Guide to Editing Digital Photos

Many cameras carry out a certain amount of editing in-camera without you even realising.  On many of these you can alter a picture to black and white or add saturation (an increase in the intensity of color), or even sharpen the image.  Depending on whether you do this or you shoot in RAW and make those adjustments yourself as photographers often do it up to you.  Shooting RAW does give you the ability to correct lighting issues to a certain extent.

Perhaps the most famous is Adobe Photoshop, which is probably one of the most comprehensive pieces of photo editing software ever produced, and it continues version by version to give photographers great pleasure and pain learning to use it.  In fact, for someone just starting out its cost and the amount that the product can do makes it worth considering it’s cheaper less option heavy cousin Adobe Elements.  The good news for both these products is that Adobe allow you a 30 day trial to practice on these and find out if these suit you.

The major elements that you will want to use are to alter the brightness, the light fill (this fills in areas which are darker than you would like in the shot) correcting the colour balance so that you don’t get strange colour casts and the photo appears the same colour as the scene you took, as well as sharpening the shot or elements of it and introducing extra contrast which gives you blacker blacks and whiter whites, and generally gives your photograph more punch.

When you have an image in front of you, enlarge it to 100%, you can then see if it requires any sharpening, or anything cloned out (the clone tool in Photoshop is really content aware and is easy to get rid of any unsightly marks, etc).   Photo shop allows you the ability to take an individual section and use the quick selection tool and just apply a change to just one small part of the photograph.

Another good way to edit your photographs is using the editing tool that came with your camera.  These are often designed for that particular camera’s set-up and are much cheaper than having to buy software.  These are often very good at removing noise (the discoloured speckles you sometimes get in over-dark scenes).

if you are serious about your photography, then getting a copy of Adobe Light-room is also a very worthwhile investment.  It has noise software which is excellent, and also allows you to add pre-set filters, different forms of black and white, colour, sepia, etc which are very nice indeed.