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Discovering some of the easiest ways to professionally edit your photos will not only improve your photo's outcome, but the quality of your photography as a whole as well.
From simply trying out different editing software to better understand their strengths, to using layer masks, toning the image, and using the healer brush, these tips will help perfect any of your photographs, in the most professional manor possible. And most importantly, in a quick and easy way.
Try multiple editing softwares.
Of course, Adobe Photoshop is always a great software to master, but if you're looking to first get into perfecting your crafting with editing, trying out multiple softwares is a great way to go.
As one of the best ways to professionally edit your photos, using other software like Lightroom, PhotoDirector, or DxO OpticsPro would be a great idea, this way you have options to explore. Plus, if you manage to learn the basics of each of these programs, then you'll be more inclined to discover the pros and cons of each, and use the software for your own strengths.
Use shortcut keys.
For any software you choose to learn on, there are plenty of shortcut keys to learn, much like you learn along the way for simple usage of your laptop, like command+C for copy or command+V for paste.
Using shortcut keys with your editing software is one of the best ways to professionally edit your photos, for not only quickness, but for more accuracy. Some of the best shortcuts for Photoshop are Ctrl-Alt-Drag Selection to make a copy of selection when you're not in the Move tool, and Shift-Arrow Keys for the Move Selection.
Customize your workspace.
To make your editing software your own, and to become more comfortable with editing, you can customize your workspace. Instead of constantly working on the default Photography Workspace that might not be suitable for your work, customizing your workspace is quick and easy.
Adjust the panel layout as well as the Photoshop interface. Play around with the settings, and make sure that your default is the most proactive for your editing style, especially for beginners. This way, you can start with a workspace that is best suited for you.
One of the simplest ways to professionally edit your photos, but not something that people would automatically go to, cropping your photos might be the best option for professional looking results.
Definitely something that photographers of any skill set can do, simply select the Crop Tool, and crop to your liking. To take it one step further, you can even adjust the menu presets, if you're someone who often uses the crop tool with your images.
Use layer masks.
As one of the first thing that people learn when discovering the opportunities that photo editing will bring is learning layer masks. Layer masks can aid in toning and adding effects to the photo.
This can include toning, dodging, and burning part of an image, all used on different layers, to create the overall image adjusted in the correct places, rather than applying the adjustments to the entire photo. This is something you want to incorporate into your editing right off the bat, and is often used to adjust the background first, and work from there up.
Use the healing brush.
The healing brush will be your best friend when it comes to quick and easy fixes, as one of the best ways to professionally edit your photos. This can be used in replacement with the spot healing brush, because you can use the source points with the healing brush.
This can be used most commonly with imperfections on the skin, like blemishes or redness, as well as any distortions in the background that might be distractions. So really, it can be used with any type of photography, no matter the size or shape of the unwanted details.
The dodge and burn features are your friends.
Much like we stressed in our layers tip, using the doge and burn features is something that every photo editor should take advantage of. These two features will allow you to shape the light to your advantage, which has a lot to do with the quality of any photograph.
As any photographer knows, lighting is key to any photo, but you can also always alter it in post-production. When starting this process, the dodge and burn tools will allow you to curve the layer set to a brighter exposure as well as a darker exposure. The best way to master this is to play around with the features.
Adjust the highlights of your photos.
Using curves to your advantage will alter the highlights in your image. As one of the best ways to professionally edit your photos, adding contrast with the curve adjustment layer is a great way to make any image look professional.
You may crush the highlights so that the image's tonal range will be reduced by bringing the top point down a bit and adding a second point close to it. But really, this is all preference, and it's important to try some trial and error processes to better find your preferences for editing.
Flatten the image in raw.
Flattening the image is one of the best steps to solidify the foundation of your photograph. Simply open the image in Camera Raw to adjust the temperature or exposure. Then, set the highlights slider between -30 to -80.
Then, set the shadow slider between +30 to +80. This allows the image to look flat, with similar tones throughout the image. This way, when you open Photoshop, you will be able to tone the image with the best amount of contrast.
Try it in black and white.
To complete our list of the best ways to professionally edit your photos, we're going to leave you with a simple tip: try changing your photograph into black and white.
Black and white photography is very popular, and takes a bit of practice to perfect, but is definitely something that is well worth giving a shot. And as a professional tip, trying your photography in black and white will work, or it won't. But when it does, it will transform a photograph.