Photo Editing Tips and Tricks that will help transform your photos from good to great, from cleaning up images, mastering exposure & contrast, achieving perfect white balance, adjusting saturation & creating the right presets.
While a good eye will certainly help you take a good photo, your editing skills can transform these photos from good to great. Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom are some of the editing tools that any photographer can use to enhance their images. Although these tools are available for everyone to purchase, not all photographers get the best out of them. Photo editing is a skill that takes a lot of practice to develop; no one is born a professional. Here are some tips to get you started with editing and help you get better at it fast.
Clean up Your Images
Sometimes you feel there’s something wrong with a picture, but you can’t pinpoint the problem. That’s why you find some photos appealing while others aren’t so pleasing. A photo with straight horizontal or vertical lines is usually easy on the eyes. You should ensure that there are straight lines in your photos, whether it be the horizon, a pillar, or something else.
If the photo you are editing doesn’t have any straight lines, try tilting it to achieve that. Cropping an image is sometimes necessary if there are some parts you don’t want to edit, if there are distractions in the photo, or if you want to emphasize a certain object in the photo. Cropping will reduce your editing time while retaining the important part of your photo. Finally, most editing tools have spot-cleaning options, although the exact name of the tool might vary. This tool removes any “spots” on your image that you don’t need such as dirt, a dark cloud, or any other aberration.
Master Exposure and Contrast
Simply put, exposure is how light or dark your picture looks. You can’t generally control the environment to get the right contrast, but that can be easily fixed with an editing tool. If the exposure is too high, the picture will look “noisy,” so it’s essential to strike the right balance in order to get a photo with a natural look.
Contrast is the difference between light and dark in the photo. For example, high-contrast photos have bright highlights, dark shadows, and vibrant colors while low contrast ones have minimal differences between light and dark and the colors aren’t as vibrant. Highlights are the brightest areas of your photo and shadows are the darkest parts. Some editing tools have a feature called “fill light” which simulates the light sources to lighten shadows.
Achieve the Perfect White Balance
Although they share some similarities, there is a difference between exposure and white balance. While exposure can make the image darker or lighter, the white balance is responsible for color levels. Different light sources cast different temperatures of light in the photo. Sunsets create a golden warm glow, while a picture in the snow will have a cold blue feel. When you feel that the colors of your image don’t look right or if you want to know how to achieve the bright look with light and airy presets, it is time to adjust the white balance. There are presets in most editing software that allows you to adjust the color levels. However, if you want to fine-tune the colors to your liking, there are “temperature” and “tint” sliders that you can experiment with to achieve the right feel for your photo.
Adjust Saturation and Vibrance
To enhance the colors in your image, fiddle with saturation and vibrance. The main difference between the two is that vibrance involves the color intensity in neutral colors and not brighter colors, while saturation affects the intensity of all colors in the image. In some images, you need to desaturate certain colors in order to focus on a particular object or person in the photo.
Use and Create Presets
While using presets to get better at editing images might seem counterintuitive, it improves the speed of editing, especially if you have hundreds of images to edit. Editing tools come with filters or presets, but they aren’t always very good; instead, you can find countless presets online to download, sometimes for free. After learning the basics of editing, you will know what configurations each preset has, and it will help you to achieve your desired result with less hassle. If you edit a picture and want to use the same settings in the future, rather than memorizing them, you can save the settings as a preset, so you can access them with a single mouse click later.
It is time for you to put these steps into action and turn your photos into masterpieces. Sorting your photos into different folders can help speed up your workflow as you cut down on the time spent searching for specific photos. The saying “practice makes perfect” is true when it comes to photo editing. Keep working at it, and you will learn from your mistakes. Before you know it, you’ll be producing high-quality photos with ease.