At first glance starting to edit photos will not seem very easy, and you may not be sure where to start. No matter how user-friendly the editor you’re using may be, it is bound to be overwhelming for any beginner.
While you could look online tutorials and how-to guides, most tend to assume a certain level of experience. Instead of that, your best bet if you want to start editing photos easily is to try using some of the easy yet powerful tools that are in most photo editors:
By cropping your photo you can not only remove parts of it, but actually reframe it and improve its composition in the process. If you want to take full advantage of that you should use it in tandem with a basic composition technique such as the rule of thirds – to decide which parts to crop.
Straighten, level, or rotate tools
Some editors may have a specific tool to straighten or level photos, or others may roll it into the rotate feature. Regardless of which yours does, the basic idea is that you can use one (or all) of these features to straighten your photos if they are slightly tilted.
Automated color or white balance tools
In most editors nowadays there are automated color or white balance tools. While some operate in different ways, the goal of these tools is to improve the colors that may be a little bit off due to the lighting conditions.
To adjust the colors further however you will want to experiment with the manual color settings. That can be a bit more complicated, but you can try adjusting settings like the brightness, contrast, exposure, shadows, highlights, hue, and saturation to see what each does.
As its name suggests, the sharpen tool will try to find edges in your photo and make them look sharper. However if you sharpen your photo too much (i.e. with too much strength or too little tolerance) it will reveal lots of grain which will not look good.
In short you try to use it to only slightly sharpen blurry photos.
Clone stamp tool
The clone stamp tool does what it says it does and will duplicate (i.e. clone) part of your photo so that you can paste (i.e. stamp) it over another part. It is very useful, and is one of the main tools that are used to touch up photos and remove or cover up unwanted elements.
Not only are all the tools described above easy to use, but they can help you to make dramatic improvements to your photos. More importantly as you start to use the tools listed above you’ll become more familiar with your editor – and with editing in general.
That experience is worth more than anything else, and it will help you to get into photo editing more easily – especially if you experiment with some of the tools as outlined above.