If you’re looking to start taking some better, cleaner photos, you’re in the right place. You’ll need to make a few changes to your photography to create the polished results you want. We’re here to help.
Photos have the instantaneous power to convey the past and the future at the same time. They speak about our experiences and successes in a way that words cannot always do.
Yet if our photos are not up to par, they can easily communicate a lack of creativity or interest. And few professionals understand how to navigate the latest photo editing technology.
Are you interested in improving your photo management and editing skills? Then continue reading our guide to photo editing tips and techniques to learn how to create awesome images!
We’ll walk you through what you need to do starting today. Keep reading to learn more!
In this article
1. Crop for Better Composition
In photography, a key technique for creating professional images is to crop for better composition. This technique involves removing any unnecessary or distracting elements from the frame in order to draw attention to the subject. Often, an image can be improved by cropping it down to the essential elements.
A great way to do this is to analyze the frame in terms of thirds, as discussed in the rule of thirds. This will allow you to decide where to place the image’s important elements and ensure that the composition is even.
Additionally, when cropping an image, it is important to avoid subjects being cut off too close to the edges of the frame. Utilizing a tool to convert photo to line drawing can add a unique appeal to any photograph.
2. Adjust Brightness and Contrast
Adjusting the brightness and contrast in a photograph can help to make it look professionally edited. To adjust the brightness and contrast of an image, a photo editor should first select the image and then adjust the brightness and contrast levels either manually or using an auto adjustment feature.
When editing manually, the brightness should be increased or decreased from the midpoint gradually until the desired effect is achieved. Contrast should be modified in much the same way, but care must be taken to avoid over-saturating the image. When using the auto adjustment feature, the editor must be careful to watch the histogram to ensure that the photo is not overexposed or too dark.
3. Outsource Your Photo Editing to Experts
The need for professional images often requires a considerable amount of photo editing. Outsourcing your photo editing to experts gives you access to the know-how to properly change the contrast, sharpness, and saturation, and add the right color tints. Professional photographers have the skill to adjust brightness, add effects, and crop pictures for the perfect look.
To make sure the picture looks perfect, experts know the subtle techniques of making adjustments to the highlights, shadows, and color balance. They are familiar with techniques, like adding vignettes, to focus viewers’ eyes on your product or subject. When it comes to advanced photo editing, having an expert do it gives you confidence that you get the highest standards of quality, consistency, and professionalism.
4. Recover Details From Shadows and Highlights
To bring out detail in shadow areas, increase the brightness and contrast parameters, lighten the mid-tones, or use a levels or curves adjustment layer. These adjustments can be tweaked to achieve a balance between the shadows and highlights. For highlights, try reducing the brightness and contrast, darkening the mid-tones, or adjusting the shadows.
However, the exact adjustments needed are heavily reliant on the image and type of detail being recovered. It is a worthwhile practice to use masking when making these adjustments to protect important parts of the image from being overly affected. Additionally, noise reduction tools can help keep an image from looking too grainy, which can happen when shadows or highlights are pushed too far.
5. Adjust the White Balance
One of the most important photo editing tips and techniques for creating professional images is to adjust the white balance. As an editor, you will want to ensure that your image is as neutral as possible. Besides the obvious effects of adjusting the white balance on the overall color cast of the image, you can use white balance to correct any color casts caused by different lighting conditions and to make corrections to a photo taken in an unwanted color space.
To adjust the white balance, you can either use the pre-defined white balance icons in an image editing program or you can play around with the color temperature or tint sliders to get the desired result. This can help to achieve a natural and more pleasing effect on the final image.
6. Start Using Presets and Actions
Presets and actions allow you to use pre-defined settings that can help you instantly apply certain effects or styles to your images. By creating a few custom presets or downloading a few actions of your own, you can save yourself some time when it comes to processing images.
This can help you quickly apply effects and styles that fit the type of image you’re creating. Additionally, many presets and actions are designed to be used as starting points and can be further tweaked until you get the desired result.
7. Use Shortcuts
Photo-editing shortcuts vary from app to app, but most include keyboard shortcuts and other hacks for streamlining your photo-editing process. For example, most Photoshop tools use the same shortcut keys, so if you memorize a few of the most essential, it’ll speed up your work. Adobe Lightroom also features shortcuts to switch between tools, auto-tone and auto-correct images, and more.
Crop and rotate are actions found in almost every photo-editing app, so learn the keys to quickly make these edits. Additionally, there are tons of time-saving tips that you can utilize to make the most of your photo-editing workflow.
For example, make sure to use the correct resolution, size, and file format for the particular image you’re looking to edit. Also, take advantage of third-party plugins to add a creative touch to your images.
8. Work With HSL Tools to Adjust Color
Working with HSL Tools to adjust color can be a great way to create professional images through photo editing techniques. By using the tools, a user is able to adjust Hue, Saturation, and Lightness which allows a user to create more vibrant and striking images.
The three primary controls, Hue, Saturation, and Lightness, allow the user to make subtle changes to reflect their creative direction. The hue control makes it easy to shift different colors in the image while the Saturation control provides the user with the ability to increase or decrease the intensity of specific colors. Lastly, the lightness control allows the user to create more dramatic and striking images by selectively darkening and lightening areas of an image.
9. Retouch Skin With Frequency Separation
Frequency separation is a powerful editing process used to retouch skin tones in an image. In this process, special software is used to analyze and separate the image into two color values, the color data, and the texture data. The color data is what gives the image its color, while the texture data is what provides the detail and fine lines of the skin.
To create a natural look to the skin, the texture data should be lightly blurred to soften blemishes, wrinkles, and blemishes. Once this process is complete, the color data should be adjusted to bring back the vibrance to the image, while still preserving the natural look. Finally, the image should be saved and the result will be a professional image with smooth, flawless skin.
10. Use Adjustment Layers and Brushes
Adjustment layers in particular allow for seamless manipulation of color, contrast, saturation, and brightness as well as for selective area adjustments. Brushes allow for more precise control over the image, providing detailed corrections such as fine-tuning facial features or blurring objects. Creating proper adjustment layers, using layers masks, and building upon them with customizable brushes help create looks that sizzle.
11. Use Dodge and Burn
It allows you to lighten or darken areas, highlighting–or drawing attention to an object or feature that can transform what would have been an ordinary photo into a professional image. To use the exposure, highlights, and shadows of the area you wish to enhance should all be adjusted to your desired level. Then, with a “soft” brush and a low exposure painting in a low opacity (around 15%) will begin the process of creating a professional photo.
Start Today and Take Your Photo Editing Tips to the Next Level
Photo editing is an important skill to have that can open up limitless possibilities for creative expression. Now that you have learned some simple photo editing tips, you can start to create truly professional images right away. With practice, you will be able to master the art of photo editing, creating stunning visuals in no time. Try it out today and see where photo editing takes you!
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