Brightness and contrast adjustments

Brightness and contrast adjustments are among the most common functions performed on digital images. Because of this – and because photographers expect to be able to fine-tune these adjustments – most editors provide several ways of making these adjustments.

Resizing and cropping

Resizing and cropping are two of the most basic image editing functions. Both require careful consideration as they can affect image quality. Resizing changes the dimensions of the image, which usually affects the file size (and, thereby, image quality). Cropping always involves cutting away part of the original image and results in some of the pixels being discarded.

The editing toolbox

All image editors provide a workspace with menu bars and toolbars for accessing all the adjustments. Although their layout may be a little different and some tools can be grouped differently in different sub-menus, in essence most of the tools will do similar things.

How to use retouching tools

Retouching tools are provided in all editing software, although entry-level applications may provide few of them and offer limited scope for adjusting them. Most applications apply adjustments with ‘brushes’ that can be adjusted with sliders, usually in a pop-up dialog box that resembles the screen grab below. Brushes can also be set via a dropdown menu in either the menu bar or the toolbox.

Working with layers

Adjustment layers are among the most useful editing functions, partly because they enable you to edit non-destructively but also because you can use the Layers function to select part of an image and work on it without affecting the remainder of the image. The best way to visualise layers is as transparent overlays upon which specific effects are applied.

How to choose an image editor

Although the basic image editor in a computer’s operating system may be adequate for snapshooters, serious photographers require a dedicated editing program. Adobe’s Photoshop is often the first program people think of, however there are lower cost and free alternatives for both photo editing software and workflow applications.

Equipment for editing your photos

In this article we will look at the basic and some of the more advanced hardware equipment you need for editing and printing digital images, focusing on still pictures (not movie clips, which have different requirements). The tools you need will vary depending on what you want to do with your photos.

Creative editing

This article is created to show you some of the ways in which images can be manipulated to add a sense of movement to a subject that is essentially static. Most software applications provide a range of tools, some of which are easier to use than others.

Editing photos

Most cameras come with a software disk containing an image file browser and raw file conversion software. The browser usually combines facilities for transferring images from the camera to your computer with automatic cataloguing of image and movie files. In most cases the new folders created are identified by the date and time of the upload.