Improve Your Photo Image Editing Skills – Part 2
If you want to learn how to edit photos like a professional, you need to start by learning some of the basics and how to use some of the tools and techniques. In this blog post, we will discuss some more advanced and essential photo image editing skills.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to develop and build your skill set and maybe add picture editing abilities to your curriculum vitae or resume to help you achieve your career goals.
You can quickly become an expert at digital picture editing if you practice and follow the right advice. In case you’re just landing here, this is part two of a three-part series. Before you read this one, be sure to read Part 1, or if you prefer, continue reading to learn about eleven essential tips to get you started.
Want to learn how to edit photos like a pro? Follow these steps to improve your photo editing skills and take your photography to the next level with exceptional shots and images.
Introduction: Start With The Basics
In this article, we’ll cover some basic photo editing techniques. We’ll start with composition and how to use the rule of thirds to create more balanced and pleasing images. We’ll also talk about proportions and how to resize an image without losing quality.
To make your photos stand out, we will discuss some advanced tips for enhancing images. We will review how to correct mistakes in digital photography and how to fix common perspective problems.
Editing photos can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be complex and challenging. If you are new to picture editing or want to sharpen your skills, start with the fundamentals and put filter tinkering on hold.
Better Photo Image Editing Skills (Tips 4 -8)
4) Rule of Thirds in Art and Design
The rule of thirds is a compositional approach used in photography and other visual arts that will help you develop a more artistic mindset. As a compositional rule of thumb, divide your image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Any important image elements should be placed along these lines or at their intersections.
This fundamental visual theory will help you create more balanced and interesting compositions, which you can use in either portrait or landscape orientation. When following these photography compositional rules, it is important to keep in mind the placement of the main subject or object in the frame.
This compositional technique can be applied to both photo and image editing. It can be a useful tool in creating more balanced and visually appealing compositions, as opposed to having subjects placed dead centre.
However, it would not work for product photography, as the object is the focus, and creativity is somewhat less important. If there is more happening in your scene, the viewer’s eyes are going to move around. For example, distracting elements, or even unrelated objects, strangers, or excessive backgrounds, risk drawing your consumers’ focus away from the product.
The rule of thirds concept may be easier to plan for and contemplate at the start of any new visual art or design project.
The Golden Ratio
The Golden Ratio is a powerful compositional tool. It is a design principle based on the ratio of 1 to 1.618. The Golden Ratio, dubbed “the perfect number,” can help you create images using a strong compositional technique that will draw viewers in.
This is commonly used to add or emphasise movement in a photograph. You may use it to create a dynamic sensation in your image by inviting the eye to naturally travel around.
Remember that compositional rules are merely guidelines, regardless of whether your image is portrait or landscape. As the range of your artistic vision develops, you will begin to put together images in your own unique style. Perhaps they will end up not following any guidelines at all.
5) Maintain Proportions when Resizing an Image
When scaling your image, it is critical to maintain the width-to-height ratio, so that it does not become stretched or warped. If you need a specific aspect ratio for social media, you may need to experiment with image resizing and cropping.
When resizing an image, it is critical to keep the image’s proportions intact. It is not simply a matter of making your image larger or smaller.
There are several options. To keep the dimensions, crop images with photo editing software. Alternatively, you can scale your image by entering the correct dimensions in the appropriate areas on a website, such as IMG Resizer or Image Optimizer.
When resizing an image, you should retain the original width-to-height ratio of the original image. This ensures that your photographs remain in scale and are aesthetically acceptable. This is essential for social media posts and other networking profiles.
Some of the most common social media image sizes are:
- 1024 × 768 pixels.
- 1080 × 1080 pixels.
- 1280 × 720 pixels.
- 1920 × 1080 pixels.
Because the media size standards for each social media network differ, it is best to check each platform’s individual guidelines.
6) How to Resize an Image without Losing Quality
Resizing images is a common task for digital marketers and designers. In this section, we will cover the basics of resizing images without losing quality.
When it comes to image resolution, there are two terms and acronyms to keep in mind: pixels per inch (PPI) and dots per inch (DPI).
Many people get these two terms mixed up for a variety of reasons. A digital graphic’s PPI may affect the quality of the final, printed image. Second, some professional printing services require images to be at a specified DPI level before they can proceed to print. However, what they usually mean is PPI, not DPI, which adds to the confusion.
DPI is a method of calculating the size of a printed image based on the number of printed dots contained within one inch of the printed image. Many modern printing software programmes feature settings that allow you to choose precise standard sizes (5×7, 11×17, or other) at which you wish to print. When printing applications use DPI to determine print size, increasing the DPI shrinks the printed image while decreasing the DPI expands the printed image.
Resolution refers to the fineness of detail in a bitmap image. PPI is the number of pixels in one-inch of screen space. The higher the resolution of an image, the more pixels there are in a square inch. PPI reflects the quality of an on-screen digital image. If a digital image has too few pixels, the image will lack detail and seem pixelated. More pixels in a digital image mean more detail. It usually has superior image quality and looks better in print or on a screen. The image size of the photo determines the level of PPI.
Contrary to popular belief, high image resolution does not automatically correspond to high image quality. There are other aspects to consider when it comes to image quality. Upscaling a hazy 720p photo to something higher (say, 4k) would not make it clearer or more detailed; in this scenario, upscaling the resolution might degrade the image’s quality and make it muddier.
There are two main types of resizing: upscaling and downscaling. Remember that there is a big difference between scaling down an image and increasing its size.
Most of the time, reducing an image’s size or dimensions will not affect the image’s quality. However, enlarging the original image to larger dimensions can cause pixelation and degradation.
An image can be upscaled while retaining its integrity. Traditional upscaling techniques often take a low-resolution image and then repeat and copy pixels around to fill up space. As a result, photos often end up appearing grainy and blurry.
In fact, rather than trying to increase an image’s size (which is almost never a great idea), it is best to start with a high-resolution image that is larger than you need. Then, simply crop your image or scale it down to preserve its quality.
The process of reducing the size of an image is known as down scaling. In most image editors, you go to Image > Image Size > Resample Image and select one of the options from the drop-down menu. There are several resampling methods available, including nearest neighbour, bi-linear, and bi-cubic.
I usually save my downscaled image files using the bi-cubic preset because it is a common and high-quality rescaling format.
Format: Raster Files vs Vector Files
A file format is a type of machine-readable medium used to store data. It is a method of storing data in a container that a computer can read.
There are many different types of image file formats in use today. Some are more popular than others, but they all have their strengths and weaknesses. There is no perfect format for every situation, so it’s important to understand the trade-offs before deciding on one for your project.
In order to create a visual representation, a bitmap (or raster) image is formed of pixels (points) that represent the colours inside the image. Almost all photos on the internet and in print catalogues are raster images.
The most common raster image file types are:
JPG (JPEG) stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is a raster image commonly used for web images. When saving JPGs from most image editors, you can adjust the file size and quality to achieve the ideal balance. On the web, you want your image files to be as small as possible.
This will help your site to load quickly, but display images large enough to appear sharp and not pixilated. Because JPGs cannot have a transparent background, they are always rectangular or square with a solid background.
Best use: rectangle or square photos and photographs on your website.
Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a raster file format used primarily for simple graphics found online. Each file can support 256 indexed colours from the RGB colour space and up to 8 bits per pixel. The file size of an image decreases with the number of colours and hues it contains.
So images with few solid colours, no gradients, and no natural shading are best served by GIFs. Although GIF files can be used to create basic animations by combining photos or frames, you should not use a GIF for a photograph.
Best use: simple web graphics such as web buttons, charts and icons.
PNG: A raster graphics file format called PNG, or Portable Network Graphics, offers lossless data compression. As a better, non-patent alternative to Graphics Interchange Format, PNG was created. Another raster image format is PNG.
The difference is that a PNG can have a transparent background and is typically larger and of higher quality. Because they can be overlaid on a coloured background, PNGs are perfect for preserving logo files for websites.
Best use: logos, icons and other images where a transparent background is preferred.
TIFF: Tag Image File Format, commonly known as TIFF or TIF, is a larger image file format used to store raster graphics images. Professional photographers and graphic designers use TIFF files because they can incorporate additional data about their physical dimensions, colour space, and pixel depth.
Since there is no quality loss, it is generally used for printing photos. Because larger images take longer to load online, you should typically choose smaller ones like JPG or PNG.
Best use: images and photographs for high quality print.
Progressive and lossy compression are file-saving methods that can help you reduce image file size without sacrificing quality. These techniques are used to reduce the amount of data required to store, handle, and transmit content, which is important for website loading speeds.
Vector Graphics Can Be Resized Without Losing Quality
.ai files are a proprietary vector file format made by Adobe that is only completely compatible with Adobe Illustrator. While you can import them using some other tools, you will often run into issues like layer loss and other inconsistencies.
Generally, .ai files can be renamed to.pdf files and opened as flat images. Creating logos, graphics, and print layouts are among its most common applications.
Best use: creating logos, graphics, illustrations.
Encapsulated PostScript is what EPS files are. For printing high-quality, expertly done graphics, a vector file of the graphic, text, or illustration is required.
EPS are used by PostScript printers and image setters to produce enormous, intricate pictures, such as eye-catching marketing materials, posters that fill a whole wall, and billboard advertisements. It is easily adjustable to any size because it is a vector file. You can reopen and edit an EPS file.
Best use: master logo files and graphics and print designs.
PDF is an abbreviation that stands for Portable Document Format. It is a versatile file format created by Adobe. Regardless of the software, hardware, or operating systems, a PDF file provides individuals with a simple, dependable way to show and trade data. In most cases, a PDF is a vector file.
A PDF, however, can be either a vector or a raster file, depending on how it was initially made. The image type will depend on whether you decide to flatten your file’s layers or keep each one.
Best use: sharing important files, preserving document format, creating a PDF Portfolio, platform-agnostic.
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a vector picture format for designing two-dimensional graphics with capabilities for motion and interactivity, is based on XML. Since 1999, the World Wide Web Consortium has been developing the SVG specification as an open standard.
Best use: web graphics like logos, illustrations, and charts.
Remember that bitmap files are typically photos or screenshots, whereas vector images are typically graphics.
File Naming Convention
A File Naming Convention (FNC) is a structure for naming files that indicates what they contain and how they relate to other files. The process of creating an FNC starts with identifying the project’s core components, as well as the significant differences and similarities between your files.
- Keep file names simple and to the point.
- Avoid using spaces, underscores, or periods between words; hyphens are acceptable.
- Avoid using capital letters.
- Use only alphanumeric characters, for example, abc123.
- It is best to avoid using unusual abbreviations or acronyms.
- Include the file extension at the end of all document and image filenames.
When uploading an image to the web, I usually remove all metadata and place the file in either TinyPNG or Squoosh. Using smart lossy compression techniques, these online resources help reduce file sizes as much as possible.
7) Enhancing Image Quality
With the advent of digital photography, photo image editing skills have become an essential skill for photographers. There are a number of ways to improve your photo and image editing skills, from taking advantage of software features to learning new techniques.
Tools and Palettes
With the advent of digital photography, photo image editing skills have become an essential skill for photographers. There are a number of ways to improve your photo and image editing skills, from taking advantage of software features to learning new techniques.
Tools and Palettes
A tool palette is a graphical user interface (GUI) element used to group special functions in an application. Do not worry if you cannot find your palette. You can organise palettes in most image editing software in a variety of ways.
Make it your own! Take advantage of changing your workspace to improve your editing experience.
For example, most image editing programmes contain various workspace presets, each with its own colours and choices. You can change your workspace by selecting Window from the menu, then Workspace, and then one of the presets.
The palettes within your chosen workspace are highly customizable. You can hide, reveal, reposition, and organise them any way you like. To edit and adjust a palette, simply click and drag its tab. To save your custom workspace for later use, navigate to Window > Workspace > New Workspace.
What Exactly Are Layers?
Layers are a way of organising different elements in an image editing program. You can think of them like a stack of sheets of paper, with each sheet representing a different layer.
You can isolate layers from each other, move them around, copy and duplicate them, delete them, and change their opacity or transparency.
Additionally, you can add a layer style to a layer, which can change its position, colour, or other properties.
When you have grasped the concept of layers, they are a powerful tool that can help you improve your photo image editing skills.
Layers allow you to isolate different parts of your image and make changes to them without affecting the underlying foundation. This gives you a safety net, so you can experiment with different edits without destroying your original image.
Non-destructive editing is the process of modifying a photograph on a separate layer while saving both the edited and original images. This method of working will be extremely beneficial to you because you will always have access to the original image.
So, What Exactly Are Adjustment Layers?
Adjustment layers are a powerful tool in image editing, allowing you to make colour, tonal, and other modifications to your photos without permanently altering the pixel values of the underlying image. Consider an adjustment layer to be a screen through which the underlying layers are visible.
Adjustment layers give you the ability to experiment with different edits and easily revert back to the original image if you’re not happy with the results. Additionally, multiple adjustment layers can be used to fill a layer with either a tone or solid colour, gradient, or pattern, which can be helpful for improving the overall look of your photo. If you’re looking to improve your photo image editing skills, learning how to use adjustment layers is a great place to start.
Remember that you can always change the effect of an adjustment layer without affecting the original shot. This is one of the most fundamental non-destructive editing techniques.
8) Correcting Mistakes
There are several methods for correcting mistakes in photography and picture editing. The main approach is to use the undo command, which allows you to undo previous actions. If you accidentally delete something, you can recover it by using the History panel. Obviously, this is dependent on the file remaining open and how many undos you have set in the preferences.
If you really messed up, go back to your duplicate layer or backup file and start over.
By default, Photoshop offers twenty undo levels or history states per document. The number of undo levels, the number and size of images you’re working on, and the amount of RAM installed all have an impact on your machine’s performance. The options can be found here, Edit>Preferences>General, simply enter a new value in the History States field.
If you are low on installed RAM, consider using a scratch disk. A scratch disk is any fast hard disk drive, USB stick, or solid state drive (SSD) used for temporary storage while Photoshop is running. Photoshop uses this space to store portions of your documents and history panel states that do not fit in your machine’s memory or RAM.
What Are The Definitions of Paths, Selections, Masks and Channels?
As you are starting to find out, popular image editing software are powerful tools for photographers, graphic designers, and illustrators alike.
This section will focus on ways to manipulate photos and some of the more sophisticated terms in relation to Paths, Selections, Masks and Channels.
Paths are, in their most basic form, lines with anchor points at either end. Depending on how you make it, it might be a straight line or a curved line. A Bézier curve is a form of parametric curve named after French inventor Pierre Bézier. Initially used in the automotive industry, it is now used in computer graphics and other industries. Its formula is a sequence of discrete “control points” that define a smooth, continuous curve.
More complex pathways are composed of many segments, each with an anchor point at one end. Once constructed, a path can be selected, moved, and edited using a variety of tools. For example, the path selection tool, allows you to add points such as anchor, curve, corner/rounded, and follow path.
Selections are one of the most fundamental and important aspects of image editing. Selections are shapes that select specific areas of an image, allowing you to isolate and edit a specific area or object without affecting the rest of the image.
Even if you’re not familiar with them, you’ve most likely used selections to select specific elements in a document. Experiment with using all the different selection tools.
Understanding the interaction between light, colour, and how our eyes perceive it is crucial. The functioning of the colour channels will then begin to make sense.
Channels are greyscale images that store various types of colour information representing the image’s colour mode, typically RGB or CYMK, on separate layers. When you open any digital image, you see a grid of pixels composed of various colours on the display. These represent the colour palette, which can be decomposed into colour channels.
There are three different types of channels:
Colour channels are created automatically when you open a new image. The image’s color mode determines the number of color channels created. For example, an RGB image has a channel for each color (red, green, and blue) plus a composite channel used for editing the image. RGB channels, which are used in computer displays and image scanners, approximately follow the colour receptors in the human eye.
The CMYK colour mode is a subtractive process. It is made by varying the amounts of the colours cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). It is expressed as a percentage and is related to printer inks.
Spot channels specify additional plates for printing with spot color inks. For example, if your company uses a specific Pantone reference for a certain colour.
Alpha channels store selections as gray-scale images. You can add alpha channels to create and store masks, which let you manipulate or protect parts of an image.
The alpha channel is a special channel that handles transparency. When an image has an alpha channel on it, it means you can adjust the image’s opacity levels and make bits translucent or totally see-through. The alpha channel is instrumental when you want to remove the background from an image or to create complicated selections. Do not underestimate the power of Alpha channels!
Masks can be generated by the use two types
Layer masks are bitmap images that can be altered with the painting or selection tools and are resolution-dependent.
Vector masks are resolution-independent and created with the pen tool and paths rather than painted with the brush tool.
You can change a layer mask to add or subtract from the masked zone. A layer mask is a greyscale image. The regions you paint in black are concealed, the sections you paint in white are visible. The areas you paint in greyscale are displayed with varying degrees of transparency. Layer and vector masks are non-destructive, which means you can re-edit them without losing the pixels they hide.
How to Correct Perspective in Digital Images
Whether you are an amateur or a professional, perspective is everything when it comes to photography. It can make or break a photo, and it’s something that every creative needs to be able to understand.
What is Perspective?
Perspective is the way in which we see the world, and it is a vital part of photography. Depending on how an object or scene is depicted, obtaining the proper perspective while photographing can be difficult.
The art of depicting three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface in such a way that their height, width, depth, and location in relation to one another are accurately conveyed is known as perspective.
Even if the subject is not in perspective, a photograph can be. When a camera lens is focused on something far away, it makes it appear smaller than if it were focused on something closer.
Foreshortening is a perspective technique that creates the sense of an item retreating dramatically into the background or distance. The illusion of depth is created by compressing the subject to make it appear shorter than it is.
To get a better idea of perspective, you can try taking some pictures of objects at different distances using your camera phone. Then compare the images on your phone and see how the images appear to be different sizes.
Things are not necessarily smaller or larger than they appear in the real world, except in rear-view mirrors. Objects that appear small from a distance usually appear larger when you get up close and personal with them.
When shooting structures, perspective correction is a common technique used to rectify defects in the images. These may have been brought on by the camera’s lens or the placement of the object.
In this section, we will look at a few different techniques for correcting perspective. We will examine how they function in order to help you decide which approach is best suited to your needs.
How To Fix Barrel Distortion and Other Perspective Errors
There are many different types of perspective issues, but the most important one to understand is barrel distortion. This is when the edges of a photo appear curved, and it’s caused by a wide-angle lens. It’s not always a bad thing, but it can be if it’s not used correctly.
Fortunately, there are a few ways and combinations of tools to fix perspective issues in image editing software:
- It is critical that the photo editor keeps the viewpoint in mind; this will often prevent ending up with a distorted photo.
- You can do this by keeping the horizon line in the centre of the frame, which will help you balance the photos while editing.
- If your subject is in the centre of the frame, that’s fine, but keep the rule of thirds in mind as well as the overall composition of the image in mind.
- The first place to start is with the lens correction filter, which is usually found by selecting Filter>Lens Correction.
- You can also zoom in or crop your photo to improve the perspective.
- Another important tip for editing photos is to use the zoom feature. You should use the zoom feature when you are trying to get a close-up of an object. You should also use the zoom feature when trying to take a photo of a group of people.
By following these tips, you will start to see an improvement in your photos and be more aware of potential perspective issues. Keep your eyes open and anticipate the moment, since it is all too easy to miss out on great photo opportunities.
Try not to blink when taking your shot; it is amazing how a simple involuntary movement can result in a blurred image. Remember, all that is required is some time, patience, and a willingness to learn.
As I indicated in Part 1, many people have often told me that they do not know where to start to learn how to edit photos professionally.
As a result, I am hoping that by breaking down this three-part series into smaller pieces would be more beneficial and meaningful. Hopefully, Part 2 has provided you with some useful information you can use.
In Part 3, I will discuss photo finishing techniques, colour and greyscale cards, and product photography for e-commerce. Lastly, there will be a FAQ section in which I will reveal three basic edits you should make to every image.
Understanding nondestructive editing techniques is one of the most important things, as is having a goal, a solid idea, and getting the best photos.
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Thank you for reading.
Note: I am not associated with any of the computer hardware or software solutions mentioned in this article, nor do I favour one over the other.
Adrian Reynolds is a Dublin based abstract artist. His paintings are a response to the world that surrounds us. A world that is changing faster than ever before. His work is an exploration of colour, form and texture, placing his work at the intersection between abstraction and representation. His work has been featured in Ireland, the UK and the US.