Photo Editing Basics: Understanding the Terms and Usage

There is an emotion and an intention to express a sublime thought involved each and every time a Photographer clicks a shot. No matter how hard he have tried to click the right picture, it does not totally satisfy his expectations. There is always a slight incongruence in what he had expected and what the final result achieved. This is the point where the importance of photo editing comes onto the scene.

By photo editing, I do not mean to develop a professional photo editor within you. Basic photo editing techniques and a simple work-flow could assist you to move ahead step-by-step towards your expectations and satisfy your soul. To simplify, here are some of the basic rules which can lead you to click the best picture rather than going back and try to shoot the photo again and again until the best result is achieved.

Basic yet important Photo Editing Techniques you might not want to overlook:

White Balance: Simply putting the color of the light will have direct effect on the colors of the photograph taken. The pictures you take could appear warmer or cooler depending upon the type of light you shoot the picture. Digital cameras do have Auto White-balance controls to get the neutral colors but small amount of photo editing is always required to get the right balance.

Exposure: The amount of light permitted to reach the electronic sensor while taking a photograph is called the exposure which is basically controlled by shutter speed and aperture. Manual settings will get you an accurate exposure but in this case, the photo will always be slightly under-exposed or over-exposed. Fine tuning these images will help you to achieve the ‘ideal exposure’.


Noise: The Noisy image could be the result of smaller camera sensor or higher ISO level of your camera. It appears as a distortion in the image when zoomed in and appears to be grainy. One could control the Noise by using auto ISO feature which automatically increases and decreases the sensor sensitivity. While you can effectively reduce the Noise by editing photo in post-production. It could be done either in Photoshop or Lightroom.


Chromatic Aberration: In simple terms it means, the lens is unable to focus or bring all the colors at same focal point. Different colors have different wavelength and they travel at different speeds through the lenses. This will prevent the colors to fall at same convergence point resulting into Chromatic Aberration. It will definitely reduce the chances of capturing the details of the image. To avoid Chromatic Aberration, avoid taking pictures in high contrast situations. Shooting in a bright sunny sky is believed to cause Chromatic Aberration.


Sharpening: Firstly, not all images needs to be sharpened neither same sharpening effect is applied to all the areas of an image. Sharpening will help in bringing the specific area to the notice that had been blurred or softened to some extent by the camera’s sensor and the lens.

Adding Brightness and Contrast levels: While photo editing, adjusting level of Brightness to some extent can add liveliness to the photo while Contrast effect is generally adds depth to your image. It separates the dark areas from the bright areas adding the depth. It is one of the basic arrangement in photo editing but generally quite effective technique.

These techniques are always useful to enhance your photographs and making them effective to express the thoughts and emotions involved while shooting it. These techniques should be used on the basic level and for complex and advanced photo editing requirements, it would be a good rationale to hand the photographs to the photo editing professionals.

Keeping the above photo editing techniques handy while photo editing can help you to give an extra edge to your photo. Try them to perfect them.