Photo editing may look difficult to master, but it is an important part of the image creation process. This article outlines eight simple tips that can help you to enhance your images while retaining their spontaneity and vibrancy.
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1. Minimize your editing time by taking great photos
One of the best tips for producing great images is to simply take better photos. It might be tempting to think that all photo flaws and errors can be fixed at the editing stage. However, over-processed images can look artificial and can be hard to restore to their original quality if you make a mistake. So, whether you’re using a smartphone camera or a standalone DSLR or mirrorless camera, taking some time to learn the basic settings and the main elements of composition can help you capture quality images that require little editing.
2. Use quality photo editing software
Most images that you want to publish or share will require some level of editing. This is where photo editing software comes in. Nowadays, editing software has many choices, from free to costly. Which you choose will depend on how serious you are about your photography. If you take photos as a hobby or are just getting started with your photography career, the free software options will likely offer all the functionality you need. However, if you are serious about your photography and have the money to spend, it may be worth investing in paid-for software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom, which offer more advanced image manipulation tools. Popular free options include Canva, GIMP, and the Photo apps for macOS and Windows.
3. Crop your image for balance and composition
One of the most important ways in which editing can enhance your image is through cropping. You can use this editing function to remove unnecessary empty space and to take out unwanted elements from your picture, such as an uninvited person wandering into the side of your shot. You can also enhance the image’s composition by adding symmetry and balance through cropping. Editing software usually offers the option to superimpose a grid over the top of the photo, so you can adjust your image to ensure it lines up vertically and horizontally.
4. Look at the color and lighting
Photography is all about light. Indeed, how a photograph is lit can make all the difference in the overall impact of the image. Great photo lighting starts with the settings you select on your camera and how you take your shot, i.e., time of day or lighting set-up and image composition. However, photo editing also has a role to play in lighting. Take a look at your image and see where you might need to enhance or mute the lighter areas or darken the shadows. If you’re unsure how to change the shadows and highlights on your image for optimal effect, try initially just adjusting the contrast and brightness settings. These are subtler but can make significant improvements to your images. When it comes to color, you can adjust the hue, value (or brightness), and saturation.
5. Edit your photos on a large screen
If quality and detail are important in your images, it’s a good idea to edit your photos on a computer with a large monitor. The ideal specifications for a photo editing monitor are a 27-inch screen and 10-bit color depth. Your requirements will depend on how you plan to use your photos. However, it’s worth noting that editing your photos on a small screen might lead to inferior results if you want to enlarge your images, as you might miss some flaws. For more details on Lenovo Intel 11th Gen Desktops, click here.
6. Avoid over-editing your images
One of the easiest mistakes you can make when editing photos is to over-process your images. The main problem this can lead to is color oversaturation, where you dial up the color to the point it looks garish and unnatural. Further issues that can be created during the photo editing process are over-sharpening and adding too much contrast. Of course, if you’re going for a dramatic ‘art’ style with your photography, you might want to go to the extremes with your editing. However, if you want to enhance your images while retaining their natural look, a “less is more” approach is the best. Remember that every time you make a change to your photos, you’re changing the fundamental image pixels.
7. Be selective with the images you process
As you might have guessed, photo editing can become a time-intensive process. Coupled with this is the fact that with memory cards able to hold thousands of images, photographers are no longer constrained by the exposure limitations on rolls of film. As a result, you might find that a photo shoot session yields hundreds of images. Depending on how you plan to utilize your pictures, you might not need to edit most of the images you capture. So, take some time to go through your images and pick out the best, which you will then edit. Select the highest quality images you captured that need the lightest amount of editing. It’s always worth keeping backup copies of all your images just in case you need them in the future.
8. Customize your editing settings
On the other hand, if you plan to edit a lot of similar images, customizing your editing settings can speed up your workflow considerably. This is especially true if you take photos for uploading in bulk onto stock sites or for ecommerce purposes. In cases like these, you are likely to have spent time setting up a more formal photo shoot with specific lighting conditions and uniform subjects. You can then apply custom settings to a batch of images, saving considerable editing time.
Hopefully, this article has offered some ideas for how you can enhance your images. Whether you take pictures for fun or for profit, learning the basics of photography and photo editing are worthwhile, so you can present your images to the world in their best light.