Top Photo Editing Guide for Beginners- Making Images Brighter

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Here are some of the top photo editing guide for beginners because, in recent days, photography has become part of our everyday lives. 

Whether you are taking selfies to keep your social media handles updated, or taking up photography as a lockdown hobby. If you want to know the best way to improve your photograph, well it is by making it bright!

If you ever wonder about the secret behind that perfectly lit Instagram pics, well, it’s all in the photo editing! No extra expenses for lighting setups required.  

In this article, we are going to cover some of the easiest ways of making a picture brighter. Any beginner can easily follow them. You can brighten an image free of cost with the following methods.

Top Photo Editing Tips for Beginners


First, let’s take a look at the steps to take in-camera for making images bright! These tips are quick to implement and easy to instantly change the game. So afterward, you don’t need to regret brightening the dark pictures!

Use the Natural Light

When you shoot in a studio, you have to think of lights and many more technical things. You will need different lights for several purposes like- One for backlighting, one for the hair highlight, one for the front, and many more on standby just in case.  

But in reality, all you need is a good source of natural light!

There are countless benefits of using natural lights for brightening up the images. The biggest reason being- it’s completely free. There is no setup fee for a good window light or a nice sunset. Sunlight is present in abundance without fluctuations. 

So you don’t have to be confined to a studio or spend $100 on a beginner’s lighting set up. 

Just go out and shoot!

Using Wide Apertures

This is a bit of technical knowledge, but you need to know it. To let your photos get their best look, you need to get a good hold on three basics: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. 

The function of the Aperture is to control the depth of field. In layman’s terms, controlling the amount of the image that’s sharp. A wide aperture creates a classic shallow depth of field. 

This works when you want to blur the background and keep the subject sharp, and the main point of focus. Increasing or decreasing the Aperture does not lighten images. However, it is crucial for creating a sense of depth. 

Many smartphones and photo editing apps try to replicate it through filters.

Photo Editing Tools

Now, let’s look at the photo editing tools that we will use to brighten up the images. There are several photo editing apps and software which has all the necessary tools. Through programs like Adobe Photoshop and GIMP, as well as mobile apps like Instagram or the iPhone Photos app, you can access similar tools.


The brightness tool can be found under basic tools in any program. As the name suggests, this is the first tool to reach for brightening the pictures.

The brightness tool will brighten the overall photo, including the shadows and darker areas of the image. It generally comes with a slider. If you are specifically looking for lightening the dark images, then you need to adjust this slider before going to the other tools for achieving consistency.

If you are working on an image that is already bright or slightly dark, then add a small amount of Brightness so that you don’t remove too much of details and structure.


Highlight slightly differs from Brightness. It will only affect the relatively brighter parts of the image. In layman’s terms, the areas to which light is hitting the hardest. It does not affect the shadows.

The Highlight setting can be found in the basic settings with a slider in any program. Sliding the slider to the right increases the lightest points of your image. 

For example, on a face, this will often be the nose, chin, and forehead.

Do not overdo the highlight as they can easily become “blown out”. The brightness of the image tends to hide important details like noses or folds in clothes.


Curves, unlike Brightness or Highlights, can uniquely affect both the shadows and lighter points of an image.

It can be found in any program. It is a great tool to use when you want to more accurately adjust both highlights and shadows. In the Curve settings, you get a graph-like structure where you adjust points throughout an image’s tonal range. Initially, the image’s tonality is present as a straight diagonal line on a graph.

You add points to this line and pull it either up or down for increasing or decreasing the shadows or highlights, depending on your requirement. The upper-right portion of the graph represents the highlights and the lower-left represents the shadows.

You can add more than one point, and also adjust the maximum and minimum points which are initially present on the curve.

A wonderful thing to note is that you can even adjust specific colors! 

For example, you can increase the amount of blues in the shadows, and brighten the image while still keeping the deep shadows and giving everything a blue tint.


Another easy way to lighten up your image is by using pre-defined photo filters. You get it on Instagram, many free photo editing websites, and even some filter specific apps.

I hope you benefited a lot from this blog.

Comment your opinions below!

Happy Editing!

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