Here’s a quick look at what is photo editing for beginners and how to edit photos like a pro without watching thousands of Photoshop photo editing tutorials. You can choose a convenient photo editing software for beginners, select the most popular photo editing style/s, learn about trending things in digital photo editing industry or just outsource your photo editing. If you are just starting your journey into photo editing, these tips are what you need.
If you want to edit photos like professional photographers and you feel that you can spend some money on the paid photo editing programs for beginners, here are the best softwares to download and use right now.
Most of the professional photo editing tips are aimed at PS. You are free to create absolutely new worlds in Adobe Photoshop by means of its tools. No matter you want to correct white balance or you need to merge several photos, there is absolutely no limit to what you are able to do.
The program is mainly created for the photographers and digital artists. In case you are interested in editing pictures, Photoshop CC will be the best variant.
What is the best photo editing software for beginners in wedding and event photography? Adobe Lightroom strives to become one. It is sometimes used as a substitution of the full-fledged Photoshop (learn more how to get Lightroom for free). If you are just beginning your photo editing way, use this photo editing software for photo correction, namely download several Lightroom presets, experiment, and make beautiful outcomes.
If you aren’t satisfied with the basic editing in Photoshop or are just looking for the alternative to the Adobe products, check Corel Paint Shop Pro. In fact, it is very close in progress to PS Elements. The functions are similar to Photoshop ones, but you won’t find the sharp learning curve. As in the case with Adobe packages, you may benefit from the trial version of this program.
To turn photo editing for beginners into a pleasant work, I suggest finding a simple and effective software. ON1Photo Raw is believed to be a quality tool and, generally, the most serious LR competitor. So, why most users return to well-known Lightroom and refuse to study ON1Photo Raw? It is all about the interface, which looks rather complicated to the inexperienced photographers, so they decide to learn photo editing online in Lightroom. You can use ON1Photo Raw to create astonishing HDR pictures. Due to the special algorithms, the process takes several minutes.
If you searched how to edit photos to look professionally using Photoshop or other programs, you have probably come across Phase One Capture One, which is the basis for the improved version known as Capture One Pro 11. In this software you’ll find lots of useful features:
This program was developed to satisfy the need of the Phase One shooters, so you won’t find any tools to work with design. Still, it can be a serious opponent to Adobe packages.
If you spend some time and look for more paid and free photo editing and creating software, you may find Ulead PhotoImpact and Microsoft Digital Image Suite. They are great for the standard photo manipulations but lack some tools and options if you are interested in more advanced photo editing techniques.
You may feel confused at the beginning of your photography career, as there are more questions than the answers. Still, if you know the basics of the photography, you understand that a quality photo editing software for beginners is very important.
There are lots of variants on the market, so choosing the best photo editing programs for beginners may be a tricky task. There are free software (I’ll show those), as well as paid ones, so judging by your budget you can choose something suitable. Let’s start with the best free photo editor and some basic photo editing tips for working with them.
Some users claim it to be the main competitor of Photoshop. This photo editor was developed and is being modified by the group of skillful volunteers. It is compatible with Windows, Linux, and MacOS, and is the best photo editing software for beginners, who don’t want or simply can’t spend money on Adobe products.
The beginners really like GIMP as it has a very understandable interface. The photo is shown in one window, while all the tools and features are placed in another one. The workplace is rather big, so you can conveniently work with the photo. You will find the Brush and Lasso tools and diverse effects. If you are accustomed to working in PS, it will take some time until you get used to GIMP, though they are very similar. But, you’ll be able to save a significant sum.
Sometimes a standard college project may become a great development. This is the case with Paint. NET. It was initially created as a more powerful replacement of the standard Microsoft Paint, but eventually surpassed its predecessor and became a popular free photo editing and creating program. Together with the standard tools and options, Paint.NET pleases the users with more advanced features and effects.
Though this free photo editing software for beginners isn’t as well-known as the previous ones, it is still very effective with a large selection of tools. Primarily, the interface looks more accessible with the toolbar logically designed. Somehow, it resembles Fotor, but Photo Pos Pro offers unique “novice” layout approach.
There is also the “expert” layout, which was created for more experienced users, who would like to manually adjust layers, masks, curves etc. Though there are some basic options for editing pictures, the main accent is on the fine editing. The program will surely satisfy photographers, who have to improve a large number of shots. Using a Clone Brush, you’ll be able to remove unwanted elements in several clicks.
Photo Pos Pro offers diverse photo editing tools free but it has a significant flaw – the max resolution of the saved files is 1,024x2,014 pixels. So, they won’t look professional in a printed form. Still, there is a paid Premium version for £24.50/US$24.90/AU$41.89 without such a limitation.
At first you may treat PhotoScape as a simple, standard photo editing software, but, in fact, it has lots of valuable options to impress you:
In fact, picture editing for beginners will be incomplete without this program. The main function of this editor is, of course, pictures improvement. However, the interface looks very unusual, or even strange. The toolbar is oddly arranged and some options resemble Ps very much.
Though it is believed to be the best photo editing software for beginners, experienced shooters and retouchers can use it to get wonderful results. The program offers diverse filters to quickly enhance the quality of your image.
If you are searching for the best online editing for photos, Fotor isn’t a full-fledged image editing program. Still, you will get a chance to perform some simple and standard photo manipulations. The biggest advantage is an elaborately organized tool-board. If you aren’t satisfied with the auto settings, you can adjust some parameters, for example, the levels or curves, manually.
Most users really admire Fotor’s batch image editing option, which is very convenient if you are wedding or product photographer. Just in several minutes, you will get your photos edited well, while you may do some other tasks.
You may learn photo editing for free, using Pixlr. In fact, there are several types of this app:
If you are used to mobile image editing, the developer created a special program kit for tablets and iPhones. All the programs are completely free. At first glance, Pixlr resembles PS. You will find the familiar tools to perform traditional picture manipulations. Still, there are some uncommon, advanced options that you will typically find in Pixlr Express. Mainly, you’ll get a chance to enhance your shots, playing with overlays. The result will surely surprise you.
Photo editing for beginners sometimes seems a daunting task, but with the quality software, everything becomes less complicated and frightening. Pixlr developers tried to set the line between mobile and desktop image editor versions. Mostly, people opt for the mobile app, which is simple to use in the browser. Note: Check if your Adobe Flash Player works properly, as you will need it to run Pixlr.
However, if you do not have time to study the basics of photo editing, you can address online portrait photo retouching services like FixThePhoto. For only $5 per photo, you will receive a professional level of photo editing with color correction, skin retouching and getting rid of all imperfections. This is the fastest way to edit photos like a pro.
Simple color adjustments are the basic changes. While looking through the menu, you can find options such as “shadows/highlights", “brightness / contrast”, “curves”, and “hue / saturation” and they can enhance your pictures. All this can be found in any photo editing programs for beginners.
Brightness / Contrast
Among the easiest actions of photo editing for beginners are changing the level of light and shadow, reducing or increasing the contrast. Quite often, it will be enough for you to make small changes in the contrast and brightness settings and your dull and inexpressive photos will turn into breathtaking images. Learn photo editing tutorials to do it fast and skillful.
Auto Color / Auto Levels
Best online editing for photos will let you fix some color imperfections and make your photographs look more natural. If the pictures were taken under the artificial lights, the colors may seem strange but a few simple clicks can improve everything.
Curves / Levels / Saturation / Hue
Changing the Auto Color and Auto Levels refers to manual color adjustment methods. Working with the settings of hues you can improve the color and playing with saturation, you will make the image more vivid. The higher the saturation is, the brighter your photo will be. So be careful not to spoil photos by going too far. Working with levels you can change the three basic colors separately. Curves are used to affect highlights and shadows. Photo editing for beginners doesn’t seem to be a very simple task. So, begin adjusting these settings only if you are sure how to do it properly. When you become a more confident user, take some advantage of these precise and flexible adjustments.
Shadows / Highlights
These options will be useful if you need to darken too bright areas in the photo or vice versa - to make brighter the dark places. Your actions must be accurate and careful so as not to spoil anything. In addition, you must correctly combine the highlight/shadow settings with contrast and brightness.
If you wish to enhance the composition, cropping can be a very useful feature. Sometimes, cutting off only a small part of the picture, you will get an incredible transformation. Quite often it happens that after deleting about half of the image you get a new, completely amazing picture. Photoshop photo editing tutorials advise applying rotation if you need to align different lines with the edges of the photo.
Toning and Desaturating
Among the most important options, I can name the possibility to discolor a photo, in other words, turn it into black and white. According to the photo editing tips for beginners, you can do this in several ways. Some programs allow you to perform this operation using the desaturation function. At the same time, if this option is not available, you need to reduce the saturation using the hue/saturation menu. Some software allows you to get a grayscale by changing the color mode of the photo or you can just use Lightroom presets or Photoshop actions for this purpose.
If you have problems matching the skin tones, you can correct this by the dint of the frequency separation. Watch the tutorial and learn some professional photo editing tips about this photo manipulation.
Dodge & Burn
These two tools are among the most important for your photo editing workflow. My recommendation is to set the new layer to soft light and fill it with gray for 50%. The brush must be set to 5% opacity value. You should use the white brush for dodging and the black one for burning. This kind of photography editing techniques is described in Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it book by Scott Kelbey.
Speaking about toning, it can’t greatly improve the perception of the image. Therefore, if you need to significantly improve the picture, toning is unlikely to help and your skills here are not to blame. Toning only brings a small touch to the already high-quality photo. Remember that using this option you must know exactly what to do. It shouldn’t resemble your attempts to guess which of the hundreds of filters will suit best. It is important for you to have sufficient knowledge of complimentary colors and learn photo editing techniques.
Developing your image editing style is another essential step for any beginner photographer. What style of images attracts you most? What pictures inspire you to create incredible photos? As for me, personally and emotionally filled images attract my attention. It is important to see what story the photographer is trying to convey with the help of the picture.
The further step is to select the photo editing software for beginners and the effects you wish to add - lightness or gloomy and darkness. I prefer light and airy images with slight dark shades. The warm B&W and sepia shades are not among my favorites. However, this is just my opinion. If this is what you need, use the full power of these effects.
This filter gives the impression of a slight haze that appears when applying it to the image. Matte presets are among the best free photo editing downloads. It includes blacks which make the image look as if it was printed on the matte paper.
The sense of this approach is to make the colors of the photo a bit muted. This style is especially popular for editing photos with greenery. The colors in the images of this type look a bit muffled because of the original vibration. The intensity of green, red, and blue is reduced.
According to the tutorials on photo editing for beginners, HDR allows you to get a greater range of brightness than a normal digital image provides. City night shots processed with this effect look amazing, but you can also use it in other cases. If you wish to add color to your image, HDR is the perfect solution. In fact, this effect is the opposite of the desaturation.
Using the effect of one color can look quite impressive after performing photo editing for free.
You can easily discover several masters, who specialize in one or several photo editing styles. Studying their work, analyzing the techniques that they use you will be able to learn photo editing for free. Gradually, you will discover the pattern of photographing and image editing which you will follow and master.
This tip is closely related to the previous two. After you determine what type of image you would like to receive, you should start adjusting the settings necessary to achieve your goal. You must select the appropriate structures, tones, and lighting. This is an important part of photo editing for beginners. For instance, if I need to get dark and moody photos, I should not take pictures in an overly lighted room.
Photo editing is a kind of art that can create real wonders. Using photo editing software for beginners and professionals you are able to improve almost every picture. Changing and improving your photographs, step by step, you will develop your own style of shooting and image editing.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.