According to experts, in 2023, Americans will take an estimated 1.6 trillion photos. This is primarily due to the increase in mobile phones with decent cameras.
But if you want to take your photography to the next level, you will want to learn how to edit your photos. There is a skill to good editing and knowing when and when not to use filters. You can be a beginner looking to improve your photos or a starting professional whose clients expect edited images.
No matter your reason, if you want to learn more about basic photo editing, keep reading. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Photo Editing?
Photo editing, or post-processing, is digitally altering an image to enhance it. Even basic photo editing can make a dull photo come to life when done correctly. Photo editing also includes removing “red eye” from portraits and straightening your images after taking the picture.
When you’re in the field, it’s not always possible to focus on everything, so being able to edit things after the photo has been taken is useful. However, getting the photo right when taking it is still recommended rather than always relying on photo editing to fix mistakes. If editing isn’t your thing, this page on outsourcing photo editing might be helpful.
What Do You Need?
Traditionally, photographers had developed film photography in a dark room. This involved various chemicals and near darkness to develop the film. Nowadays, photos are developed in photo editing software, primarily if they were shot in raw format.
You will need a tablet or computer loaded with photo editing software to edit your photos. Some software programs are free to download or use online if you don’t have the money for editing software.
You’ll also need a way to get the photos from the camera to the computer or tablet. Depending on your camera, you can do this with a cable or wirelessly.
How to Do Basic Photo Editing
Basic photo editing involves four primary adjustments. These adjustments are:
- Cropping Your Image
- Straightening Your Photo
- Adjusting White Balance
- Adjusting Exposure
- Adjusting Contrast, Color Vibrancy, and Saturation
Cropping Your Image
Sometimes to get a better composition, you need to crop your image. This cropping can remove unwanted distractions and reframe your scene to something more artistic or to follow the rule of thirds.
Straightening Your Photo
Nothing detracts more from a landscape image than a skew horizon. When taking your photo, you should aim to shoot a horizontal horizon, but if you miss it, you can straighten it out with basic photo editing software.
Adjusting White Balance
Shooting under different lighting can affect your photos’ color levels differently. For example, your image can have a yellow or blue undertone. You can adjust your white balance to fix it with basic photo editing.
If your photo isn’t as bright as you envisioned, you can adjust the exposure in post-processing. However, you can’t always fix this, so try to get the exposure correct in your camera settings.
Adjusting Contrast, Color Vibrancy, and Saturation
Finally, adjusting contrast, color vibrancy, and saturation are ways to tweak the image to match what you had in your mind’s eye. You can get several effects from adjusting these settings, so play around and get a feel for what each one does.
Edit Photos Like a Boss
Basic photo editing can make a dull image more vibrant and eye-catching. If you don’t have the budget for photo editing software, search online for free editing programs. Most editing software will allow you to make basic adjustments. The more you edit, the better your editing skills will become, so keep trying new things.
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