You have a digital image. You want to enhance or retouch it. The processes involved here are collectively called as ‘Photo Editing’. A photo editor facilitates the editing of an image which can be used for different purposes. However, the editing process is complex and goes just beyond changing the image’s appearance.
You may manually apply filters on the image or take the help of specialized software for editing. You can also edit pictures in offline mode on actual snaps. The digital image editing process comprises of manipulating the photo, post-processing, applying tweaks and filters with Photoshop, and enhancing the aesthetic aspects of an image.
Various Photo Editing Techniques
You can use different image editing methods which varies according to the levels of complexity. Simple editing can be done quickly and involves making minor changes whereas complex digital editing would need your familiarity with various tools of specialized software like Photoshop. Hence, you have to train yourself and with experience, you would gain more insights.
The various methods involved in simple editing of images include:
- Reduction of noise through downsizing of pixel size for making the image appear smooth
- Balancing the white i.e. the lighting exposure of the picture
- Contrast balancing wherein higher contrast increases sharpness or crispiness of image and lower makes it duller
- Balancing image’s overall lighting exposure or brightness
- Rectifying flaws induced by impropriety of camera lens adjustment
- Adjusting the colors of various elements of an image
- Adjusting the image’s dimension through resize and crop functions
- Removing the background for focusing the spotlight on subject; useful in product promotion drives
However, advanced photo editing techniques typically involve:
- Extraction of the subject from the image by clipping paths
- Correcting portraits by fixing complexion of subjects in the picture
- Creation or adjustment of shadows and reflections
- Adding special effects such as blue sky, animation, snow or depicting different weather types
- Adding text overlays and visual impacts or manipulating them
- Seamless stitching of 2 different images in a continuous and coherent manner
- Masking specific image portions or adding new layers
- Changing the basic entity of the image through different techniques
Photo Editor: The Concept
A photo editor can indicate two things. The first is a software for editing pictures and the second an image editing artist. Various editing related needs can be automated with different tools. You can use different software out of which some are free while others come at a price for automating monotonous tasks like path clipping.
For amateur attempts, you can save time with automated editing tools. When you outsource the editing tasks, you would want the vendor’s artist to attentively edit the images by hand. The vendor can engage the services of a freelancer or deploy an in-house artist for editing tasks. Not only a photo editor, but a digital artist, graphic designer, or art manager can also edit the images.
Like a photo editor, your duties would be defined by the company that engages you or the industry to which you are catering. If you are hired by an e-commerce brand, you would be required to refine the images of products for listing on site. You would also be beautifying lifestyle images to be used on the site. If you are engaged by an agency, you would have to render services based on customers’ unique needs.
The choice of the best photo editor is subjective. If you are comfortable working with particular software, that is best for you.
Some of the popular yet free Photo Editors for image editing are:
- GIMP which comes with many useful editing tools that compete with Photoshop tools
- Photoscape X that allows adjusting images and effects quickly
- Darktable which is often used in the post-production stage for editing raw images in non-destructive mode
- Fotor which provides many quick edit tools in online mode
- Pixlr X which is often preferred by eCommerce sites for quickly and effectively editing product shots
Some of the professionally used Photo Editors which are not free are:
- BeFunky which offers many useful editing tools but for a price
- Adobe Photoshop which is the most popular raster graphics image editing platform
- Adobe Lightroom which facilitates manipulation and organizing of images
- Luminar which is available for both Mac and Windows version
Avoiding Mistakes While Editing Images
You need to be wary of common mistakes that might occur during image editing. Also, you must update yourself with proven practices for editing images. Start with the basic tools before migrating to complex ones and make sure to use the fundamental editing tips in most cases.
The photo editing mistakes should be treated at the outset else you run the risk of ruining the elegance of edited image.
Some of the best practices that you must follow while editing to avoid mistakes are discussed below.
- Extensive editing is not needed for all images; just crop or scale and it would be good to go
- Never go overboard with effects; for example, too much contrast can make the image glary
- Before discarding an image, crop and save those parts which can be useful in other cases
- If images are blurred, use them for landscape effect through proper cropping
- Never overuse the shadows when creating a vignette effect for images
- It is desirable to use light shadows in the 40/100 ratio
- When the shadow is overdone, the image assumes a faded look of vintage photo
- Always reduce the size of images meant for uploading on the web
- Good quality images of smaller size can be uploaded and searched online easily and quickly
- Abstain from altering images too much with special effects
- If the face of the subject is scarred or wrinkled, apply minor corrections to make it visually pleasing
- Choose sober colors and softer hues
- Too much color or brighter colors can distract the viewer and spoil the image’s look
- You may use watermarks for copyright protection but if the image’s integrity is adversely impacted, avoid them
- Excellent images must be distraction free; opt for professional service when inserting watermarks
- Apply sharpening effect on vintage images which have been duly edited and keep the zoom level to 100%
It is advisable that you go for outsourcing photo editing needs to professional service providers if the images have to be used commercially. For spectacular results, you must pose trust on the experience of the seasoned image editors.
Use of Image Editing in Industries
Many industries are outsourcing image editing requirements to monetize on the commercial value of edited pictures for promoting their business. To enhance the brand value and make your brand’s presence felt, you also need to invest in proper advertising techniques. This holds true for start-ups and renowned brands alike. The edited images are being widely used in all types of marketing campaigns and promotional touch-points.
For staying competitive, a business has to keep pace with trends. If images used in advertising are of inferior quality, they must be edited to ensure that the desired impact level is achieved. Superlative quality images can be a decisive factor in marketing campaigns. Now, we will take a look at the major industries which use photo editing.
- High-quality images of apparels are a must for attracting customers
- Image backgrounds which distract and make one lose interest are removed while editing
- The focus on the accessories can be made more intense
- Mannequins are also removed with expert image editing
- The electronic components are displayed in a clear and descriptive manner through edited images
- Features and advantages of products can be tantalizingly showed to prospective customers
- Edited pictures are used for promotion through online sites, catalogs, brochures, etc.
- The images are deployed for highlighting the unique value proposition of vehicles
- With image editing, blurred and unattractive backgrounds are replaced with cheerful ones
- As the appeal of images increase, better sales are triggered
Real Estate Industry
- The expectations of customers from properties are reflected through tastefully edited images
- Raw footage of properties are edited and backgrounds are inserted to make them appealing
- Corrections of perspective, enhancement of HDR, replacement of sky, etc. are done
- Images are edited to induce interest in hot fashion and sell costly fashion merchandise
- Highlighting of makeups, facials, costumes, contours, etc. are eclectically done
- Images used in books are made clearer and quality is enhanced
- Images are edited for publishing in academic literature, magazines, newspapers, journals, etc.
In the aforesaid industries, any apparent mistake in the edited images can ruin the game for them. If you are expert in capturing snaps, you should focus on that as image processing can be a tedious affair. You can easily get most beautifully edited images if you outsource the editing process to a renowned company. Before outsourcing, you need to factor in a few points which are discussed below.
How To Optimally Outsource Photo Editing Task?
You may be outsourcing the image editing process for the first time or you may be looking to replace the present vendor with a more proficient one. In any case, your focus should be on reaping maximum benefits from outsourcing.
The advantages of outsourcing are many.
- You can concentrate better on making your core business profitable
- You can meet tight delivery schedules
- You can optimize on the cost by not hiring in-house and tenured editor
- You can get the best results from post-production editing
- You never go overboard with your marketing budget
You have to be discerning to distinguish between vendors that really have quality image editors on their rolls and those who just make fake promises. You may not get the entire array of photo editing services like image touch up or photo modification under one roof.
Some companies excel in removing distracting backgrounds from product snaps for e-commerce ventures. Others may offer a good array of services such as image retouching, clipping path, photo manipulation, vector conversion, picture enhancement, etc. To decide on the best vendor that offers services in sync with your requirements, you may ask for samples of previous works executed successfully.
Your imaging editing needs would change and diversify as your business would grow. From an e-commerce perspective, for example, you may want to migrate from your own site to renowned online platforms like Amazon. Your edited images have to conform to the stipulations of the site.
Here are the cornerstones that you must rely on to gather better insights about the outsourced partner and make an informed outsourcing decision.
Check the previous work experience
At first, check if the vendor has previous experience of working for a niche in which your brand operates. If it does, then check for the genres, i.e., e-commerce, fashion, etc. for which the vendor has previously catered. Ask for the credentials of the artists who would work on your project and their previous work samples while analyzing the aesthetic value of the edited images. After that, go through the reviews posted by previous clients on the vendor’s site as well as on an independent platform. For this, you can browse through social media and other online posts of the shortlisted vendor to get an idea of their organization. Then, select the one which has been rated high on professionalism, customer support, and efficiency quotients. A vendor with the most positive reviews should be selected.
Learn to identify and avoid scams
To check whether the company is a scam or not, type ‘Vendor name + scam’ on Google and click on the search button. If you land on blogs, sites or social media posts which speak about improper service of the vendor, then move away. Besides this, if the samples are not posted on the vendor’s site at all, then it may not turn out to be a good strategic partner. Always look into and ask for ‘before and after editing’ samples to scrutinize the efficacy of work done.
Enquire about the vendor’s industry experience
Learn if the vendor is capable of handling bulk orders and delivering it on time. For this, know about their minimum or maximum order size they can efficiently handle. This knowledge would prove useful when scaling up your business. Thus, try to look for a vendor with whom you can establish a mutually rewarding, long-term professional relationship. Ask about all customer-centric policies and learn about their turnaround time. Ask if their services are available 24X7 and check if you have to pay extra for availing round the clock services.
Check if the medium is safe and immune to hackers
Ask if the vendor uses FTP, cloud or other means to download and upload images. Make sure that the vendor is ISO 9001 certified and it has other international quality benchmarks. Ask for endorsing documents to scrutinize their integrity and check if they are willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Make sure to ask how the vendor would ensure the safeguarding of your personal info, sensitive, or classified information. Properly understand the safety mechanisms used by the company to keep your critical information safe.
Find your best deal
Compare the prices offered for the same services by different vendors so that you can snag the best deal. You must understand that quality cannot be compromised for a lower cost. Hence, set your budget and decide the frequency at which images need to be edited. Decide which images would be edited by your in-house team and which ones would be outsourced. Assess the editing techniques that you would prefer and quantify your requirements comprehensively for the best returns.
Now that you have sufficient insights into best photo editing tips, you should start sorting your photo editing priorities. Choose if you want to do the editing yourself or would need the expert intervention of a qualified agency. If you choose to edit by yourself, you should keep on enhancing your expertise through online videos or courses. If you like to outsource, then compare various vendors intensively so that you can land the best deal. Remember, images edited properly have the potential of giving your business the desired facelift and momentum.