Steps and Techniques to Create Stunning Photos

Photo-Post Processing is an important aspect of photography that improves photo quality. With photo post-processing, you can transform your ordinary photos into your best pictures at the end of the day. It would help if you had photo editing software to post-process your images.

Basic Rules of Post-Processing Your Photos

a laptop showing editing tools for a post photo processing

These rules will make it easier to understand how to properly post-process images and serve the purpose of guiding beginner photographers.

1. Start with a Solid Image

If you start with a poorly executed photograph, you will have a poorly executed final image, no matter how much time you spend working on it.

Even if you are a Photoshop wizard who can replace skies and subjects in photographs, you cannot take a bad photo and make it look glorious.

The number one rule of successful post-processing is to start with a successful or at least partially successful image that you can make look better.

First, spend more time getting to know what truly matters in photography, such as light, subject, emotion, mood, and composition. From there, apply your photography knowledge to the image capture process, with the goal of yielding solid photographs.

 The goal should be to make yourself as picky as possible during the image culling process. If you pick the right candidate for post-processing, getting a good end result is relatively easy.

2. Visualize the End Result

Once you have a solid candidate to work on, the next step is to understand what you want out of it. This is one area many beginner photographers struggle with, because they often have very little idea about what they want their image to look like.

Study art and your favorite photographs, pay attention to how the image is presented in terms of its overall brightness, contrast, and colors.

Also pay attention to how the primary subject of the scene is highlighted. Once you know what type of “look” you enjoy the most in your favorite works, you can apply the same concepts to your photographs.

If you learn to visualize the end result while culling through your images, you will be able to pick better candidates for post-processing.

3. Aim to Provoke Emotion

A good photograph is one that can provoke viewer emotion. If you are able to do that, you have a successful photograph.

a. The “Bright and Happy” Look

Once you have a good candidate and you chose to tie the “bright and happy” emotion to it, there are some simple steps you can take in post-processing to quickly give it a solid look. Keep in mind that most bright and happy images have plenty of brightness and contrast in them, to make the overall image “pop”. This means that the two most critical factors to pay attention to (aside from highlighting your primary subject) are brightness and contrast.

b. The “Dark and Gloomy” Look

While getting an image to look bright and contrasty is easy, achieving a “dark and gloomy” look is much more difficult in post-processing due to many different factors. First of all, it highly depends on the image you are starting with. If you have a bright and colorful photograph, you will need to tone it down quite a bit.

If you want to retain colors, you will probably need to push it towards the blues rather than oranges when adjusting white balance.

4. Emphasize Your Primary Subject

When looking at the most successful photographs, you will notice that most of them contain either one or more important subjects that the photographer wants the viewer to pay attention to.

The point of highlighting the subject is to guide the viewer’s eye toward the most important part of the image.

To highlight a subject, has to do with the subject’s brightness. Make the subject bright enough relative to the background and other subjects in the scene, and you just made it more prominent.

5. Do Not Over-Process

Lastly, do not over-process. With all the excellent post-processing tools we have in our hands today, do not get carried away.

Try to make your images look as natural as possible without making them look too overwhelming.

Post-Processing Techniques for Stunning Photos

a man making some post photo processing on a lap top

Once you know the photo post processing tips, the task will be relatively easy to get your desired photo quality.

In this article, eight photo post-processing techniques were discussed, these can be used to apply to your photos and make them stunning and beautiful.

1. Sharpening

Sharpening is an essential photo processing technique that makes you look good and gives you a desirable trait. The sharpness is of your photos depends on two factors, the first one is resolution and the second one is the acutance. Photo resolution is a straightforward factor, and you need to select your desired solution to make your photo outstanding. The acutance process is a little more complicated. It’s a subjective ration to set the contrast at an edge. There are no preferable units for the acutance process.

You can also gain a more sharpening image by using a robust photo lens and setting that accordingly. Where the post-production will give you even sharper images as you desire.

2. Cropping

Using the crop tool to adjust your photos is excellent for improving the quality and creating more attention to the picture’s selected part. Most of the photo editing tools, have cropping facilities, those you can use in your photos to give the right adjustment.

You can use the cropping tool for various reasons. The best uses of Cropping of your photo are the purpose of zooming in to framing your photos. Another benefit of the cropping tool is to make a panoramic view of your photos.

Another use of the cropping tool is to remove elements, and Cropping is one of the best ways to remove parts that you want to remove from your photo frame. If your photos are not appropriately captured, photo post-processing gives you another option to do it right.

3. Noise Reduction

A useful tool in reducing noise in your photos. Applying the noise reduction will look less sharp, and you may give your photos a less sharpening effect.

Noise reduction has a drawback; too much noise reduction can harm your pictures’ details, and your photos may look like plastic. In that case, you may lose your photo quality. Thus the noise reduction should be used wisely in your pictures as it may give you the desired effect.

4. Remove Unwanted Elements

Removing unwanted elements from your photos can result in more focused images on a particular subject.

There are two approaches you can remove the unwanted elements from your photos. The first option is to clone out the undesirable aspects of the image where you take a copy of one portion of your photo and make a copy of it to remove an unwanted area of the picture. The second option is the use of the median tool in Adobe Photoshop. This tool will allow you to remove all unwanted objects from your photos, those you select and will give you a much clearer picture.

5. Flattening out the Image in Raw

When images are flattened, the layers of the image are all stacked. The stack has the property of one on top of the other. Once you flatten your photos, you can merge them all into a single layer image. Thus, it will have no more stacks where one flattened layer has all of your photo’s visible elements. Different layers can exist in your photos. Even your images may contain some hidden layers, and those layers may have a not visual impact on your photos. You can similarly merge the photo layers, which will affect the currently selected layers. It will also affect the layer. Those are just below the current layer.

6. Saturation

You can make your photos more vivid and lively by saturation. High saturation can impact the intensity of an image. Saturation has some impact on lighting as well. The level of saturation will impact the use of different lights. In this way, you can create many color effects and use them in your photos. Thus your photos will look more colorful. But you have to remind that adding too much saturation can damage the quality of your image.

7. Highlights and Shadows

Highlights and shadows effect will make your photos more apparent to the viewers, and a picture can vary based on different light levels. You can improve the image quality. Those have either too bright light or too dark mean no light at all. Thus you can adjust your lighting by using sliders to accommodate different light levels on your picture. You can also adjust the highlights by changing your photo’s bright areas and making them less bright. Shadows adjusting can also brighten up the dark places of your image. All the major photo editing software has a standard shadow and light-adjusting tool. In Photoshop, you can give your desired lighting and shadows effect correctly.

8. Contrast

Adding contrast to your photos can make it shinier. You can get an excellent shiny effect on the picture if you can use contrast appropriately.

There are some photos where you can apply different contrast, such as silhouettes, and in places where that doesn’t look better. Thus the contrast post-processing techniques make your photos more attractive by adding shine to it.

There are two types of contrast that you can apply to your photos. They are the simple fix, and the more advanced. In the simple fix, All major photo editing software has the tool to apply the contrast effect on your photos. The slide bar uses to adjust the contrast as you need for your photos. Regardless of the software, the essential operation is the same. Just change the slide bar and automatically set the right contrast on your image where the more advanced features are available in high-level photo editors like Adobe Photoshop.

laptop screen showing editing tools in post photo processing

To gain the best photos, you don’t need to apply all the techniques to your photos. Instead, analyze your pictures and then decide which post-processing techniques can be appropriate and apply to your photos.