Even if you’re not a professional photographer, properly editing your pictures can make all the difference to the quality of your work. Whether you take photos on a mobile phone or a DSLR e.g. Canon or Nikon, the quality boost will increase the attention you get on your Instagram feed or from friends and family. For that reason, we have created a list of six handy tips for stunning photographs - and a bonus workaround for more stylish images. Let’s get going!
1. Crop your photos
What is or what are the subjects of the photo? Once you know that, you can cut back to the interest. Trimming the unnecessary fat is by far the best way to make sure your picture is as good as it can be. Google’s Snapseed does all you could wish including cropping and you can use it on Android and iPhone or for PC. You can either leave a gap around the subject or fill the frame with it – depending on the mood you want to create. If you can’t fit everything of interest in a rectangle or a square, you might need to think harder about how you frame your pictures when you take them. You will also want to think about composition (such as symmetry and balance).
2. Zoom through contrast, light and shade in Instagram
If you have only ever used filters when improving pics in Instagram, you might like to know the quick way to control light and shade in your pictures. From the page with those filters at the bottom, click Edit. Increase Brightness to maximize light in the picture. Bring up Contrast to the point where you can still see details in the dark parts of the photo. Bring up Highlights for further contrast. Take down Shadows again making sure all details in dark areas are visible. Extra tip: moving Warmth helps take account of lighting which can discolor your photo, particularly interior lights which have a reddish cast.
3. Remove the background
Another sure fire way to bring interest to your subject (or subjects) is to isolate them from whatever noisy background they are in front of. Use remove.bg’s online, desktop or workflow tools, upload your image and cut it out in five seconds with no clicks. The online editor also gives you the chance to replace your background with something more exciting and fun. Put yourself in front of Niagara Falls, in downtown Tokyo – even on the moon!
4. Vignette your photos in Snapseed
Lots of people think that vignetting – darkening a selected area of the photo – is only good for creating a ring around a picture. But it can also be used to bring out the area of interest – another reason it’s great to know what your photo is “about” as we talked about in tip 2. To explore, open Snapseed then use the Vignette tool to select the Center Size – which is the area that is going to be edited – and you can make it brighter or darker. Vignetting is useful if you want to bring up the sky to make it brighter or bring it down if it’s overexposed, for example.
5. Use Auto Sync in Lightroom
If you have a number of photos taken in the same lighting conditions – either in a studio or outdoors – use Adobe Lightroom’s Auto Sync feature to make the same changes to several pics at once. To use it, select a photo you are going to work on and use CMD key (Mac) or Control key (PC) to choose the images you want to follow suit. All your edits will be copied to the other photos. You can also use this to make a number of photos black and white all at once.
6. Make friends with shortcuts in Photoshop
There are numerous shortcut keys in what is by far the most popular photo editing program, Photoshop. You can get to most of them in two steps from the shortcut keys on the dropdown menus. Almost certainly the most useful are ‚CMD+C’ or ‘CTRL+SHIFT+C’ to copy or ‚CMD+V’ – or ‚CTRL+SHIFT+V’ to paste. Undoing an operation is ‘CTRL+Z’ and redoing is ‘CTRL+SHIFT+Z’ If you want to program your own shortcuts, press ‘ALT+SHIFT+CTRL+K’!
BONUS! A shortcut to more stylish photos.
Now you have some quick tips, fixes and shortcuts for photo editing, here is a super-quick way to create a stylish look for your photos in a few steps using Photoshop. You can do this with the Brightness and Contrast panel in combination with the Curves Layer.
First, open the photo in Photoshop and go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Move the Brightness setting to +25 and set Contrast to +35. You then want to bring Saturation down to -25 (Adjustments > Hue/Saturation). After this, go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and bring the red down a bit. Push the blue upwards slightly. And then you want a bit more green. Then switch the Blending mode of the Layer to Soft Light..
To create a professional sheen, finish by adding two Solid Color Adjustment Layers. Click New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel>adjustment layer type. The first should be a yellow Overlay with Opacity at 35%. The second Layer is a magenta and you can type ‘f000ff’. Move the Blending Mode of the layer from Overly to Soft Light. (You find this setting in the Layers Panel or in the Layer Style Settings wich you can access by double-clicking onto the layer. ). Et voilà!