Photo Editing Tips for Beginners

By Phin Upham

Photo editing is an important part of professional-looking photos. It’s the complicated process of balancing colors, shadows, contrast and everything else that makes up the composition of a photo. After good editing, the photo may look different, or it may just look more vibrant. Once you’ve developed an eye for photo editing, you’ll be able to bring out whatever elements you want in a photo.

Use Editing Layers

A partially transparent black and white layer does a few things. It helps to isolate the colors in your photo, but it’s also an excellent tool you can use to enhance certain colors while muting others. Left as is, with no color adjustment, and you get something that looks almost sepia or classic. Play with color lightness, muting the non-primary colors in your photo, then capture highlights by adjusting the color balance.

Adjust Color Balance

Cool or warm your picture by adjusting the reds and blues in the photograph. Adding more blue or cyan will make the photo appear cooler, with a blue tint to it that helps to highlight natural beauty. Warmth, achieved by adding reds and yellows, can add a more photorealistic tone to photographs shot in the morning. It tends to bring out bright yellows and oranges. Play with both options to determine which is right for your photo.

Dodge and Burn

A dodge and burn layer allows you to manipulate certain elements of the photo by other lightening (dodging) or darkening (burning) your colors. It uses a neutral gray layer in photoshop, lighting or darkening depending on whether your brush is using colors that are plus or minus 50% gray levels. This is especially effective in nature photography, why you can dodge colorful flowers, while burning the blue or grey sky to make the photo appear more vivid and intense.


About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.