For any serious photographer, it is vital to be familiar with the process of editing photos. There are many out there who deem photo editing as a non-essential step of photography and even term edited photos as fake. What they fail to realize is that photo editing goes far beyond slamming filters on photos and making them look like graphic art rather than realistic pictures.
What Constitutes ‘Photo Editing’
The term contains a lot of information within itself. In the simplest of terms, any change you make to the visual aesthetic or character of a photo is termed as ‘editing’. Now, this does not have to be something that completely changes the look of your image, of course. It can be something as simple as changing the exposure, adding more contrast, turning a photo black and white etc.
So, we’re sure you can see right away why every photographer should know how to edit their photos because, let’s face it, getting a completely perfect photo right out of the camera isn’t often possible.
Types of Photo Editing to Try
Despite its simple definition, photo editing is a process that comprises of many possible steps. There are various types of editing you can practice to get the best result from your photos. You can also visit various websites that talk about tips and tricks of editing photos, detailing what steps you can follow and which photo editors you can use. For now, let’s take a brief look at the different ways you can edit your photos.
Basic Exposure Control: The first and simplest type of edits you can make in your images revolve around exposure and contrast control. The right exposure is key to creating the perfect photo, and it can really make or break your photo. Similarly, contrast plays a very important role in how punchy or muted your photo looks. If you don’t like editing your photos too much, you should be okay with simply adjusting the exposure and contrast.
Advanced Exposure Control: Most photo editors out there allow you to take exposure control a step further by allowing you to tweak the highlights and shadows of your photos. If you find that your image is too overexposed or underexposed, adjusting these settings can help a lot in achieving a balanced exposure.
Color Control: An image’s colors are one of the most important factors you should take care of. During the process of editing, you can decide if you want to turn your photo black and white or keep it in color. You can also adjust the colors by making them more or less saturated, changing their tone by making them warmer or cooler, or even play around with the exact hues if you use a RAW editor.
Object Removal: Did you know you could remove unwanted objects from your photos with an image editor? The process is fairly easy with something like Adobe Photoshop and can go a long way in saving a shot that you may have thought of as useless because of something that popped up in your frame without you realizing it.
Selective Editing: If you feel like your photo is perfect except for that one small corner at the top right that needs some careful exposure control, you can use a selective editing tool in programs like Capture One or Lightroom to do just that. Selective editing makes the lives of photographers very easy, as they don’t have to worry about changing the look of an entire image simply to get one small area look better.
Filters and Effects: We hear so many photographers talking badly about the use of filters and effects, but the fact is that many modern photo editors come with excellent filters and presets that can be used as a base for all your subsequent photo editing. Filters are not just for Instagram to develop, nor are they just to make your photo look artificial. They can be used very tastefully to give your images a little extra kick if you’re short on time.
Pixel-Level Editing: And finally, if you are a hybrid of a photographer and graphic designer/illustrator, you’ll love Photoshop’s ability to allow pixel-level editing to completely change the look of your photos. This can be very helpful if you like taking your own photos for your digital artwork or simply can’t find the kind of image you are looking for in order to create the perfect digital landscape.
As you can hopefully see, photo editing is almost essential for every photographer to get to grips with. It’s not always just to make pictures look like they came out of a computer but is rather helpful in various situations, depending on your own personal needs. So dump your preexisting notions about photo editing as something bad or ‘wrong’, and get on with creating stellar photos!