Best Photo Editing App: 8 free apps...
Best Photo Editing App: 8 free apps for Android and iPhone (iOS)

Top 5 Photo Editing Skills to Master

In most cases, a single picture does not capture a scene the way the photographer intended. Thankfully, you have countless mobile apps and image editing programs at your disposal to help you enhance your images. Laptop/desktop software such as Adobe Photoshop will give you the best results. However, you can still use iOS or Android apps. The top five editing techniques you should master include the following.

Cropping and Rule of Thirds

Cropping is a basic manipulation skill, but it is useful in directing your viewer’s attention. It is all about eliminating the unwanted outer portions of a picture. It is simple and can be done quickly. By cropping a photo, you can easily transform your images into ones that look a little more professional.

While cropping, consider the following:

  • Crop to enhance focus.
  • Crop to eliminate details.
  • Crop to change framing/orientation.
  • Crop to alter aspect ratio.

Rule of Thirds involves composition. It’s like superimposing a 3×3 grid at the top of a photo. This is a standard feature in most software editing programs and digital cameras. Rotating is another basic yet crucial skill for editing images. Sometimes, even when you use a tripod, images do not align the way you want. By rotating, you can set the right perspective and remove subliminal distractions. In rotating, consider the following: Landscapes: the horizon in the photo should be horizontal from one end to another. This results in a more professional, symmetrical and cleaner look. Portraits: if your object is leaning on a vertical surface, rotate the image until your object is vertical. 

Applying Masks and Adjustment Layers

To fine-tune levels, saturation/hue, contrast/brightness, etc. without causing destruction, adjustment layers are your best option. They are like overhead projector transparencies. You apply whatever you want on the photo but anything underneath will not be touched. In Photoshop CS/Elements, follow these steps to create your adjustment layer.

  • Click on ‘D’ to reset background/foreground colors.
  • Go to the menu bar and click Layer.
  • Choose New Adjustment Layer.
  • Choose your desired layer type.
  • Click the Enter key or OK.

Correcting Saturation and Color

It is possible for colors to be off, especially when using your smartphone camera. While shooting, the temperature of light can affect white elements and skin tones with a color cast. The good news is this can be solved using small tweaks, especially with the adjustment layers mentioned above. You can get an Auto Color Correction feature with some programs.

You can also do it manually by adjusting:

  • Saturation/hue
  • Photo filters
  • Levels

Sharpening

This should always be your last step while editing photos. It refines small details and edges, hence improving the overall contrast. 

The Unsharp Mask in Photoshop CS/Elements offers precision in this area. 

  • Click Enhance.
  • Choose Unsharp Mask.
  • Adjust the Radius Slider (the higher it is, the more effective it will be).
  • Adjust the Threshold Slider.
  • Adjust the Amount Slider.
  • Keep adjusting the sliders slightly until you find the perfect level of sharpening.

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