Photo Editing Tools and Tips for Beginner Photographers

Photo Editor Tips Easy Explain

The tools available to enhance your photo while editing may seem overwhelming. For beginners, terms like exposure, contrast, white balance and saturation may result in a scratch on the head. If you’re new to photo editing, read on to learn the basics!

After taking a photograph, be it on your phone or digital camera, often times you’ll be editing it.

While photo editing may seem unnecessary, it can really help bring your photos to life! As there are many aspects to photo editing, it may seem overwhelming at first. However, as you learn the different components that can be adjusted and enhanced, you’ll come to realise that photo editing doesn’t have to be complicated!

Image cropping / Ratio

When editing your images, you’re able to resize them!

The orientation of your photograph is something to consider when taking the photograph but it can also be changed while editing. Note that changing the orientation of your images will highly likely result in a zoomed in image.

Be it portrait, landscape, or even square, all images have a ratio. The ratios of the images are viewed as length:breadth.

While square images have a ratio of 1:1, the ratios for portrait and landscape images are often reversed. For example, 9:16 would be for portrait images and 16:9 will be for landscape images.

Photo Perspective

When taking photographs, it is advised for you to follow the rule of thirds. This grid can also help you ensure that the subject of your photograph is balanced.

Rule of Thirds Photography Editing

When editing your photo, you can use the lines to help ensure the subject is aligned and straightened.

White Balance

Having proper white balance helps ensure that the colours in your images are as accurate as possible. The white balance adjustment may also labeled as “warmth” in the photo editing application.

Commonly, when adjusting the white balance, the slider ranges from a blue (cool) to an orange (warm) wash.


The exposure in an image determines the amount of light reflected. You can choose how bright or dim the photo will turn out.

When taking your photograph, exposure should be one of your biggest concerns. When you take an over or under exposed picture, editing may result in “noise” or a grainy effect when you try to balance it.


Contrast is the range of different tones in the image. For example, when you put black against white, you’re able to see how the colours stand out from one another.

When adjusting contrast, you’ll want the colours of your subject to stand out and pop the most.


As the name suggests, the sharpness of an image can make your subject appear clearer.

When talking about photography ‘sharpness‘ refers to an image’s overall clarity in terms of both focus and contrast. When the subject of an image is sharp the image appears clear and lifelike, with detail, contrast and texture rendered in high detail.


Saturation refers to the colour intensity of your photograph.

Increasing the saturation brings out the colours of your image and makes it more vibrant. Decreasing the saturation removes the colour and (eventually) turns your photograph into a black and white one.


The highlights of a photo are the lighter parts (colours) present in the photo.

If there’s a glare in your photo, you can adjust it by increasing the highlights. Decreasing the highlights can also bring these colours out and make them more vibrant.


The shadows of a photo are the darker parts of the photograph. The shadows and highlights can often be adjusted together to achieve a better overall image.

Increasing the shadows will bring out the details in those darker areas. Decreasing the shadows will make these areas even darker.

These are the main tools that you’ll most likely use when editing. Now that you know the basics of photo editing, you can share your images with the world! Let your creativity take over and feel free to experiment with the different tools.

Looking for editing applications to download on your phone? Check out our article listing 5 photo editor applications!





Writer: @furdoors

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