What is photo editing? Why is it important?

In layman’s terms, photo editing is the process of altering a photo. This can be done manually and automatically by a software application. Some photos are taken after applying an edit during the shoot, thanks to the advancement in software technology. Photo editing is called by different names like post-processing, image manipulation, and photo enhancement. Owing to the extensive use of Adobe Photoshop to edit photos, the word ‘Photoshop’ as a verb or ‘Photoshopping’ has also become more common these days. In the past, hard photographs were edited by airbrushing and other traditional art media. However, Photochemical photographs are very rarely edited these days due to the efficient ability to do it while it is in the soft version using a software application.

Rudiments & technicalities

If you start enjoying to edit photos and would like to know more, getting to know the basics where you should start from. If you start diffing into photo editing, the first thing that you will notice is the two types of image formats – Raster and Vector.

Raster Images

Most of the images that you can find online and on printed material such as brochures, prospectus, etc. fall under the raster image category. The formats that this type can be compressed to are the most famous .JPEG, .GIF and .PNG. Raster images are stored as a network of picture components or in technical term, pixels and consists of the image’s parametric information namely, brightness and color. Any edit that is performed on a raster image will alter the stored information in the pixels thereby, rendering an edit. One big downside is that a substantial change in size will show as a grainy, pixelated and distorted image since the resolution will be compromised in the process.

Source: https://www.deverdesigns.com/what-is-the-difference-between-vector-and-raster-graphics/

Vector Images

Vector images have very contrasting characteristics compared to the former type. It allows for a high degree of versatility when it comes to photo editing. This is due to the fact that they are made of shapes that are positioned in the canvas with mathematical calculations. Any photo edit reflects on a vector image rather a much cleaner compared to the edited raster images since the information in vector shapes are readily alterable. The less common .AI, .EPS, .PDF (this may be quite common) and .SVG is the compression format that retains vector information. A vector image can be rasterized at any size in order to be printed or uploaded online and there is still extensive research going on to identify ways to convert a raster image to a vector. This is the most preferred type among the two owing to its flexibility. Here is an example; a vector design can be used to create a business card logo and you resize and rasterize the same logo to print on a 10 feet banner without distortions.

Here are some of the famous vector image editing tools;

  1. Adobe Photoshop (Click here to read about the 4 best features)
  2. Adobe InDesign
  3. Adobe Illustrator
  4. Inkscape (Open Source)
  5. Sodipodi (Open Source)

What are photo editors?

You probably have an idea of what photo editing apps are. Apart from editing clicked photos, do you know photo editors can be used to create a full image from the scratch? This can be in the form of artworks or designs like logos and brand graphics using lines or such vectors.

The fundamental work of photo editors is to manipulate the appearance of an image. There are high end and low-end applications to do a plethora of editing tasks based on the need. The preferred way of editing by many is the non-destructive method as the original photo is kept as it is and layers of effects and edits are applied on top of that. This makes it easy for the editor to roll back anytime. (I don’t mean doing an ‘Undo’ using control + Z) Make sure that you choose an application (if going for cheaper or freeware options) that has a non-destructive method of editing.

Why is photo editing important?

The intention of editing a photo is to display an impression or convey a message that will stick to the viewer for a longer time. Many people like me find it difficult to record written information in the mind but it seems to be easy to remember an audio or visual representation very well. You may be better than me but for everyone, visual graphics have a better edge than other forms in terms of memory recall.

Photo editing has become a very important requirement for most businesses. Starting from wedding photo edits to business branding graphics, you need to make use of an edited image so that you strongly imprint intended information on your audience’s mind. Wedding photo editing is mostly used for an enhanced photo viewing experience. This is required mostly to create a lasting memory of the occasion. Let’s have a quick analysis. When we say the word ‘Apple’ does a red fruit come to your mind or is it a white half bitten apple? If Apple Inc.’s logo comes to your mind that is how much of an influence Apple’s graphic has. Sometimes it is easy to even look at the way a graphic is made to understand which brand it belongs to. That is what we call as business branding and graphics and photo editing play a vital role in it.

Source: Photo by Yizheng Duanmu

Another reason why people need a photo editor is because of the hobby that Instagram and Facebook have pushed people into. On Instagram and Facebook, millions of photos are uploaded every day and some are very personalized. Adding effects and personalization has become a necessity among most social media photo uploaders. Especially the girls love a splash of emoticons and some stickers on their selfies.

So we understood the rudiments of photo editing and the reason why it is important. What are the types of edits that you use? What tools do you use? Leave a comment below.

Already have a picture that is ready to be edited? Click here to start editing.

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