Editing for photography is like salt for cooking. Without editing, photography looks bare and raw.
To really polish a photo and make it appear professional, editing is necessary. However, even professional editors aren’t aware of certain techniques which can easily enhance their final image.
In this article, you will learn about some basic photo editing tips usable both by beginners and professionals.
What is editing in photography?
Every professional image you will see is edited. Editing an image means to highlight its good features and get rid of any inconsistencies. These inconsistencies can be marks, blemishes, blurring, shadowing, etc.
Why editing is important in photography?
Not everyone is aware of how photo editing can affect their online and physical businesses. Even the most basic photography editing of your products & services can uplift your appearance in the market.
Photo editing of family portraits, ceremonies, special occasions are all more valuable when edited to your taste. For which, you can edit photos both for personal and commercial reasons.
Why do photographers edit their photos?
Photographers edit their photos to bring out the best of their hard work. Often, a brilliant capture looks incomplete without mild editing. Also, they may be looking for a specific effect through photo editing, which is simply not attainable by the camera.
But more often than not, photographers edit their photos mostly to fulfill a certain criteria. For eCommerce, there are certain dimensions and quality criterias a business must deliver.
Additionally, most businesses have high quality photos way above the criteria threshold, thus requiring you to reach or cross those competitive standards in order to sustain in the market.
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Different types of photography editing
Just like there are endless genres of photography, there are endless types of photography editing. However, these are the most popular types:-
Landscape photography editing
Taking shots of large stretches of land in one frame is what landscape photography is all about. To make these shots feel grand and lifelike, landscape photography editing is required.
Glamour photography editing
Magazines, newspapers and pop culture are highly dependent on glamour photography. These images require specialized editing to beautify skin tones and glamorize the overall image.
Product photography editing
The entire eCommerce industry depends on product photography to captivate customers. Edited product photos aren’t just presented on ecommerce sites, but also inside showrooms, advertisements, billboards etc.
Nature photography editing
Pictures of animals, insects, flowers, and all forms of natural life require editing to enhance it’s spiritual essence. Additionally, since they tend to be close shots, editing helps to maintain their fidelity.
Urban photography editing
Photos of streets, buildings and urban environments often look bland without any editing. People experience these images in their everyday lives, thus they require the extra edge through editing. This makes urban photography appealable.
Portrait photography editing
Whether it’s a picture of you with a significant other, family, or just you yourself – portrait shots can be edited to make these photos seem symbolic or nostalgic.
Wedding photography editing
Weddings are one of the most special days in a persons’ life. Editing them makes a huge difference when enjoying these preserved moments down the years.
Real estate photography editing
Real estate housings, lands etc. wouldn’t sell if they didn’t appeal to tentative landlords. Photo editing of real estate imagery affects their appearance, thus influencing their value to the consumers.
Image restoration editing
Sometimes, a picture can be damaged due to unavoidable circumstances. Or the image had been taken a very long time ago using older cameras. In that case, image restoration editing can modernize and upsample the resolution of those pictures.
Basic photography editing tips for photographer
Knowing just the photo editing basics are enough for a photographer. Whichever genre of photo editing you do, these photo editing tips may help you enhance your images without the need of any tutorials.
Camera and lens correction
Don’t jump straight into editing! Chromatic Aberration, Vignetting & Distortion are the most common issues present in photos, invisible to the eyes.
Lens correction profiles in most software aim to fix these issues. However, these profiles can have side effects, so check before & after to compare which looks better.
Use presets if you don’t know where to start
It is normal for an editor to feel confused about the parameter to adjust first. In that case, you can simply start with presets already saved in the software and adjust them accordingly.
Straighten your photos
Your photo may look perfectly aligned, but our eyes aren’t naturally that critical to detect minor tilts.
Using a grid from the editing application can be a guide for you to straighten even the smallest degrees of rotation.
Frame the subject
Experiment by framing the photo subject left, right, off-center or any other position. You never know, it may actually add some character to the photo, or enhance the character present already!
Fix motion blur
It’s no doubt that moving subjects or photos taken while moving will induce some blur in the photo. Even still images can cause blur due to hand vibrations, air etc.
The “Shake Reduction” option in Photoshop can fix this easily. Other software will have different names for it, but they all serve the same purpose.
Induce motion blur
Contrary to the previous tip, motion blur can actually bring life to some photos! Situations like these are rare, so experiment and figure out which suits your image best.
Reduce Lens flare
Sunlight is great for photography, but it can create reflections which causes lens flare. Sometimes, a lens cap can’t even block this reflection entirely.
Using Photoshop and Lightroom, you can easily reduce lens flare and make the image look much cleaner. You won’t believe the difference it makes until you actually do it!
Display minor details
Highlighting only minor details of the photo instead of the entire image, can make a great difference to how it feels. This is known as selective editing, which you should do, especially, if your photo contains small, intricate portions.
Use Dehaze filter both ways
The dehaze filter in Photoshop can be used to both remove haze and add it. Beginners may feel the need to remove haze and clear out the photo. However, some images like landscape shots can greatly benefit from an increased haze.
Add glow using layer duplication
Using multiple layers of the same image, adding color frequency filters to these duplicates and pasting them over the original image really pops out certain colors and edges.
These glowing colors are determined by the filter you use. Generally, high-pass filters with reduced opacity work well.
Sharpen before downsampling
Some images may require you to reduce its resolution for the web. Sharpening the image before you downsample will help you preserve the original feel of the image. An image may benefit from sharpening even if you don’t downsample it.
Make use of keyboard shortcuts
Every software has shortcuts for it’s tools and processes. It may be an obvious tip, but using all the features through keyboard shortcuts can save you half the time spent on editing without it. Keep practicing this until it’s second-nature.
Use B&W to highlight contrasts or make photo usable
The black and white filter is overused to the extent of becoming a crime. However, it has reasons to be used so often.
It can really highlight contrasts of a great photo which does not benefit from increased contrast parameters. Also, it can hide minor imperfections like clothing or facial creases, environmental distractions really well.
If you have a photo in stock with no alternatives, you can use the black and white filter to make it not just usable but pretty.
Save your edits as presets to speed workflow
You might feel one of your edits look unique and doing it all over for another photo would be a hassle. Well, that is where saving your edits as presets can greatly help.
Even if the edit isn’t anything special, it’s worth saving as a preset because loading it up and then adjusting it is much quicker than editing from scratch.
Don’t always rely on editing to fix everything
This tip may sound contradictory, but editing can only do so much to a poorly shot photo. The better your raw image is, the better your edited image will be.
Thus, try to ensure you capture the most perfect shot possible before finalizing it for edit.
Preserve original quality while editing
Adobe Photoshop has a Camera Raw interface. This interface can help you view the original photo and it’s properties at any time during the editing process.
To do this –
- Select the layer
- Go to Filter -> Camera Raw Filter.
- Convert the layer to a Smart Object using Filter -> Convert for Smart Filters.
- Go to Filter -> Camera Raw Filter.
Hire an editor
It is possible that you tried all the ways to edit your photos yourself, and it still looks unsatisfactory. Or you may not be able to generate photo editing ideas naturally despite knowing all the basic photography editing tips.
That’s why editors exist in the market! You can easily hire one from freelancing websites or ask around to get a local one. There are photo editing firms which solely edit photos at large quantities too.
What is the best photography editing software?
There are plenty of amazing photo editing software. The following list includes basic photography editing software as well as industry standards used by both beginners and specialists –
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Lightroom
- Affinity Photo
- Skylum Luminar
- ON1 Photo Raw
- Corel Paintshop Pro
- ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate
- Capture One
- Pixlr Editor
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Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of the common questions asked by people starting out photography editing –
Is editing a part of photography?
Yes and no, because some photographers prefer to present their raw image. However, for most photography purposes, especially professional purposes, editing is a vital part.
What is Image Sharpening?
It is one of the photo editing basics. Sharpening an image correctly makes it appear higher resolution, by adding grain to the photo.
What is the best computer for photography editing?
The brand doesn’t matter. All you need is to get the specifications right. Depending on the type of photography editing work you do, it will vary. But these are the minimum specifications –
- 500 GB storage size (SSD or HDD, Cloud)
- 256 GB solid state drive (SSD) to install software and operating system
- 8 GB RAM
- 3.00 GHz CPU
- GPU with a 4K resolution output and 10-bit color output
- Monitor with 4K resolution output and 10-bit color output
- Monitor color calibrator tool
How to make money with photography editing?
To start, you need to prepare your portfolio. This editing portfolio will help you get clients whether it’s from freelancing channels like Fiverr, Upwork etc. or local businesses.
Searching for local clients may give you better results in the beginning. Be careful to provide a low cost at first. Unless you have refined photo editing skills and an enriched portfolio, it’s best to keep low rates.
Whether you edit photos for business, family, clientele or hobby – these tips will really help you out!
And even if you don’t edit it yourself, knowing these photo editing ideas can help you better explain your preferences to the editor. We hope that these basic photography editing tips will help you in your career!
Hey, I’m Amy. I’m part of the writer team at Photography-RAW. Besides writing in-depth articles about photography, I also take part in making sure that the website runs smoothly here on Photography-RAW.