Editing photos is an essential part of the photography process, and there are many different software programs and apps available for editing photos. Whether you are using a phone or a computer, there are a few key principles that apply to all photo editing software. In this how-to guide, I'll walk you through the basic steps of editing photos across different software programs.
Step 1: Choose your software
First, you'll need to choose the software or app you want to use for photo editing. Some popular options include Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, GIMP, and Canva for desktop editing, and VSCO, Snapseed, and Adobe Lightroom for mobile editing. Even your iPhone has all the features I'll be talking about in this post.
Step 2: Adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation One of the most important aspects of photo editing is adjusting the brightness, contrast, and saturation of the image. These settings can be found in the "Adjustment" or "Tone" menus of your chosen software.
Brightness refers to the overall lightness or darkness of an image. Increasing brightness will make the image lighter, while decreasing brightness will make the image darker. This can help balance out an underexposed or overexposed image.
Contrast refers to the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of an image. Increasing contrast will make the light areas lighter and the dark areas darker, while decreasing contrast will do the opposite. This can help add depth and definition to an image.
Saturation refers to the intensity of the colors in an image. Increasing saturation will make the colors more vibrant and intense, while decreasing saturation will make the colors more muted and subdued. This can help add drama and impact to an image.
Step 3: Crop and resize
If necessary, crop or resize your photo to fit your needs. This can be done by selecting the crop or resize tool in your software and adjusting the size and proportions of your photo.
Step 4: Use filters and effects
Many photo editing software programs come with pre-made filters and effects that can be applied to your photo with just a few clicks. These can help you achieve a specific mood or tone in your photo.
Step 5: Fine-tune details
Finally, fine-tune the details of your photo, such as sharpening or smoothing skin, removing blemishes, or adjusting color balance. These settings can usually be found in the "Detail" or "Retouch" menus of your software.
Some Photography "Do Nots"
1. Don't overuse filters: While filters can be a great way to add mood and tone to your photo, using too many filters can make your image look fake or over-edited. Try to use filters sparingly and choose ones that complement the subject and lighting of your photo.
2. Don't oversaturate: Increasing the saturation of your photo can make colors more vibrant and eye-catching, but too much saturation can make your photo look unrealistic. Use saturation adjustments with care and try to achieve a balance between vibrant colors and natural-looking tones.
3. Don't rely solely on presets: Many photo editing apps and programs come with pre-made presets that apply a certain style or look to your photo. While presets can be a great starting point, try to customize them to fit your specific photo and subject.
4. Don't forget to adjust lighting: While it can be tempting to focus solely on adjusting brightness, contrast, and saturation, don't forget about the impact of lighting on your photo. Adjusting exposure and shadows can help bring out details and add depth to your image.
5. Don't forget to save your original photo: Always save your original photo before making any edits, just in case you make a mistake or want to start over. This will ensure you have a backup in case something goes wrong during the editing process.