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Top 5 Photo Editing Habits for Great Results

July 19, 2017 Photography Stev Harper

top 5 photo editing habits

For anyone that offers photo retouching services, it’s important to know what photo edits are actually beneficial. Each photograph is different but there are some common techniques that photographers use in their work. These time-tested habits can be used by anyone to improve the quality of photos. These are the five habits that photographers use today in their editing. Keep in mind that most editors are using Adobe Photoshop for their editing work.

1) Add a -15 Vignette to the Photo

This is a change that can be done easily in the effects setting and is a subtle way to make photos appear more intense and interesting. Take the vignette down -15 in order to darken the edges of the photo, effectively guiding the viewer to the center of the photo. This is a good tip to use in any type of photo where the goal is to draw the attention to the middle of the photograph. If the photograph is a darker shot, add a +15 vignette which will lighten the corners. This technique is simple but is great for photos that have specific subject matter and focal points.

2) Use a Filter

A graduated filter adds a certain amount of weight to the bottom of the photograph. Not every photo has a clear top and bottom and it’s easy to get lost in a photo that doesn’t appear grounded. One simple change that can be made is slightly adding a little more weight to the bottom of the picture. Use a graduated filter and start by setting the exposure to -33 or similar. Then use the tool on the bottom half of the photo. This subtle change probably won’t even be noticed by viewers but it will add density to the bottom of the photograph and ground an image effectively.

3) Adjust Vibrance and Saturation

Most people like their black and white images but they’ve lost some of their richness in today’s digital age. While almost all editors know how to quickly change a color photograph to a black-and-white version, this change may cause some losses in the tone. Instead of just making this one change and moving on, adjust the vibrance and saturation settings in the photos. Set both of these to -75 in the basic editing panel and the image will still be monochrome but have a slight pop of color which adds to the life of the photo. Any black-and-white photos also benefit from some contrast so try adjusting the clarity to 50 initially.

4) Focus on Vibrance not Saturation

Rich images can be difficult to obtain and often involve a fair amount of trial and error in the process. Skip the stress and focus on the vibrance of the photo rather than the saturation settings. This editing tip is a common habit because vibrance works better work cool tones like blues or greens. Saturation is effective with warm tones like reds or yellows. Any skin tones are going to look bad if you focus on saturation settings so you can adjust this small amount, like 10 while adjusting the vibrance to 20 or 30. This is a good habit to use on any photo-centered shots.

5) Use Spot Removal

Everyone has some blemishes and it’s actually a mistake to remove them completely. In the original days of photo editing, photographers would cut out birthmarks, moles, and any other “imperfections” in their photos. However, people today consider these to be unique aspects of personal photography and tend to want to keep them. The best habit to use with any blemishes, especially ones that stick out, is to use a spot removal tool to soften any blemishes. Set the brush to the Healing Tool instead of the clone for a fast result. Also, using 80% opacity is going to leave a hint of the blemish for a realistic effect while helping to create a more visually appealing image.

These are some of the tried and true habits that every Photo editing service providers use today in its daily work. Editing photos seems like a challenge but there are tricks and tips of the trade just like there are in any other profession. For early editors or ones that simply want to improve their craft, try including these habits to create interesting and vibrant photos. These simple changes can save a lot of time and effort.


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