Post-processing, or photography editing, in photography is one of the critical components of getting a better image, especially if you aim to make a name for yourself as a photographer. Photography editing has becoming increasingly more commonplace as the tools and software needed become cheaper and more available — from the latest update in Lightroom to the default filters on Instagram.
Using the more detailed and nuanced tools of higher-end apps like Lightroom (or Photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw, etc.) is obviously more complicated and takes both artistry and skill.
Here are just a few things to remember as you edit your photos:
Camera and lens adjustment
Before engaging in any necessary alteration of your image, it is best to learn more about the camera and lens adjustment. Note that the Calibration panel will include the Lens Correction Tab and the Enable Lens Profile Corrections Options.
To crop a photo is to remove unwanted parts of the picture at the sides and top/bottom, such as a finger, a dark spot or an intrusion due to broad coverage. It can also be used to resize the image and reshape it, as well by changing the aspect ratio, i.e., changing length and/or width of the photo.
An image may be cropped for various reasons, including the accommodation of different formats for publication, or to clarify the point of focus in a wider image. Depending on the app you’re using, you may want to make sure you’re saving your cropped image as a new file and not permanently altering your original!
Vignetting is the process through which part of an image is made lighter or darker than other components, usually with the aim of highlighting the subject of the image. The vignetting range varies across applications; while some restrict it to image corners, others such as Lightroom allow the selective darkening and lightening of different parts of the image.
Shadows and highlights
When photographs are taken, some part of them might turn out brighter (overexposed) or darker (underexposed) than desired. These bright parts are referred to as highlights, while the dark areas are called shadows. Often there will be a “highlight” and/or “shadow” tool to alter these, depending on the software in use. This tip works well on RAW files, and it is useful in balancing your image. It also works well in bringing out important details of an image.
Be careful, though: excessive alteration of shadows and highlights can lead to visual distortion, like grain in an analog photo, or an unnatural purple or green coloration. This phenomenon is referred to as noise in photography.
Adjusting the contrast
This is the process of altering the difference between dark and light parts of a shot. It is used to improve the visual impact which is done by distinguishing the line between dark and light parts of the image. This may seem very similar to changing the shadows and highlight, but changing overall contrast is a subtle but important difference. Mainly, you should remember adjustments to contrast will most likely affect all tones of an image, as opposed to the blacks and whites associated with highlights and shadows.
Adjusting the colors
Color adjustment is another photo editing tip which can make a massive change to an image. It can be used to change the warmth of the image or the level of saturation and hue of specific colors in an image. The most common tool used for this is the saturation tool. Like nearly all the tools at your disposal, you should take care not to go overboard with changing your colors unless you are looking for a specific altered look.
Images will often have components you may want removed from your desired image. This can range from a pimple to an unintended bystander in the photo. Often this removed flaw will need to be replaced by an element which blends perfectly with its surroundings, thus making it seem as if the removed object was never there. It is more effective when the flaw being removed is surrounded by similarly colored features. The most effective tool for this is the “image healing” tool.