Image manipulation or photo editing is an important part of photography. After all, the end product we see online is almost always the result of some kind of photo manipulation, since people tend to use available filters. One of the differences between armature and pro photography is also in editing since professional images usually undergo heavier editing.
If you are interested in advancing and honing your photography skills, you should also take some time to work on your photo editing. In this guide, we are going to list some of the popular techniques and tips you can use to help you become better at image manipulation.
Know the tool you are going to use
The first thing you should definitely do is learn to navigate the photo editing tool you will use. This is something that will increase your efficiency tremendously. It is important to learn all of the shortcuts that are frequently used, and that is how to undo your move, and how to zoom in and zoom out.
Additionally, you should learn to find the most used tools instantly as well. As you know quality photo manipulation software comes with a whole arsenal of features, and knowing where each one of them is located is going to come in handy.
Luckily, software designers are well aware of their user base, so professional tools have gone through many updates and versions, and developers usually put these frequently used tools in the same place, so that they can be easily accessed.
Once you manage to learn all of these things, the entire editing process will be a lot quicker, and it won’t be too bothersome for you to experiment and master the entire platform as a true pro.
Remove unnecessary elements
One of the easiest tricks professionals use is simple cropping. You’d be surprised just how much difference this can make. If you remove all of the irrelevant or distracting elements of the picture, the main point of focus is perceived a lot differently. Of course, this simple cutting will only remove things that are on the edges of the photo; you’ll have to use different tools for more central editing.
Furthermore, you must crop the image without sacrificing its quality, so it is up to you as a photographer to make sure this is possible. When you are taking photos, ensure you are using a quality camera with high resolution.
Professional photographers are absolutely obsessed with lighting since it is the most important aspect of the photo that makes it look professional. The explanation for this is rather simple, and there are two good reasons why it is so essential.
The first reason is that by manipulating light, you can alter the photo in a way that is different from what we would normally see as observers. The second reason is that you can use it to highlight the subject of the photo and make it look good. This is really great when you have to make a portrait of someone.
By using these techniques, you can place a person in the shade and put even lighting on their face. This is also really crucial for landscape photography, and as you know, usually the best shots of the landscape are early in the morning with sunrise or late afternoon at sunset. So, go through some professional photos and see what they do with light by comparing the original and edited version. You can hire professionals to edit your photos and you can learn from them.
Master healing brush
One of the reasons why everybody loves photo editing tools is because they can make our faces look so pristine and beautiful. The real hero here is a tool called healing brush, since it is used to remove all of the facial irregularities, like zits, moles, wrinkles, and dark circles.
With this simple tool, anyone can look younger, and more attractive, just like models on magazine covers. So, take some pictures of yourself, selfies, or some portraits and start experimenting with the healing brush tool to learn how to use it right.
There is usually a feature called Lightroom which allows you to manipulate contrast in the photo. For example, you can give a minor boost in contrast between a blue sky and a cloudy sky. All you have to do is select Luminance and move the blue slider to the left. By doing this, you will darken the sky. It is important to remember not to overdo it since the cloud edges or any other objects in the sky can start to intrude into the sky.
Dodge and Burn
Since light is so important for professional images, this tool will be used really frequently. These are basically two features – one is called Dodge, and the other one is Burn, and they allow you to either lighten or darken particular areas of the photo. Photographers can increase (burn) or decrease (dodge) exposure to lighten or darken the areas on the print.
Be really cautious when you are using these tools because applying them on the background will change the image information permanently, so use a duplicate layer to edit the image without harming it.
In the options bar, you will choose between Midtones, Shadows, and Highlights, and you will choose between dodge and dark to make these aspects of the photo brighter or darker.
Lastly, you should know there is a way to edit your images really quickly and add cool effects in only a few clicks. There are the tools that can add filters or effects immediately or action packs for photo editing tools, which enable a variety of different filter features. So, go through the available and free action packs, and pick those that you would like to use on your images. By applying a filter and tweaking out all the details later, you can reduce the editing time significantly.
These were some of the important tips you should know if you want to be a photographer. Hopefully, the guide will help you, and you will master your favorite software in no time.