Editing is an important step in photography and can make even ordinary pictures look excellent. Every photographer has to go through this step once he is done clicking the images. Before showcasing the pictures to the world, it is highly important to carry out photo editing to develop images that can intrigue and attract your target audience. Various photo editing styles can be followed for the same or you can even stick to your own signature style. In this article, you will get to know about the different editing types that are popular in 2020 and also get some tips to find your style of editing.

image editing styles

Popular Photo Editing Styles that you can Use in 2020

Here’s a list of popular photo editing styles in 2020 for your reference.

  1. Matte Look

    Matte Look

    Adding a matte look to the photos was considered as one of the popular photo editing styles in 2020. The best way to achieve this look is by adjusting different curves with the help of photo editing software. The matte finish can be added to the pictures having a dark, moody, washed-out, or vintage look. Because of its versatility, it can be also used for all genres of photography, be it street, landscape, or casual.

  2. High Contrast

    Image contrast

    If you like to provide a dramatic and edgy look to the photographs, then try it by increasing its contrast. It can be applied to both black and white as well as color images. By offering a strong contrast to the pictures, you can make the image look graphic along with the dark shadows. However, apart from increasing the contrast, you also need to pay attention to color, vibrancy, or saturation. To achieve this, brighten the whites and darken the blacks even more.

  3. Clean Edit

    clean editing

    It is a basic editing style that is used to clean the image from imperfections. Here, you need to work on color, temperature, clarity, sharpness, etc. The main aim of using this style is to make the pictures look natural and authentic. Go for this style if you want your photographs to project a classic feel.

  4. Dark & Moody

    Dark and moody images

    If you are bored with creating images that cheerful and bright, then here’s another alternative which you can try. Go for a dark and moody look to provide a different feel to the pictures. The two important elements in this style are color and highlight. You can also go for a graphical approach for the image composition. You can use this photography editing style for portraits, still life pictures, etc.

  5. Warm Black & White

    Black and white

    Everyone is quite aware of a black and white photograph. But what does it mean when it means to a warm black and white image. It is a type of variation which involves low contrast and a warm tone to provide a subtle look to the photographs. You might also have to tone down the highlights a bit while brightening the shadows. Black and white photography always remains classic, but by adding a soft and warm feel, you are giving a hint of casualness. Try implementing this style while creating detailed images like those of landscapes or casual portraits.

  6. Damaged Film

    damages film

    The damaged film editing style is best for those who want to provide a colorful and funky look to their images. This look was often seen in earlier times when the film reached its expiry or had undergone light or heat damage. However, while using this style, the results can be unreliable. If everything goes well, the images will have look beautiful with colored streaks and scratches. It might even create a reminiscence of the urban settings. It is best used for portrait photography.

  7. HDR Look

    HDR edit

    In the HDR or High Dynamic Range look, you need to maintain a range between the highlights and shadows. To achieve this look, you need to keep the highlights low while brightening the shadows. Also, take care of the noise in the photographs. Adjust it if needed. It can use this look for elevating your architectural and landscape pictures.

  8. Black & White Mid-contrast

    mid contrast black and whiteBlack and white photography is another good way to make a normal photo look interesting. However, make sure you adjust the contrast to medium while manipulating the blacks, whites, or clarity. If you add too much contrast, it will make the images look harsh. So, go for a classic and clean look. This style is best applicable for wedding, portrait, or event photography.

  9. Cross-process

    cross process

    This style is preferable for artists who love experimenting with colors. In earlier days, photographers used to develop films in chemicals. Sometimes, the chemical changes resulted in the creation of unusual colors that were fun to look at. You can create such types of looks with the help of digital cross-processing. It can be implemented on still life photos, natural or urban landscapes, and portraits.

  10. Vintage Look


    This editing style look draws inspiration from the film used in the 70s and 80s. These looks might be having a heavy grain, a slightly matte finish, and washed-out colors. It is mainly intended for giving a nostalgic feel to the photography. You can use it for outdoor photographs or casual portraits. If you wish to give your photographs a more vintage look, then use white borders just like that of a Polaroid photo or round the corners.

How to Choose Your Own Photo Editing Style?

Now that you are aware of the different photo editing styles, how to choose a style that will suit you and your audience the best? Every photographer needs to choose a unique style of editing because that’s how they will stand out in the fierce competition. Nowadays, achieving technically perfect images has become easier with different photo editing services out there. However, if you wish your work to be distinctive, then you have to think beyond meeting the technicalities. Apart from that, you must also use a creative and unconventional style of editing.

Here are some tips for photographers that can help them find their signature style of editing.

  1. Know yourself

    You might be thinking how knowing yourself will help you to find out a style. But, trust me, it does! That’s why we have mentioned it as the first point. So, to know yourself, you can first begin by looking at your surroundings. You may not realize but surroundings can speak a lot about you.

    Look at your room and see how it is decorated. Did you use pastels or have painted the walls bold. Take a look at the different furniture pieces you have used. Is it a classic or a modern piece? Do you keep everything organized or are you more of an eclectic person? Take a look at your closet too. See the type of clothes you like to wear. Do you like trendy items or stick to the traditional ones? Do your clothes have cute floral prints or are bright and bold? Jot down your answers and you will get a good idea of what you like and what you don’t.

  2. Check out your desktop

    Everyone likes to save their favorite pictures as their desktop wallpaper. So, check your gallery and see what type of images you like to save. Is it more related to floral, nature, or weddings? Now, go through your Facebook, Instagram, or favorite blogs. See what type of photographs forces you to stop scrolling and take a look at it. Now, make a note of the different elements that hold your interest. Is it the light, shadow, color, connection, or composition? See what you are personally attracted to as well.

    Look at the picture and think whether you would have created it in a similar manner or would it be different. If it were different, what are the various elements you would have added to it? Answering these questions will help you to find out your personal strengths and weaknesses.

  3. Creating a portfolio

    Create a portfolio and add all the images you like. Look at them and try to notice your working pattern. Once you have discovered your aesthetic, you will be able to realize your efficiency and mistakes as a photographer. It can act as a major factor in improving your artistic growth.

  4. Self acceptance is the key

    Understand that there is always room for improvement when it comes to art. So, embrace your weakness and try converting them into strengths. Everyone is unique and has different experiences in life. You can use it to your advantage and combine your humor, personality, or intelligence with talent to create individuality in the art. Apart from that, you can also ask your family and friends what they like about you and how they think of you as a person.

  5. Make consistent edits

    You will find many photo editors online. Choose one and take time to practice and learn how to use it. One of the best tips for editing is to learn to maintain white balance. Master the use of skin tones to give a natural look to your subject. Using the right tones will help to beautify and improve your photography. Watch image enhancement videos if possible. The internet is also a safe house for different editing tutorials uploaded by talented artists. So, employ it and make consistent edits in your images. Purchasing presets is also a good idea unless money isn’t an issue for you.

  6. Take break from social media

    If you spend too much time looking at other people’s work, you will spend less time improving your own. You might also get diverted by comparing your work with others and feel bad. So, take a break from social media every once in a while. It will help you to clear up your mind from other people’s ideas. Use your creativity to create something for yourself. Experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them. Eventually, it will help you to find out your own editing style.

How to create photo editing styles?

You can create a photo editing style by making three vital modifications to the photos.

  • Color adjustments

    You can use the color adjustment commands to perform this task. Depending on pixel values, the editors use these commands to create the editing style.

  • Tonal Adjustments

    You can use the tonal-correction tools to make the necessary adjustments. The Levels and Curves control helps in adjusting the image brightness and contrast. The editors use the destructive or non-destructive adjustment layers for the desired effect.

  • Special Effects

    You can access the Blur and Noise gallery in Photoshop to add a special effect to your images. If you want to reduce the noise harshness in an image, you can choose the Gaussian blur from the filter menu.

    If you want to reduce the grain intensity of an image, select the layers panel and click on the opacity option.

    All the popular photo editing styles fall under these three categories.

    In simple terms, the mix of tone, color, and special effects produces different photos. (It does not imply that the originality of the image gets altered. They look better and different with these editing styles)

The photo editors use these popular mixes for their images more often than other forms.

How to create images with these editing styles?

Can you create these photo edits with a simple editing tool? Or is there a necessity to go for specific software?

Well, you need some specialized software to do it.

Software Recommendations

In general, Luminar, Adobe Lightroom, Skylum, and Corel PaintShop can help you achieve styles. But if you want quality photos, then Affinity Photo or Photoshop should be your choice.

Many have the same question- Is photoshop mandatory or a need? Well, you need it to achieve photo features that other editors cannot produce.

The main idea of this article is to make you aware of the different photo-editing styles that are still popular in 2021. You can either select anyone from the above or combine various styles to create your own. Regardless of what you choose, this article can act as a handy guide to find the best one for your needs. If you are starting new, it may take a while to find the right photography editing style. However, we do advise you to keep experimenting. Gradually, you will see that it will not just improve your skills as a photographer but will also help your work to stand out from the rest.