Professional photographers employ a range of editing techniques to change the appearance of an image. As a result, it looks the way they want it to. Some of these methods need on-the-spot equipment alterations, while others require post-processing editing. Photography and photo processing have evolved dramatically over the last decade.
The photography industry has been strongly influenced by cellphones and social media as new technologies, trends, and styles emerge. Anyone can now shoot and edit gorgeous, high-quality images right from their phone, or use a traditional camera and desktop setup.
When it comes to photo editing and making your photos shine, some rules of thumb always apply, regardless of your favorite shooting or editing technique. We’ve compiled ten professional photo editing techniques to get you started if you’re a shutterbug hoping to create more professional photographs or a photo book fan looking for more creative tools.
You don’t have to make professional-quality photos straight away. Get to know your equipment, play around with your photo-editing software, and learn to relax and enjoy the process. Great images will appear, and some failures will occur, but if you enjoy the process, you will never consider your efforts to be wasted.
Recreating a specific photographer’s style may not only help you get acquainted with your gear but may also yield some unexpected results.
- Tips to Edit Exposure
Understanding exposure is crucial for editing because managing it correctly will result in an image that you’ll want to work with. Exposure is made up of three key components (aka the Exposure Triangle). They are as follows:
- ISO stands for the sensitivity of the camera to light. The image becomes darker as the ISO is reduced, and vice versa.
- The opening in the lens that allows light to pass through is called an aerture. A large depth of field is created by small apertures, and vice versa.
- Shutter speed refers to how quickly the shutter opens to let light through. The more light that is let in, the slower the speed is.
You can acquire photographs with a different focus, clarity, color saturation, depth of field, and so on by adjusting these components. This will have a direct impact on the quality of the photographs you work on within post-process retouching or editing, so get to know them all.
- Tips for working in low light
Low-light photography is challenging, but with so many family events taking place in the late evening—sporting events, trick-or-treating, summer art walks, and so on—learning to shoot in these less-than-ideal settings is well worth the effort.
The following are three basic low-light tips:
- To let in more light, use a big aperture.
- To get a brighter image, boost the ISO.
- To avoid motion blur, slow down the shutter speed.
The image that results may be a little grainy, but this can be fixed in post-production. If you’re using Photoshop, for example, the Filter menu has a “Reduce Noise” function.
- Tips for low resolution
The best resolution is determined by how you intend to utilize the image. The higher the resolution, the better the photograph will seem in print projects like photo albums. Not sure if your photo will be accepted? Regardless, shoot at a high resolution. You can always reduce the size.
Images on the internet are an exception. They usually have a PPI (pixels per inch) of 72, which prevents slow loading times while still looking good on a display. However, because online photographs appear grainy in print, it’s best to shoot high and scale down.
Upscaling resolution is an option in most editing tools. The Resample Image tool in Photoshop boosts an image’s PPI. Consider it a Band-Aid solution, as the photographs aren’t as sharp as if they were shot at the intended resolution from the start.
- Photo resizing tips
Resizing a photograph is now easier than ever thanks to today’s software. The Picture Size option in Photoshop is found under the Image tab and allows you to change the pixel measurements, document size, and resolution of an image.
When resizing, don’t be scared to play about with the frame. You might want to relocate some of the shots out of frame and re-center the subject if you’re downsizing the image. You might also slide the subject across to add some dynamic negative space when making an image larger.
- Focus Tips
The camera will periodically “search” for the thing you want to focus on even though many modern cameras have incredible focus abilities. Using manual focus allows you to compose the photo you desire much more freely.
When editing, a Focus Area option in Photoshop may help you make your preferred topic stand out even more, and a Lens Blur option can help you defocus the backdrop even more.
- Motion Blur Reduction Tips
Locking down that camera is the greatest approach to reduce motion blur. Put it on a tripod and let engineering handle the rest—it’s a case of “smart work, not hard work.”
Motion blur can be reduced even further in post-production. Under the Filter tab of Photoshop, there is a Shake Reduction option. Select Motion Blur, also under the Filter tab, to add extra zing to your image if you’re trying for a motion blur effect.
- Tips for Landscape Photography
This is an excellent place to hone your professional editing skills. Landscapes offer a plethora of opportunities for experimentation, and the end products might be vastly different while yet being appealing.
Use a polarising lens for shooting. It will darken the sky, diminish reflection, and suppress glare. To preserve a sense of depth and give the viewer a sense of being there, keep the foreground and backgrounds sharply in focus. Simply use a tiny aperture and a slow shutter speed while maintaining camera stability.
Then, in post-production, polish the details. Deepen the blacks, increase the clarity, and employ any noise-reduction options you have (graininess). Edit/adjust it till the photo demonstrates the elusive wow factor that prompted you to capture the shot in the first place.
- Subject framing Tips
Too many photographers focus their viewfinders on the subject and call it a day. It’s tried and true, but it’s also tedious. Framing allows you to express yourself in the world, so venture out and try something new.
The Golden Ratio is one technique to improve composition. Imagine a Fibonacci Spiral over the frame, then arrange the areas of interest so that the viewer’s gaze naturally moves from the outside to the center of the spiral.
You might also try framing the shot within the frame. Remember that you can alter the frame by cropping, rotating, or dragging it with your mouse while editing.
- Tips on color Editing
Color sliders might be intimidating to newcomers. Because there are so many numbers, adjustments can feel unduly dramatic, and determining the appropriate palette can be challenging.
Consider the effect you want to achieve. Do you want to bring the colors up to a surreal level? Then increase the saturation level. Do you want to draw attention to a specific color? Don’t forget to play with the contrast. Are you attempting to elicit a specific emotion? The warmth slider can then be used to create an old-fashioned impression. Pay close attention to all of the colors in the image.
These picture editing pointers can get you started on the road to more professional-looking photos.