8 Best Photo Editing Tips For Beginners
Learning the art of photography can be a pretty daunting experience, as in your head you have a clear vision of what you want to get, however, the result leaves much to be desired. The photo shoot is just an initial stage of the process, as you only get RAW photos, and literally, the raw material to work with. The next stage, where the finalized version is born, includes the usage of various techniques, which will help to enhance the photo to its full potential.
There are numerous photo editors to find online, each one offering unlimited possibilities for photo improvement. However, when you are a beginner, everything seems terrifying as you don’t even know where to start. Let’s ease your fear and get into the basic tools you need to use to create the finalized photo’ like the one you see in your imagination.
Photo Format: RAW vs JPEG
The initial file format has a great impact on your final photo. RAW and JPEG can be compared to a full version of the file and a ZIP one.
RAW photos don’t look attractive at the beginning, and they are heavy, quickly occupying the memory card space. JPEG looks nice and appealing straightaway, the size is smaller and you have less work to do.
However, when we look closer, the difference is incomparable:
- RAW photos consist of plenty of details, which can be changed in order to reach a desirable vision. Imagine a jigsaw with 1000 pieces – a terrifying experience at the beginning, yet the final result is always impressive.
- JPEG offers the same image, yet the quality is lower, as it is squeezed into a small size. Many details are simplified and unified, leaving you with the compressed image – beautiful, yet lacking room for improvement. Getting back to a jigsaw puzzle, imagine the same picture with 200-400 pieces – looks as nice as a big one, yet the whole experience is rather simplified.
Straightening and cropping
A crooked horizon is the easiest way to ruin the whole vision and perspective. Thus, the first step is checking if the main line is properly straightened, with the help of an angle tool. However, if a wonky horizon is part of a plan, leave it as it is and move on.
The next step is cropping, as you may need to get rid of unwanted elements, distractions, or empty spaces. Yet it’s worth remembering that it follows the rule of thirds (golden ratio) in order to save the composition. The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places the central object in the left or right third of an image, leaving the ⅔ more open.
Depending on the photo editors you can erase the extra details with the object eraser and the edited area will be automatically replaced with the color scheme of the surrounding area.
Brightness and Exposure
Proper exposure sets the overall brightness of the photo. It’s better to set a medium level or slightly lower, as when the photo is overexposed, the details get lost in all the brightness. If the photo is too gloomy and dark, increase the level of exposure; if the photo is too bright – make it lower.
This feature is particularly important in case you want to use a timeline creator for infographics, presentations, etc, as they require best-looking shots.
Balance of white
White balance helps to deal with the color issues and makes the white objects look white, without warm or cool tones. The proper usage of white helps to manage the overall tone of the photo. If you set the warm balance, the photos will have a summer-like style – cozy and welcoming. A cold balance creates a winter-like style with an aloof and reserved image.
Managing the colors
The colors are mainly corrected after changing the exposure settings and balance of white. Saturation changes the radiance of particular colors: when it’s high, the colors look more alive and vibrant, making the picture more intensive; when it’s low, or desaturated, the colors become less dynamic and muted.
Besides, you can alter the saturation of individual colors, emphasizing particular details.
RAW photos are often a bit blurred. Depending on the vision of the final result, you can sharpen the image and clarify the centerpiece, which will make everything look more natural. However, the blurred background adds some mystery to the photo, directing the eyes right onto the main object. This final touch depends on the big picture in your imagination.
Photo editing is a part and parcel of photo processing. Some people claim that such photos have nothing to do with art and natural beauty, yet it’s just a common misconception. While editing the photo, you master it till the point of perfection.