10 Essential Photo Editing Skills Every Blogger should learn
Composition is very important in photography, it helps determine the focus and emotion of the image. Most photo editing programs (including photo editing mobile apps) allow you crop your images.
Don’t you hate when you snap an image, and realize its slightly crooked later? This is easily fixed by straightening/rotating your image. Just like cropping most photo editing programs allow you to straighten your image. In programs like Photoshop, you’re usually able to straighten with the crop tool. Some mobile apps allow you straighten with the crop feature, while others have separate buttons & tools for it.
Exposure is the amount of light that is captured in an image. It affects how light or dark the image appears. The great thing about exposure is that it can be adjusted depending on your image file. If you captured your image in RAW format you’ll have more dynamic range in your image. If you captured it in JPEG, your image would have limited dynamic range to work with. That’s why it’s often recommended to capture images in RAW if you plan to do a lot of editing and manipulations with them.
You can adjust your exposure in a variety of ways. In Photoshop, you can adjust with Levels, Curves, and Brightness. I recommend using Curves because many other photo editing programs for both computers and phones are beginning to offer this tool as well. Might as well use a tool that is becoming universal. I’ll be making a Curves tutorial very soon!
White Balance Adjustment
White balance adjustment is just the process of neutralizing colors in a photo. This is how you can get rid of color casts. Here is Adobe’s definition of Color Cast:
“An unwanted color shift in the whole image, which can be caused by reflected light from a nearby object. For example, many photos taken using fluorescent lighting tend to have a greenish color cast.” - Adobe
Removing color casts can be a simple or complex process. For example, in Lightroom; you can select Auto White Balance to allow the program to neutralize the image (hit or miss option). Or you can take a more complex approach with Curves or Levels in Photoshop. It often depends on how neutral you want your image to be. It can also be important to adjust white balance when it’s time to print your images.
Color Adjustments applies a broad selection of tools and techniques for editing color. Color adjustments can be made globally or they can be made to specific areas. Color adjustment features include Vibrance, Hue/Saturation, and Color Balance in Photoshop; or Split Toning in Lightroom. Many mobile photo editing apps offer a variety of tools for color adjustments.
It’s awesome being able to adjust your entire image all at once, but sometimes you’ll want to affect specific areas of your images. This is why making selections is an important skill to learn in photo editing. Selections allow you to isolate a certain area of your image and apply changes to that area without affecting other parts of the image.
The difficulty or simplicity of making selections is dependent on each individual image. For example, an image with one subject on a background with a different color than the subject can easily be selected with the Magic Wand or Quick Selection Tool in Photoshop. On the other end, and image with multiple objects with a variety of colors will require more complex selection tools and techniques such as the Pen Tool or Color Range Selection.
No matter how good the photographer, distractions occasionally get caught in an image. So, you’ll need to know how to remove these pesky distractions. Tools such as the Clone Tool, Healing Brush, and Content-Aware Fill Tool. These features are available in most desktop photo editing programs, and some mobile apps offer blemish removal tools as well.
Installing and Applying Filters
While some recommend learning how to create the exact look you want for your photos manually, saving time and streamlining your workflow is most ideal. This is where filters and presets can help you immensely. Filters can be easily used in mobile photo editing apps, with some limitations on customization. In Photoshop you can use Actions and in Lightroom, you can use presets which will give you the filtered look you want in one click, while also allowing you to alter adjust the effects to your liking.
It's important to make sure you're getting your photos in focus as best as possible in camera. However, due to mild camera shake, you might need to do some sharpening in post. Most photo editing programs offer a sharpening tool or feature to help you get the desired sharpness in a few clicks. Photoshop offers simple Sharpen filters along with more complex sharpening options.
Resizing & Exporting Photos
Depending on where you want to post your images or how you want to print them, you’ll need to know how to adjust your image and file size. Many photo editing programs offer simple and complex exporting tools that allow you to get the perfect image output for your needs. For example, Lightroom allows you to batch export images and choose specific export and naming settings. You can even save the export settings as presets to speed up your workflow.