Smartphone camera keep on getting better. Are you surprising yourself with the quality of the images you’re getting? Perhaps it’s time to start playing around with editing to enhance your great results for a perfect pic. If you’re still new to all this and haven’t gone beyond using the “auto” function on the photo editing software that comes with your smartphone camera, it’s time to get a little more creative. Whether you’re hoping to use your images professionally or just want them for your personal social media pages, a little smart editing can make all the difference.
1. Focus Attention on the Subject
Ask yourself where you want attention to be. Are there distracting elements that don’t contribute to the composition? For example, you got a great portrait of a person, but the background doesn’t contribute. “Remove background from picture” may be beyond the reach of your built-in software, but free tools offer a solution. Lift your portrait from its unappealing setting and place it on any background you prefer.
2. The Most Basic Hack: Crop
Are there miles of ground and acres of sky between your focal point and the edges of your picture? It may not be a bad thing if the setting is an important part of the image. However, if the main feature is getting lost in the image, cropping can help to focus the viewer’s attention. Try not to crop too heavily as you will lose resolution in the process. Always cropping heavily? Try moving in closer when you take the shot.
3. Light and Saturation
Adding light to an image can reduce a “muddy” appearance, but it will also lighten your colours. Saturation can help to brighten them again. While oversaturation can be a mistake, you might use it to make a statement, for example, in a photograph of green fields and flowers.
Sharpening images can be helpful, but beware oversharpening that results in very sharply outlined objects. Even with the best tools, oversharpening leads to a grainy look and you may see white lines around the edges of objects. If an image is very out of focus, sharpening it won’t produce the desired result, so start with a well-focussed image to limit the need for tweaking.
5. Adding Filters
The filters that we can use to change the look of a picture may seem like a new development, but professional photographers have been using them for decades. However, many of the basic filters have become overused, resulting in a cookie-cutter look that becomes all-too-obviously altered. Use them conservatively and gain access to higher quality filters by moving beyond your phone’s preinstalled photo editor.
6. “Beauty” Functions
There’s been something of an outcry against the overuse of “beauty” filters and edits. People are increasingly aware of over-smoothing that leaves skin looking unnaturally smooth and poreless. Overly large eyes and plumped lips are also giveaways. If you use this type of feature, try for a look that’s as natural as possible – slight improvements on nature may pass muster, but drastic transformations show, often prompting ridicule.
Minimalist Editing is First Prize
Tweaking an already-good image can make it look superb, but overworking generally shows up somewhere along the line. You can’t turn bad images into good ones just by editing them, so get to know your smartphone camera settings and get your images as close to perfect as you can at the moment of taking them. If you need a few little adjustments to perfect them afterward, that’s fine, but if your image is already poor, editing won’t save it. Try again! If your results are consistently poor, you may need to look at getting a new smartphone.