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Photo Editing 101

Photo Editing 101

If you’re new to photography, editing your images might seem daunting. There are many different types of software out there, but with the majority of them, you can do the same basic tasks to improve your images. Using a fairly standard PC from and some editing software you're pretty much ready to roll. If you're just looking to improve and correct your photos, digital editing is surprisingly quick to learn. The tips mentioned can be used in a variety of editing programs like Photoshop, PicMonkey, and GIMP. Adjusting brightness & contrast One of the simplest things you can do is make an image lighter or darker, or increase or decrease its contrast. Contrast is the difference between the lightest part and the darkest part of an image. Sometimes a quick and simple adjustment of the brightness and contrast is enough to turn a dull underexposed snapshot into a nice high impact photograph. In Photoshop, look for the sun icon on the right-side panel. Simply move the arrow to the left or right to adjust the contrast. Saturation Adding saturation by moving the Sponge Tool to the right makes the colors stand out more. But it also exaggerates colors you probably didn’t realize were there! When adding saturation, be careful not to lose detail in the image. When overused, this tool can flatten your photo. Straighten an image In Photoshop, head to the toolbox on the left side and look for the Eyedropper tool. If you hold your mouse key down on this tool, you’ll see more options, including a Ruler Tool. Take the tool to your image and find a line that should be straight, like the horizon line. Click and hold on one side, then drag it along the line and unclick. Once you have your line, go up to the top where it says “straighten.” Click on it, and you’ll end up with a straight and level image. Cropping Cropping can be done with any software and can even be found on some free editing programs that come installed on many laptops and PC’s from The icon for the Crop tool often looks like an image on a chopping board, or image corners superimposed on top of one another. Once you click on a Crop tool, you can usually drag the borders of an image in and out, and place them exactly where you’d like to create your new borders. In Photoshop, an outline will appear on the image, and you can move each border to where you want. Remove Spots Sometimes you may see spots on your photo that can be caused by a dirty sensor on your DSLR. There are various ways to remove these kinds of spots, and one of the easiest methods is the Spot Healing Brush Tool, which resembles a band aid in Photoshop. Select the tool from the left-side panel then click on the spot in the image to make it disappear. These common editing steps are appropriate for anyone who wants to learn how to edit their own images. Experiment to figure out what works best for you, and how to enhance your photos without over-processing
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