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Essential Photo Editing for Social Media

Essential Photo Editing for Social Media

Photography is one the most accessible and common type social media content across different platforms. Improving your photo editing skills will help you maximize the visual presentation and impact of your photos.

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min read

Dec 29, 2023

Content

Photography

Why Photo Editing is Important

Why Photo Editing is Important

Knowing how to edit photos is as important as knowing how to take them. Social media platforms are a stage where individuals and brands showcase their identity, creativity, and messaging. Photography is one of the most accessible and common types of creative asset shared across brand accounts and individual creators, and simple photo editing skills can help you maximize appearance and audience engagement from any photography as standalone visual assets or within other content types. Quality photography will lead to better engagement, and consistent visual style will build a distinct identity on your social media handle. The impact of a finely edited photograph extends beyond aesthetics; it can establishes a potent first impression for profile photos or prominent brand assets. Photo editing also plays a pivotal role in visual storytelling, helping you communicate ideas and express a clear aesthetic style in your content. For brands or creators with a unique visual style, proper photo editing with consistent methods is an important part of any social content workflow.

What is Photo Editing?

Photo editing is the process of making adjustments to photographs in an editing program. In professional photography, this is sometimes referred to as post-processing or post-production. This process is similar to the function of a darkroom in traditional photography, providing an opportunity to select the most promising photographs for further enhancement. These adjustments include simple changes like cropping and angle adjustments, or tweaks to color and lighting. Modern tools and AI technology has made it significantly easier to complete more complex editing tasks such as complex tasks such as retouching, adding or removing elements, and applying advanced effects. The objective in photo editing is to enhance the photo, correct any flaws, and implement changes that can transform the image to better convey an idea or aesthetic.

Using Professional Tools

In professional photography images are imported into a photo editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or other similar software. Photographers can then adjust various aspects like brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness to enhance the overall quality and impact of the image. They can also manipulate colors, apply filters, and make selective edits to specific parts of the photo. Many consumer apps and social media platforms offer the same capabilities, but should only be used where speed or homegrown aesthetics are an acceptable standard. Photo editing features that are built into social media tools are designed to have utility for the average consumer, and are optimally used for simple changes like cropping and minor lighting adjustments. Instagram filters and other features that make more significant adjustments to your photos should be used sparingly, if at all. If you work in marketing or have the intention of making a photo look better than average, using a professional image editing tool is a better choice.

Photo Editing Apps for Smartphones

A quick and cost-effective way to compromise the quality of your photos, without requiring any expertise in photo editing, is by using low-quality photo editing apps. While Facetune is mostly used by individual consumers, it's one of the more grievous examples of apps which encourage photo editing that often leads to poor outcomes. In the case of Facetune, consumers frequently use this tool to distort and "smooth out" facial details, for an end result that will be less likely to see an engagement boost compared to an unaltered photo. Photo apps which promise to enhance beauty for personal or lifestyle photos should generally be avoided, and consumer trends themselves suggest that the average person is more likely to find an authentic, realistic photograph more likeable. App stores on mobile phones have a large marketplace for photo editing apps, and using less popular apps should be considered after testing widely-used tools with a history of positive reviews. Snapseed is an example of a trustworthy photo editing app with enough capabilities to satisfy the average consumer or content creator.

A quick and cost-effective way to compromise the quality of your photos, without requiring any expertise in photo editing, is by using low-quality photo editing apps. While Facetune is mostly used by individual consumers, it's one of the more grievous examples of apps which encourage photo editing that often leads to poor outcomes. In the case of Facetune, consumers frequently use this tool to distort and "smooth out" facial details, for an end result that will be less likely to see an engagement boost compared to an unaltered photo. Photo apps which promise to enhance beauty for personal or lifestyle photos should generally be avoided, and consumer trends themselves suggest that the average person is more likely to find an authentic, realistic photograph more likeable. App stores on mobile phones have a large marketplace for photo editing apps, and using less popular apps should be considered after testing widely-used tools with a history of positive reviews. Snapseed is an example of a trustworthy photo editing app with enough capabilities to satisfy the average consumer or content creator.

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is a great choice for consumers and professionals who are willing to spend the extra investment in professional photo editing capabilities. Adobe Lightroom offers a robust mobile app with a very simple workflow and extensive features that can be used by photographers of all skill levels. For users who prefer working on a desktop or laptop, Lightroom is also available as part of Adobe's Creative Cloud suite. Adobe Lightroom has various advanced editing features, such as selective adjustments, gradient filters, spot removal, and color grading tools that allow for nuanced color enhancements. Many of these capabilities are relatively easy to use through the mobile app and take seconds to implement. Lightroom includes powerful AI-driven functions like auto-tone, which intelligently adjusts settings for an optimal starting point in editing, and face detection for portraits and group photos. These features make Adobe Lightroom among the most capable photo editing tools available for both professionals and consumers, with a relatively affordable cost.

Adobe Lightroom is a great choice for consumers and professionals who are willing to spend the extra investment in professional photo editing capabilities. Adobe Lightroom offers a robust mobile app with a very simple workflow and extensive features that can be used by photographers of all skill levels. For users who prefer working on a desktop or laptop, Lightroom is also available as part of Adobe's Creative Cloud suite. Adobe Lightroom has various advanced editing features, such as selective adjustments, gradient filters, spot removal, and color grading tools that allow for nuanced color enhancements. Many of these capabilities are relatively easy to use through the mobile app and take seconds to implement. Lightroom includes powerful AI-driven functions like auto-tone, which intelligently adjusts settings for an optimal starting point in editing, and face detection for portraits and group photos. These features make Adobe Lightroom among the most capable photo editing tools available for both professionals and consumers, with a relatively affordable cost.

Destructive Photo Editing

Destructive Photo Editing

Destructive photo editing refers to the process of making direct changes to the original file of a photo, permanently altering its pixels. This is a common attribute for built-in photo editing tools on social media platforms, and one of many reasons to work through professional tools like Adobe Lightroom which will preserve the resolution and original quality of a photograph. Destructive photo editing will generally limit your capabilities for enhancing photo quality and prevent you from having the ability to experiment with different edits or revert to previous versions. The lack of a reversible option means that there's no way to recover the original details and quality of the image, potentially leading to a permanent loss of good photography.

Destructive photo editing refers to the process of making direct changes to the original file of a photo, permanently altering its pixels. This is a common attribute for built-in photo editing tools on social media platforms, and one of many reasons to work through professional tools like Adobe Lightroom which will preserve the resolution and original quality of a photograph. Destructive photo editing will generally limit your capabilities for enhancing photo quality and prevent you from having the ability to experiment with different edits or revert to previous versions. The lack of a reversible option means that there's no way to recover the original details and quality of the image, potentially leading to a permanent loss of good photography.

Simple Edits

Simple Edits

At times, the most transformative edit to a photo can be a simple image crop. Cropping is one the most effective tools in your photo editing arsenal and can significantly enhance image composition. Cropping allows you to remove distracting elements, draw attention to the primary subject, or even add a sense of drama. This subtle but powerful technique can change the meaning of the photograph by changing the photo content and composition.

The simplicity of automatic lighting adjustments is also a smart choice to consider for many creators and brands. Highly-edited photography can be less appealing for some consumers and content which appears genuine or more authentic will often see more engagement from consumers. Tools that automatically adjust exposure, contrast, and shadows can bring out a natural rendition of an image without the need for extensive edits that significantly change the original photo.

At times, the most transformative edit to a photo can be a simple image crop. Cropping is one the most effective tools in your photo editing arsenal and can significantly enhance image composition. Cropping allows you to remove distracting elements, draw attention to the primary subject, or even add a sense of drama. This subtle but powerful technique can change the meaning of the photograph by changing the photo content and composition.

The simplicity of automatic lighting adjustments is also a smart choice to consider for many creators and brands. Highly-edited photography can be less appealing for some consumers and content which appears genuine or more authentic will often see more engagement from consumers. Tools that automatically adjust exposure, contrast, and shadows can bring out a natural rendition of an image without the need for extensive edits that significantly change the original photo.

Advanced Edits

Advanced Edits

Most professional photographers rely on editing software such as Adobe Lightroom for organizing and editing their photography. Photo editing techniques include both comprehensive adjustments to enhance the overall image and specific modifications targeting particular sections of the photo. Below are some fundamental photo editing methods used in professional editing tools.

  • White Balance: Adjusts the temperature and tint to ensure accurate colors in the photo or to create a specific mood.

  • Exposure: Manipulates the image's overall lightness or darkness. Highlights affect the brighter areas, while shadows impact the darker sections. Whites and blacks set the brightest and darkest points in the image, respectively.

  • Contrast: Enhances the difference between light and dark areas of the photo, making darks look deeper and bright colors more vivid.

  • Clarity: This specifically alters the contrast in the mid-tones of your photo. Increasing clarity boosts texture and adds roughness, whereas decreasing it can create a softer, dreamlike effect.

  • Saturation: How much color information is in the photo. It’s similar to vibrance, which heightens the more muted colors in your image without affecting the colors that are already highly saturated.

  • Sharpening: Enhances the photo's sharpness by increasing contrast at the points where light and dark areas intersect.

  • Noise Reduction: Smoothens out "noise," or grainy artifacts, typically resulting from extreme underexposure or high ISO settings. Unlike natural grain, noise is usually seen as an unwelcome element in photos.

Most professional photographers rely on editing software such as Adobe Lightroom for organizing and editing their photography. Photo editing techniques include both comprehensive adjustments to enhance the overall image and specific modifications targeting particular sections of the photo. Below are some fundamental photo editing methods used in professional editing tools.

  • White Balance: Adjusts the temperature and tint to ensure accurate colors in the photo or to create a specific mood.

  • Exposure: Manipulates the image's overall lightness or darkness. Highlights affect the brighter areas, while shadows impact the darker sections. Whites and blacks set the brightest and darkest points in the image, respectively.

  • Contrast: Enhances the difference between light and dark areas of the photo, making darks look deeper and bright colors more vivid.

  • Clarity: This specifically alters the contrast in the mid-tones of your photo. Increasing clarity boosts texture and adds roughness, whereas decreasing it can create a softer, dreamlike effect.

  • Saturation: How much color information is in the photo. It’s similar to vibrance, which heightens the more muted colors in your image without affecting the colors that are already highly saturated.

  • Sharpening: Enhances the photo's sharpness by increasing contrast at the points where light and dark areas intersect.

  • Noise Reduction: Smoothens out "noise," or grainy artifacts, typically resulting from extreme underexposure or high ISO settings. Unlike natural grain, noise is usually seen as an unwelcome element in photos.

Basic Photo Terminology

Basic Photo Terminology

The terminology used in professional photography includes a mix of technical and artistic terms that cover image quality, camera components, editing techniques, shooting methods and other concepts that generally will not be used outside a professional setting. For marketers or enthusiast consumers, familiarizing yourself with photography terms is essential for a deeper understanding of photography.

  • Depth of Field: This term refers to the range of distance within a photo that appears acceptably sharp. A shallow depth of field results in background objects close to the subject appearing blurry, while a deep depth of field ensures objects in the far background remain in focus.

  • Dynamic Range: This is the range of light and dark tones a camera can capture, from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights. Unlike the human eye, cameras often have a more limited dynamic range, rarely capturing pure blacks or pure whites.

  • White Balance: In digital photography, this process adjusts colors, particularly white, to appear more natural under different lighting conditions, which can otherwise cast blue or yellow tints.

  • Focal Length: Measured in millimeters, this is the distance from the lens's optical center to the camera's sensor. It plays a crucial role in how images are captured.

  • Aspect Ratio: This is the proportional relationship between an image's width and height. Common aspect ratios include 3:2 and 4:3, with smartphones typically using a 4:3 ratio.

  • Bokeh: Originating from the Japanese word for 'blur,' it refers to the aesthetic quality of the blur in the out-of-focus parts of an image, often used in portrait photography.

  • Overexposure and Underexposure: These terms describe the result of too much or too little light reaching the camera sensor, leading to photos that are overly bright (overexposed) or too dark (underexposed).

  • Composition: This involves the arrangement of elements within a photo. Techniques like the rule of thirds guide photographers in creating a balanced composition, which can be further refined in post-production through cropping.

  • Post-Production/Post-Processing: The stage of editing and enhancing photos using software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, including tasks like cropping and color correction.

  • Raw Files: These are unprocessed, uncompressed image files that retain all data from the camera sensor, making them ideal for archival purposes but often too large for web use.

  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): A format used for storing high-resolution raster graphics. Unlike JPEGs and PNGs, TIFF files are often preferred for their ability to maintain high image quality, though they can be converted into other file types.

The terminology used in professional photography includes a mix of technical and artistic terms that cover image quality, camera components, editing techniques, shooting methods and other concepts that generally will not be used outside a professional setting. For marketers or enthusiast consumers, familiarizing yourself with photography terms is essential for a deeper understanding of photography.

  • Depth of Field: This term refers to the range of distance within a photo that appears acceptably sharp. A shallow depth of field results in background objects close to the subject appearing blurry, while a deep depth of field ensures objects in the far background remain in focus.

  • Dynamic Range: This is the range of light and dark tones a camera can capture, from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights. Unlike the human eye, cameras often have a more limited dynamic range, rarely capturing pure blacks or pure whites.

  • White Balance: In digital photography, this process adjusts colors, particularly white, to appear more natural under different lighting conditions, which can otherwise cast blue or yellow tints.

  • Focal Length: Measured in millimeters, this is the distance from the lens's optical center to the camera's sensor. It plays a crucial role in how images are captured.

  • Aspect Ratio: This is the proportional relationship between an image's width and height. Common aspect ratios include 3:2 and 4:3, with smartphones typically using a 4:3 ratio.

  • Bokeh: Originating from the Japanese word for 'blur,' it refers to the aesthetic quality of the blur in the out-of-focus parts of an image, often used in portrait photography.

  • Overexposure and Underexposure: These terms describe the result of too much or too little light reaching the camera sensor, leading to photos that are overly bright (overexposed) or too dark (underexposed).

  • Composition: This involves the arrangement of elements within a photo. Techniques like the rule of thirds guide photographers in creating a balanced composition, which can be further refined in post-production through cropping.

  • Post-Production/Post-Processing: The stage of editing and enhancing photos using software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, including tasks like cropping and color correction.

  • Raw Files: These are unprocessed, uncompressed image files that retain all data from the camera sensor, making them ideal for archival purposes but often too large for web use.

  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): A format used for storing high-resolution raster graphics. Unlike JPEGs and PNGs, TIFF files are often preferred for their ability to maintain high image quality, though they can be converted into other file types.

© 2024 Hypersonic LLC

3867 N Palmer St Suite 211, Milwaukee, WI 53212

© 2024 Hypersonic LLC

3867 N Palmer St Suite 211, Milwaukee, WI 53212

© 2024 Hypersonic LLC

3867 N Palmer St Suite 211, Milwaukee, WI 53212