Most people limit their photo editing to the basics and there is software available online for photo editing, with the most popular being Adobe Photoshop. People can use Photoshop for free, via the trial version, but must be careful because some websites offer free Photoshop and people later realize that the files are laden with viruses. The Adobe website trial version of the software is good for 30 days. However, if you want the full capabilities of Photoshop, you have to buy the full version. The thing is that the complete version has a lot of features that ordinary photographers may not need. Most average photographers need the following photo editing basics.
1. Correcting Exposure
This is probably the most common adjustment people do to their pictures. Photoshop allows exposure correction of photos in a wide range of formats, including RAW and JPEG files. Wrong exposure can be corrected by going to “Image” in the menu, clicking “Adjustments”, and then clicking “Levels”. The histogram will be shown. You can make fine adjustments by moving the sliders. The photo will turn darker or lighter, depending on which slider you move and how you move it. Adjust the sliders until you get the desired brightness.
2. Correcting Blown Highlights
An easier way to do this is to go to the “Curves” option. But this can be an annoying command for beginners. It takes a while to perfect this, but it is worth practicing the “Curves” command because it can correct blown out highlights or lighten up shadows to retrieve more detail. The best way to avoid this problem is to underexpose the camera in high contrast environment.
Balancing the overall exposure is tricky. Another way to tone down very bright highlights is to use the selection tools to select highlights. You can then choose to darken these highlights. This is also tricky. Make sure you have a backup copy of the file, in case you mess up the current one during the post-processing.
3. Editing Color Casts
Color casts are usually an in-camera error. This can be corrected at first by making sure you choose the correct white balance during your photography session. Setting the white balance in your camera is a no-brainer. But before you correct the color cast, make sure you have corrected the exposure first. Once the exposure is fixed, fix the color cast by using the “Color Balance” tool and the “Color Match” tool.
4. Color Editing
Aside from color correction, another easy adjustment you can do is altering the color of your photos. This can range from simply making your photos appear warmer or cooler. You can also mute colors to create a classic grayscale photo. You can also saturate the shades to make the photo more expressive. More advanced photo enhancement includes muting other colors, and making one shade stand out.
Even correctly focused pictures can be enhanced through sharpening to make outlines more obvious and compelling. It is one of the basic photo editing that can be done even with other types of software tools. Just make sure you do not over-sharpen your photos.
There are other basic photo editing techniques, like red eye removal and noise reduction. But make sure you edit your photos to enhance them. Over-enhancement can backfire and make your photos look peculiar. Make sure you save your original files separately from your edited files so that you have something to go back to if the editing work goes awry.