Professional photographers don’t just take a photo and call it a day. They use a variety of editing techniques to revise an image to look the way they want it. Some of these techniques involve on-site equipment adjustments, while others involve post-processing editing. If you’re wanting to craft more stunning photographs, we have some professional photo editing tips to get you started.
Low light tips
Low-light photography can be difficult, but since so many family moments take place in the late evening—sporting events, trick-or-treating, summer art walks, the list goes on—learning to shoot in these less-than-ideal conditions is worth it. Some basic low-light tips include using a large aperture to let in more light, increasing the ISO for a brighter image, and slowing down the shutter speed to limit motion blur. The resulting image may be a bit grainy, but this can be alleviated in post-process editing. If you’re using Photoshop on your Microsoft Surface Pro or Book 2
from Beachcamera.com, for example, you can find a “Reduce Noise” tool under Filter.
Low resolution tips
What’s the best resolution? That depends on how you plan to use the photo. For print projects such as photo books, the higher the resolution, the better the image will look. Not sure if the photo will make it in? Then shoot at a high resolution anyway. You can always scale it down. Online images are an exception. They typically sport a PPI of 72, because this resolution prevents long load times while still looking decent on a monitor. But online images look blurry in print, so again, better to shoot high and scale down. Editing programs do offer an option to upscale resolution. Photoshop’s Resample Image tool increases an image’s PPI.
Tips for resizing photos
Today’s programs make resizing a photograph easier than ever. In Photoshop, the Image Size option is housed under the Image tab and allows you to adjust the image’s pixel dimensions, document size, and resolution. Don’t be afraid to experiment with framing when resizing. If you’re shrinking the image, for example, you may want to move some of the shot out of frame and re-center the subject. When making an image larger, you may want to slide the subject over to create some dynamic negative space.
Tips for focus
Don’t be afraid to turn off autofocus and give manual focus a chance. Modern cameras like the Sony a7R IV Alpha Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera
from Beachcamera.com have incredibly advanced autofocus. But occasionally, you’ll find the camera “hunting” for the subject you want to focus on. Using manual focus gives you much more freedom to compose the shot you want. Instead, use single autofocus. This tells your camera that you’ll be focusing on a single subject, and there’s no need to make everything in the shot super crisp. The exception is if you’re trying to capture an active target. In that case, use a continuous autofocus paired with burst mode. And let’s not forget your editing software. Photoshop has a Focus Area option to help make your desired subject stand out, and a Lens Blur option to defocus the background even more.
Tips for reducing motion blur
The best way to reduce motion blur is to lock that camera down on a tripod. You can further lessen motion blur in post-process. Photoshop has a Shake Reduction option under the Filter tab. If you’re going for motion blur effect, select Motion Blur, also under the Filter tab, to give your image some zing.
Framing the subject
Too many shutterbugs center the subject in their viewfinder and call it day. Sure, it’s tried-and-true but it’s also boring. Framing allows you to express yourself. So get out there and try something different. When editing, remember you can manipulate framing by cropping it, rotating it, or dragging it with your mouse. Easy breezy.
Consider your desired effect. Are you looking to heighten the colors to levels of surrealism? Then bump up the saturation. Are you looking to make a particular color stand out? Then don’t forget to toy with its contrast. Are you trying to evoke a particular emotion? Then hitting the warmth slider can add an old timey effect. Color is ultimately an artistic choice, so don’t go in thinking there is a wrong or right answer. The right answer is the one you find aesthetically pleasing.
The best photography tip is to experiment and have fun. Don’t think you need to create professional-grade images right away. Get familiar with your equipment, explore your photo-editing software, and learn to enjoy editing.