For most photographers, photo editing is an essential stage in the photography process. Since almost the very beginning, photographers have been striving to improve their images through methods such as tinting, toning and cropping- lengthy and expensive techniques, which meant that only professionals and avid enthusiasts enjoyed this final photographic step. However, with the introduction of digital photography, this is no longer the case: you don’t need a dark room, or shed loads of time; editing software is available to all photographers and can really help to add a little gloss to your images. We know that digital editing, for many, can seem quite daunting, especially if you consider yourself on the ‘technophobe’ spectrum, so, in this article, we will be exploring some of the very basics of editing and look at techniques that can be used whether you’re a Photoshop newbie or simply want to enhance images on your phone.
Cropping is the removal of unwanted outer areas of an image, and is one of the most useful post-processing techniques; your images’s composition can be totally changed and elevated at a click of a button. You may choose to reduce the image frame by a couple of percent, or decide to cut out half your photograph to focus on one particular element: both small and big changes can be extremely effective! An important thing to remember when utilising the cropping tool (on the computer or on your phone) is to always keep your image looking a standard photo size and shape. If you crop your image to create a long/thin frame, for example, it’ll look over-edited and a little amateur. Keeping a standard ratio is also great if you decide to get your images printed, as if you go for a non standard size, you’ll have to pay for bespoke mounts and frames- this can be very expensive!!
Go black and white!
All editing packages and photography apps will have the option to turn images into black and white. There are several ways to achieve this, you can go into hue/saturation and bring the saturation right down, use the desaturate option, or change the colour mode of an image to grayscale. All these techniques produce roughly the same effect. Lightroom is arguably the best software for this technique, the black and white panel gives you amazing control of the tones within the picture, allowing you to create the perfect black and white effect! Most phones and mobile apps will give you quite a large variety of black and white filters, so try them all on for size and pick the one that best suits your image.
If your photograph has turned out too dark or too light, you need to fix the exposure in the editing phase. This is a fundamental editing adjustment, and can really rescue your image. Editing software and editing phone apps will all allow you to adjust the exposure. A top tip for changing the exposure is to not be afraid to experiment with the levels, and to consider the effect you want to create with your image, for example, if your image is a moody winter’s day, you may want to go for a slightly lower exposure than usual, or if it’s a sunny beach shot, you will want your photo looking bright and crisp, and so go for a higher exposure. Adjusting the exposure is about personal preference, but keep in mind that when it comes to editing photographs, less is usually more!