Photo editing is a great way to get the most out of your camera and your images. Modern cameras are extremely powerful and capture a lot more information than you would realise, and with using editing software you are able to really bring the best out of the images that you take.
It is amazing what even a little bit of editing can do to your images, even something super simple as levelling your images so the horizon is straight can make a difference.
There are a lot of ways to edit photos, and combinations of techniques and programs can be used to create some spectacular images, I’m just going to show a few of the more basic things that can be done, and will probably do some “how to” blogs in the future.
There are a lot of programs that can be used to edit images, the most famous being Adobe Photoshop. I use a program called Lightroom, also by Adobe, that is based around replicating the kind of things that were done in a darkroom. There are a lot of other programs that can be used, some more specialised than others.
It is also possible to get image editors that are apps for phones, I actually have a version of Lightroom on my phone that has pretty much all the features of the version on my laptop, which I can use to edit my photos taken with my phone if I choose to. But a more popular mobile app for photo editing would be Snapseed.
RAW vs Jpeg
I shoot in RAW format and the before’s tend to look a bit duller and flat than if I was just shooting in straight Jpeg, but they do capture a lot more information (my images are 80mb each). Essentially if you are shooting in Jpeg the camera does a lot of the “editing” for you at the expense of the information that is recorded in the RAW. But that information stored by the RAW file means that the image is a lot easier to edit and can be edited further than the Jpeg.
So if you are interested in editing your photos I would recommend switching to RAW format, though most modern digital cameras can take images in both formats at the same time if you are concerned about making the change or want useable images straight away.
Below are some examples of the editing that I’ve done on some recent photos I took on holidays:
I really didn’t want those dark silhouettes to either side.
Recovering detail and lightening up an image
The main point of this image was the path and the people on it, so I needed to lighten that area.
There was so much detail in this room, but the majority of the light was coming from outside so my original image was super dark.
Enhancing the colour
Some early morning long exposures I did, I really wanted the pier to “pop” and have more vibrancy and a more appealing (in my eyes) hue.
All those colours were captured by the camera, I just needed to bring them out.
Changing the Saturation and Contrast
From a flat image to an image with depth and life.
Changing the colour
I really wanted to add some colour to this picture, and bring up the pattern on the wall.
Editing the colour and the light in this image gives it better balance, otherwise that top left hand section really throws the image.
Converting to Black and White
Changing this image to black and white really created a lot of drama and mood.
Pretty much everything!
I did a lot to this image to get it to a point where I was happy, but in the end I think it was worth it as I really like this image.
Taking panoramas using a camera is a bit different than using a mobile, it involves taking a series of overlapping images and then stitching them together later. Some of my panoramas from Iceland were 20+ images joined together. I think from memory this one was 10-15ish. My camera takes 40 megapixel images, so using some exceptionally rough maths these panoramas could be 500 megapixels or more.
My main point when it comes to editing, and pretty much all of my photography blogs, is to enjoy what you are doing, experiment and see what results you get. The important thing is to generate an image that you are happy with. I really have fun editing my photos, I love seeing what the image I end up with is. I’ve also found that editing photos leads me to try new things when I’m out shooting pictures, so that I can bring those images back and see what they can do when I put them into the computer.
I will in future blogs go into a bit more detail about the different aspects of editing.
What would you like to know about editing?