Beginner Photo Editing Tips From A Beginner Photo Editor

Editing can bring your photography to life

Beginner Photo Editing Tips From A Beginner Photo Editor
Beginner Photo Editing Tips From A Beginner Photo Editor
Image by Daniel Friesenecker from Pixabay

hotography captures the beauty in this world and editing will bring life and emotion to these captures.

As stated in my article Beginner Photography Tips From A Beginner Photographer, we should all find new joys in our lives right now. We need good vibes and enthusiasm to shine a light on our days.

For me it’s photography. I started with photography at the beginning of the pandemic in march. There is still so much to learn! As a beginner photographer, I’m constantly learning and finding new things that I didn’t know before.

In this article, I explain the tips I would loved to have read when I started out. From one beginner to another, I hope you find this useful and that your new-found knowledge will shine a new light on your photo’s!

Steal all the knowledge

You starting out with photography and thousands of people have started before you. Their knowledge is all over the internet. You can read articles and watch video’s to know what you should practice.

When you know what you should practice, it’s time to practice. You only get better doing the work. Luckily with editing, you can steal all the knowledge locked away in ‘auto modes’ and presets.

  • Auto-tone

Let’s start out with ‘auto-tone’. Software like Lightroom has the option to automatically tone your image. This does a pretty good job on its own. But, what’s even more important. You can see what it does to your photo. While clicking the auto-tone button you see your photo changing and you see your settings changing.

Play around with different photo’s and see what settings affect different kind of photos. Toggle between the before and after photo and really get a sense of what’s happening.

Tip: the ‘/’ button on your keyboard is the short key to toggle between before and after.

  • Presets

A lot of your favourite photographers sell presets. They make them and use them because they make you work faster. Presets can come in a kind of ways. They are relatively easy to make yourself, so don’t splurge away all your money on them. Just find a bunch you like and buy them for learning purpose.

Yes, for learning purpose. I would not recommend presets to edit your photo’s with, because it depends a lot on your photo’s. The seller could have a different camera or lens and the lighting could be way different than in your photo’s. You probably don’t get the same results.

But, you can learn the thoughts behind these edits. That’s where the gold is. You can emerge yourself in the brain of a professional photographer and learn. Look at the settings and what they do to your photo’s.

Use the option ‘Lens Correction’

Lens correction is a tool within Lightroom. It’s the first step you should take with every photo. It fixes problems like distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting and perspective correction.

In the new version of Lightroom, the AI of Adobe detects your lens, because of the metadata in your photo, and applies the right correction. So you just have to check a box that’s it!

It’s really just something you need to know. As a beginner, I would never have found out about this function if I hadn’t heard about it in a tutorial on YouTube.

Straighten a crooked horizon

Lightroom has straightening tools, found in the Crop Overlay tab, which you can access by pressing R. With these tools you can fix what went wrong while taking the photo. Here are 3 options you can use, the first is the easiest.

Automatically Straightening

The best thing is to get the horizon straight in-camera. But I sure fail at that from time to time. How about you? Well, luckily we have Lightroom to fix our problems.

This is the first and easiest method in Lightroom. It does the job 99 out of 100 times. Just click on the auto button and your good to go. Lightroom will automatically straighten the horizon.

Manually Adjust Angle

When you find yourself in that 1 out of a 100 situation where the auto button doesn’t work you can try the manual mode. You have to manually adjust the horizon using the slider. I would advise using the numbers with the slider to adjust it. Simply click the number and use the arrows on your keyboard.

Straighten Tool (ruler)

This is the last option. You can start this by clicking the ruler button. You can then drag a straight line along the horizon. When you release the mouse the horizon will be adjusted.

Crop your photo’s

The content of your photos is even more important than the technical spec’s. You can shoot amazing shots straight up with the camera. But experimenting with the cropping tool shows you so much more options. You also learn how to take better shots, because you can see the cropped versions.

The composition is extremely important, it can truly make or break the photo. For us beginners it’s difficult to acknowledge this in the heat of the moment. Therefore we can crop photo’s any way we like. Sometimes a plain passport photograph can become dramatic or epic when you crop it a certain way.

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