Cameras are everywhere, more pictures have been taken in the past couple of years than the photos taken since the making of the first cameras 200 years ago. To think that the editing software that comes with the digital and phone cameras could be little more user-friendly for those who navigate the brave (albeit self-centered) new world of selfies and social media posts; that is unfortunately not the case. Many have to rely on trial and error and sometimes botch their original image, and save over it, forever ruining the memory of the picture rather than enhance it to keep it as true as possible to what it was in reality.
Fortunately, we have a rundown of the most important editing tools and a comparison between them to highlight the different uses of each tool along with tips on how to produce a great looking photo maybe even better than the reality of the situation you were in when you took it i.e. cloudy weather or overwhelming light. We will explain with words and side by side images to give you a super simplified walkthrough on using photo editor on the majority if not all the phones and cameras out there in the market.
1. General Tips
• Before you start editing your pictures make sure you have a back up of the image or make sure your editing software saves the changes you made as a new picture different from the original. Most new editing tools do that automatically but just try it out on a test image and see if it saves independently or not.
• Don’t be afraid of experimenting once you have a backup, many tools show you the changes you make in real time so you can see if what you’re doing looks good or not but in order not to repeat what you did save frequently once you finish adjusting or adding an effect.
• At times it is best not to over do it with effects as people can consider the picture too “photoshopped” taking away from its authenticity and beauty and having people perceive it as fake, so walking the middle ground simply the best way to go about it.
2. Cropping and Rotating
Cropping and rotating should be the first things you do to edit out the parts of the picture that you don’t like and fix the orientation of your image rather than strain your neck looking sideways.
With cropping, you usually control lines starting from the borders of the original image and you can move them about essentially making new square or rectangle shaped borders. A word of warning when using this tool especially with lower quality images, for selecting a face out of a group photo, for instance, would magnify it and the quality of the image would look more pixelated and poorer than normal.
Rotation and photo straightening are usually straightforward at a click of a button giving your picture a landscape or portrait orientation with right angles, however, some editors have the ability to tilt the image by entering an angle degree or using your touch screen making a square into a diamond.
3. Auto Enhancing
Want to take the easy way out and let the computer do the work? The auto enhancing feature now a staple of many editors is the way to do that, a simple click or movement of the meter can auto edit the image you want fixing the shadows and other effects.
I personally opt for using this as a first step before going into detail with the other tools so I have a base line of what is ideal and I tweak it after that to bring out more color or more brightness for instance. While it is tempting to just leave it at that and not bother playing around more after using the auto enhance, further work on the image usually brings more satisfying results and gives you the “just right” sensation once you’re done, like most things the more time and effort you put in your image the better the reward.
4. Brightness (Gamma correction) Vs Shadows
Having now entered the slightly more advanced area of editing it is important to distinguish the differences between two of the most important tools you would probably use in your image editing toolkit. In a nut shell, the Brightness tool controls the whole image’s overall brightness while the Shadows effect focuses on the already dark parts of your photo which makes the brighter parts stand out more.
The Brightness tool, including Exposure, Highlights, and Shadows, is mainly used to offset darkness or over brightness in an image brought about by cloudy or sunny skies. Usually going a little above or a little under the baseline is sufficient to give your photo a ‘normal’ light but with some editors maxing out the meters in either direction might not be enough to make it right, that is where the Shadows effect comes into play.
The brightness effect is aimed as a general effect the Shadow meter is aimed for detail and making the dark parts of the photo more illuminated hence giving the viewers a better idea of the overshadowed colors that didn’t translate well from reality to your screen.
That covers the lighting of the image now we will tackle the color elements more directly…
5. Contrast and Saturation
Contrast is essentially a tug of war between lighter but weaker colors or at the other end of the spectrum darker but stronger more vivid colors but both ends kind of play on the lighting effects mentioned before. The Saturation is really a color control with one end resembling black and white (B&W) Vs vibrant colors that is not that different from the color control on older TVs.
Many users with low-quality cameras tend to max out the saturation to make up for the weaker Mega Pixels of their cams to give it a better appearance. The second step is usually to adjust the contrast so that the image’s colors aren’t too bright or too dark and then it is a back and forth game between the other different effects to make sure the image has just the right values.
6. Effects and Filters
After working on the Detail and Sharpness and other elements of editing the image once clear enough can go through the filter stage where pre-made effects can be used to give the image a different style and effect with the developer’s imagination as the limit.
These photo effects can cover changes in the lighting to overhauling the colors and make up of the image some mimicking the oil painting effect for instance.
Fotor’s exclusive and amazing photo effects are created by our talented team and designers. Large selection of filters can easily give a magical touch to your photo!
Now you’ll definitely have a better understanding of these features. And lots of your photos await your further editing! Start your editing online at Fotor now!