Basic Editing

Basic photo editing steps

Written by Gail Bjork

A step-by-step guide to basic photo editing – just the basics, to help get you started enhancing digital images.

Resized imageThere are countless ways to enhance an image by editing, also known as post-processing. What follows are some basic, most frequently used steps to process digital photos.
Always work on a duplicate of an original image. If you make a mistake along the way, just make another copy of the original and start editing again.

Some images need little, if any, post-processing prior to printing. However, the same photo may need enhancing if it will be displayed on a website.

>Don’t over edit as an image can lose detail and become unnatural looking.

editing-tools

Six basic steps to edit digital photos

  1. Open photo via the image editing software Open menu.
  2. Flip the image if its orientation needs to be changed.
  3. Crop – remove unwanted portions of a photo if desired; crop to a specific aspect ratio (eg. 4×6″, 5×7″ 8×10″), particularly if you plan to make prints.
  4. Resizeresizing makes a photo larger or smaller. With the high megapixel count of many digital camera, images are typically reduced in size. To ensure height and width change proportionally, make sure the “constrain” or “keep aspect ratio” setting is enabled.
  5. Enhance image by adjusting its brightness and contrast (such as a levels adjustment), sharpening if an image looks “soft,” or correct a color cast to make an image have more true-to-life colors.
  6. Save an image for printing – Save your image as a TIFF or high-quality jpeg (jpg). For the web – Save a photo as a jpeg. You will be given options to adjust the compression level. If the compression is set too low, the image will degrade in visual quality. If set too high, a photo can take too long to load into a web browser.

During any step in the editing process, if you do not like a change you made, click the “undo” command.

For more sophisticated post-processing you should use a photo editing program that has layering capabilities.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

3 Comments