With photo editing, it doesn’t take much time to turn those less-than-perfect pictures into something much more. Photo editing programs such as Photo & Graphic Designer are packed with tons of options for retouching pictures. Even total beginners can easily remove red eyes or crop images before sharing them on social platforms such as Instagram. Below you’ll find 5 basic photo editing rules for beginners to help you get the most out of your pictures:
The basic principles of photo editing:
1. Don’t touch the original
You should never edit the original photo. Ideally, you want to create a copy of the original image file, which you can then make changes to in your photo editing program. Leaving the original alone allows you to use it again at a later time to try out different enhancements, brightness settings or types of editing. This way you can create different versions for different uses without losing the original file. (A quick self-promotional tip: All MAGIX programs perform non-destructive editing, so you’ll never lose the original).
2. Sometimes less is more
Making too many changes to a photo can leave it looking unnatural. The picture also loses essential details the more changes you make. If your goal isn’t to drastically alter the picture, then you should try to minimize the number of enhancements you apply. Portrait photos can easily lose their naturalness if you edit them too much. After all, it’s the tiny imperfections in a person’s face that make this type of photography interesting in the first place. And landscapes can lose a sense of atmosphere with too much color correction. It’s important to know when enough is enough. Fortunately, all photo editing programs have an “undo” button.
3. Removing and cutting image elements
It’s often the case that the most interesting thing in a picture is surrounded by elements you’d rather not have in the image. These unwanted elements could be construction cranes, people or dumpsters — anything that draws attention away from the subject of the picture. In this case, you can simply cut the unwanted elements out of the image, which will have a big effect on the way your picture looks. An easy way to do this is to use the retouching tool in Photo and Graphic Designer, which lets you easily remove unwanted objects such as skin blemishes. The way this tool works is by making the selected area look like whatever is around it.
It’s also possible to do things the other way around and cut out an object from an image in order to use it on its own. Doing this lets you create individual images from the elements in the original. The quickest way to cut out elements is to use the “Region Painter tool” to first make a rough selection of the area you want to cut out and then make a more precise selection. You can also use the Shift key while doing this to make a large selection small again.
4. Making small changes to enhance image quality
It’s rare for cameras to capture moments exactly how they look. But with photo editing, you recapture things as they were and even make them look better. Using just the basics of photo editing, you can bring life to colorless, dull and dim photos. Usually the first thing you need to do is increase the brightness; boosting the contrast is also a good way to make pictures more expressive. If doing this causes dark objects to become too dark, you can use a range of clever features — such as adjusting shadows, which only modifies the dark areas of a picture — to make all areas of the image clearly visible. Increasing the saturation makes the colors more saturated and vibrant while also increasing the color contrast.
The important thing to remember is that you should set each option so that it is well balanced with the other tools and features you use. Photo editing might not be natural, but that doesn’t mean it has to look unnatural. Be sure to make frequent comparisons between your edited image and the original — you can easily lose your bearings with all the color effects and options available in photo editing programs. (See point 2) Finally, you can adjust the sharpness to make details in the image more visible.
5. Changing image size and adjusting the resolution
Cutting allows you to make images smaller and place certain elements in focus, as well as remove unwanted objects. An example of this is our header image. If your picture looks blurry after doing this, you can scale it down. Doing this changes the resolution of the image and makes it look sharper.
Experimentation is the rule of thumb — it’s the only way to get the best results for your pictures. Complete information about photo editing with Photo & Graphic Designer, and the other features it offers, is available on our website.