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Photo Editing

how to enhance an image...

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Before editing an image:

  • How the image will be viewed? (screen or print). This will affect photo's color mode, resolution, etc.
  • What is the purpose of using this photo? (background, cover, etc)
  • Do you need to emphasize a part of it?

Whether you are working with your own photographs, or you sourced them elsewhere, it is in you power to make them look their best.

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Crop
  2. Blur to focus attention
  3. Remove unwanted objects
  4. Adjust colors
  5. Adjust brightness and contrast
  6. Remove digital noise
  7. Sharpen
  8. Frame / border

1. cropping

By cropping a photo we can remove background clutter and focus the viewer's attention on the object of interest.

Feel free to crop your image to whatever shape or ratio that woulf emphasise your subject best.

A good rule of thumb when cropping is to follow what’s known as the rule of thirds. This technique imagines that your photo is divided into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, with four lines (two vertical, two horizontal). The four points where those lines would intersect form guidelines to place your focal point, or the most important area of your image.

While you are at that - straighten the horizon line if you have it in your photo.

Rule of Thirds

Perhaps the most well known principle of photographic composition is the "Rule of Thirds".

The principle behind this rule is to imagine breaking an image into thirds.

There are four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in - the intersections of the grid lines.

It also gives you four lines that are also useful positions for elements in your photo.

You should position the most important elements in your scene along these lines.

2. blur

Use a digital blur to lessen the impact of distructive unimportant features. Leave your main subject in sharp focus.

Use Gaussian Blur filter or Blur tool.

3. remove unwanted objects

Most graphics programs now offer a "clone tool", or more advanced equivalents such as Photoshop's Patch Tool and Healing Brush. These can be used to copy one area of a photo and place it over another area.

4. colors


A photo taken inside which comes out with an orange tint, or an outdoor photo with a blue tint (this effect is caused by something known as colour temperature).

We can correct for this tint by using digital filters to apply either a blue (cooling) or an orange (warming) filter to counteract the colour tint in our scene.

Remember: most images shouldn’t need filters. Try to only apply one if you’re trying to achieve a specific effect.


5. brightness & contrast

6. remove noise

Some images may have a lot of noise, which causes them to look grainy. You can compensate for this by reducing the image noise, as in the example below.

When you apply noise reduction, you're actually removing information from the image. Because of this, it's important to use this feature carefully to avoid removing too much noise, which can cause blurriness and a loss of detail.

The goal of noise reduction is not to completely remove all noise from the image; instead, you're just trying to make the image look cleaner and clearer.

When using this tool, you'll be able to control several settings, including:

  • Strength: This setting controls the overall level of noise reduction that will be applied. We recommend starting with this setting at the maximum value (10) because it will make it easier to see the effect the other settings have. After you've adjusted the other settings, you can decrease the strength as needed to get the desired amount of noise reduction.
  • Preserve Details: This determines how many details from the original image will be preserved. If you use a value that's too low, the image will lose a lot of detail. However, anything too high will cancel out the effects of noise reduction. You'll want to experiment with this setting until you're satisfied with the result.
  • Reduce Color Noise: Sometimes noise will look like small patches of individual colors, which is known as color noise. Increasing the Reduce Color Noise setting will help to reduce this. However, taking this setting too high can cause the different colors in your image to bleed together, so we recommend using a relatively low value for most images.
  • Sharpen Details: Reducing image noise also causes the image to lose some sharpness. This setting allows you to add sharpness back to the details of the image. However, just like with Preserve Details, this can cancel out the effects of noise reduction, so be careful not to set it too high.

7. sharpen

  • Amount: The amount determines how much sharpness will be applied. The amount you'll need depends on several factors, including the overall image size, so it's good to experiment with this setting.
  • Radius: The radius controls the size of the details that will be sharpened, so it's generally best to use a very low value for this setting. We recommend a radius between 0.3 and 0.5 for most images, although you may find it useful to use a slightly larger radius (between 1 and 1.5) for higher-resolution images.
  • Threshold: Sharpening tends to make image noise more visible. Increasing the threshold can help to reduce this by telling the unsharp mask to ignore certain parts of the image. However, this can also mean that different parts of the image are not sharpened consistently. This is why we recommend keeping this setting at 0 most of the time, unless the sharpening is creating a lot of extra noise.

8. frame it

Like actual picture frames, you hang on a wall, framing images in design is traditionally used to draw attention to the image.

A plain black or white border around an image can really help to enhance the photo's impact, and give it a more professional look. A simple border adds contrast between your image and the background.

Avoid patterned or overly complicated borders at all costs; they just look tacky.