In this day and age, the skill of photo editing has become important as the skill of photography itself. Subtle touch-ups can make an image come alive in ways you never realized.

Here are some easy-to-follow tips and tricks to make your photos stand out:

1. Straighten an image

This may sound simple, but it’s also the most common mistake! Slanted horizons and leaning lampposts can serve as distractions to an image.

An aligned horizon is more comfortable on the eyes. Image credit: Jerald Saw

*Use the rotate tool to re-align the image, so that the horizon is straight*

It can get tricky when there are many elements in a photograph. When in doubt, use upright structures as guides! Image credit: Kareyst Lin

Sometimes, you may need to correct the angle or perspective of your photos. This happens when your camera is tilted horizontally or vertically when shooting.

The perspective tool in editing software (eg, Lightroom, Photoshop) allows you to correct issues with horizontal/vertical perspective distortions. Even mobile photo-editing apps like Snapseed and VSCO have come to offer this function too!


2. Simplify the scene

Cropping the photograph can help remove background clutter which we might not have noticed when photographing a scene.

The crowd behind can be cropped out to eliminate the clutter. Image credit: Kareyst Lin

Give your subject the prominence it deserves! Choose your subject, and make it the center of attention in the frame.

The most well-known guiding principle for this is the rule of thirds – placing the subject along the points of interest helps to guide the viewer’s eyes naturally to what you want them to focus on.

Most cameras nowadays have the “viewfinder grid”, that assists you with rule of thirds – simply aim your subject at one of the grids’ intersections, and you would have achieved your goal!
Context is important. While you can’t always keep other objects out of the picture, you can try to frame them in such a way that they are part of story. Image credit: Kareyst Lin


3. With saturation, less is more

Saturation basically refers to the intensity of color in your photograph.

Image credit: Jon Ooi

When you add saturation to your photograph, it makes the colours stand out more. But at the same time, it also exaggerates the colours that you didn’t realise were there.

Careful not to overdo it – you’ll lose details in the image, making the image look flat.

Turning down the saturation can create an interesting film effect. Image credit: Jessi Dunn

To determine how much saturation you need, the easiest method would be to increase the intensity, and adjust it back down to find that sweet spot. Remember, less is more! A little boost can go a long way 😀


4. Look at the image, not the numbers

When we edit a set of photos, we tend to fall into the habit of editing while relying on the numbers in the editing functions.

These numbers can sometimes distract you from the photograph itself. (A screenshot of the controls of Adobe Lightroom 5)

While they are useful, remember to pay more attention to the actual photo instead! Each image is unique and may require slightly different treatments, even if the end goal is a consistent style across a set of photos.


5. Find your style

Your work serves as a window to the way you see the world.

Having your own photography style can therefore be immensely rewarding, as well as illuminating. Think about what captivates you personally, and let it inspire you!

Do you love light? Or is it the space or shadows that captivate you? Once you figure out what inspires you about a photograph, you will have clearer idea of how to make it your own.

“Style ought to prove that one believes in an idea; not only that one thinks it but also feels it.” Friedrich Nietzsche. Image credit: Canon SG Facebook

Of course, the old rule of thumb is to make sure you get the basics right when you shoot your photos – lighting, focus, resolution, etc.. That way, the main purpose of editing will be to enhance your photos instead of correcting them!

We hope these tips will help you with taking better photos and of course, editing them. Remember to tag #canonsg in your photos for a chance to be featured 🙂