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves then set the blending mode  to soft light.

3// Now we need to up the saturation. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. Set saturation to +25.
 
4// To give my pictures a "vintage" feel I play around with the exposure. To do this go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Exposure and move the offset  slider to the right a little bit. I generally never go over +.08 and normally keep it between .02-.04. 

5// Sometimes I stop after I set the exposure, but sometimes  I play with the dodge tool and brighten up the focal point a bit. To do this I duplicate the background layer, select the dodge tool and brush over the area I want brightened, just make sure the exposure opacity is down to about 50%. 

It's really easy to make beautiful black and white photos with this method too! 

For black and white images I do steps 1-4 then add a few more steps:

5// Make the image grayscale by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White.

6// Then play with the image's tone and contrast by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves. You can play with this setting any number of ways but I normally go to the center and click just a smidge or two above the diagonal line to lighten the picture up. Next I go towards the bottom of the slope (about 1/4 of the way down) and click a smidge or two below the line.

7// Then I play with the exposure settings again (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Exposure).

Do you mind sharing how you edit your photos? I've got one more thing I'll be showing next that I use for landscape photos but need to keep playing with new techniques! I'd love to hear your editing process!