Photo Editing: 3 Workflow Tips

Photo editing is it’s own independent art. The possibilities of photo editing range from simple touch ups like balancing out colors and eliminating red eye to compositing several photographs into one unique image. Whether you’re just trying to subtlety make your photos better or are creating a new and unique work of art, your photo editing is best enabled by an efficient work flow.

1. Divide and Conquer

It’s always a good strategy to divide your photo into different layers before you begin working with it. How you divide the image is dependent on what it is and what you want to do. But, you should divide it with a system that isolates the specific areas based upon what work needs to be done to that section. This way any changes you make to an area that needs fixing up won’t affect the rest of the photo.

For example, you could have a nice shot outside where everything looks perfect except for the sky. The blueness of it may look a little dull. So you create a new layer in your editing program and cut the sky out to make it is independent from the rest of the photo. That way, you can push up its saturation without altering the other colors.

2. Make the Broad Strokes First

You want to apply the edits that have the largest affect on the photo first. It’s efficient to do this for two reasons. The first is that this will give you a better perspective creatively over the scope of your work. You’ll see the bigger picture before you hone in on the details.

The other reason is that you might make a small change to the photo when you begin editing and then discover 20 steps down the line that you’re not happy with the one small detail, now that larger changes have been made. But, undoing it will also undo all the other changes you’ve made, forcing you to either live with it or start over. So, make the decisions that have the greatest impact first and spend a minute to think about how you feel about it. This caution will save you unnecessary headaches later on.

3. Go from Large to Small

If you’re compositing several photos together, start with the objects that have the largest impact on the image like the background. Then, work your way down to the small details. Working like this will help you gain a perspective on how the final product will mold together.