Editing an image can really take it to the next level or fix minor issues you didn’t notice when you took the photo. You don’t have to be a Photoshop master to edit well! Here are five simple tips you can even use on your iPhone to make those images pop!
1. Convert to black & white to simplify a busy photo
This really helps with photos of my kids in the playroom. They have so many brightly colored toys all over the place that sometimes the photo has more impact in black and white. Keep in mind that you can really change the mood of your image by carefully selecting the type of black and white setting. Here’s what I mean. If you open a photo on your iPhone, navigate to the three interlocking circles on the bottom of your screen. You’ll see three black and white settings there – mono, tonal and noir.
Choosing one over another can affect the mood of your photograph since the shades of white, gray and black change depending on the setting you select. Instagram works the same way. If you open a photo in your app, you have the choice of Moon, Willow and Inkwell for b&w filters.
You can see I converted the above image to black and white. There was a lot going on in this image – the green from the trees, blue from dad’s shirt, ivory of the mama’s gown. I chose to simplify by removing the bright colors for more impact.
2. Don’t be afraid of creative cropping…
Cropping is a powerful editing tool that can take a “meh” photo to a stunning image. Some of my favorite photos of pregnant mamas are cropped to show just a slight smile and her round belly. It keeps the focus on her baby bump, and the hint of a smile you see reveals a tender moment. You can imagine the joy and delight she feels, even without seeing all of her facial features. This varies the perspective of an image and adds visual interest. You can use this tip if there is something distracting in your photo (like trees, power lines, other kids at the playground, etc) that you want to remove.
3. …but don’t amputate body parts in awkward places.
This means watch the joints – fingers, toes, elbows, knees and wrists. Cutting off at the fingers, for example, and leaving a partial hand in your photo will probably look strange and wind up distracting from an otherwise good image.
4. Avoid selective color
I know there are probably people out there who would argue this point, but I am not a fan of selective color. This is when an image is converted to black and white (or sepia) and one or two colors stand out, such as pink and blue, to bring focus to a particular portion of a photo. It’s not my style and I personally don’t care for it.
5. If you use filters/presets, learn how to adjust the settings
I can only speak for the settings on my iPhone, so if you use a different device, my suggestions might not be helpful. Once you select a filter for your photo, you can adjust the light, color and b&w settings on an iPhone using its own editing app. Instagram allows you to select a filter and adjust those settings as well.
When you change the settings of a particular filter, you’re exercising creative control over your image. That keeps your photos from looking just like everyone else’s where the same filter is applied. Different is good, right? 🙂
I hope these practical suggestions make editing your photos a little easier!