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The Beginner’s Guide to Photo Editing [Tips & Tricks to Improve Your Edits]

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | Last Updated on October 28th, 2023 1:06 pm | 5-min read

It’s the old adage - “You can’t be good at everything.” No matter how good you are at photography, a photograph isn’t complete without a little touch of editing. However, many photographers find it challenging to edit photos.

Photographers usually rely on graphic designers or go through lengthy and expensive editing courses to learn how to edit photos. However, they don’t need to struggle too much to fine tune or edit the photos. Editing a photograph is easier than usual thanks to the plethora of online photo editing tools. According to a research, family and group photos are the most edited photos among the ones uploaded on the Internet. This trend indicates that most photographers aren’t professionals. In this blog, we will explain some of the basics of photo editing which can help beginners edit their perfect photos. Before we go ahead, here are some interesting statistics related to photo editing.Photo Editing - Appy Pie

Basic Rules of Photography

To begin your photo editing journey, you must first understand two very important points related to photography. These help ensure that the photos you click are ‘editable.’ There are certain things you must ensure while taking your photographs to make your photo editing process easier. Here are these basic rules:

  1. Shoot in RAW
  2. The RAW photo format is the most natural, detail-oriented digital photograph format that can be used to click your photos. Undoubtedly, the average RAW file size is 10MB whicheats up a lot of memory space. However, it lets you take the most detailed photographs and ensures that each pixel of your photo is as accurate as possible. Most professional cameras and flagship smartphone cameras shoot in RAW by default. For normal cameras and smartphones, RAW is an optional format. Always try to shoot your photos in RAW format as it makes editing easy.

  3. Ensure Good Lighting
  4. Good lighting captures more detail and gives you more freedom to improve your photos while editing. This is because good lighting makes each pixel in your photo easier to edit. Make sure your photos are captured in well-lit environments. If photos are taken at night, use proper exposure techniques and night lenses.
Once you ensure these two rules, editing your photos becomes easier than before.

Beginner’s Guide to Photo Editing

Let us begin on your editing journey. Here’s where you should start -

  1. Crop Your Photograph
  2. When you click a photograph, there will almost always be negative space that you don’t actually need in your photograph. A cropping ratio of as low as 5% can improve it significantly. Cropping is used often to enhance the object in your photograph that you are trying to capture. For example, in a portrait photograph, cropping the sides might help shift the focus on the person being photographed in the portrait. Cropping is an excellent tool to help improve your photos. You can begin with cropping your photo, before you use other kinds of edits in your photograph. A pro tip: When cropping, ensure that the proportions of the photo remain similar to the original photograph as it helps it look more natural. Appy Pie Design offers one of the best crop tools available in online photo editing software. Check it out and crop your photos today!

  3. Adjust Brightness and Contrast
  4. When you follow the basic rules for photography given above, the brightness and contrast benefit the most. The next step to make the photograph better is adjusting the photograph’s brightness and contrast. Sometimes adjusting the brightness and contrast of a photograph can do wonders for it. Increasing or decreasing the brightness can improve images significantly. Changing contrast can ‘flesh out’ your images and bring detail to the most important parts.

  5. Use Auto Color
  6. Auto color is a fairly new tool which lets you artificially alter the color in your photographs to make them more realistic. This tool is useful in case photographs are taken under artificial lighting.

  7. Hues and Saturation
  8. If you want even more control over the colors of your photo than auto color, using hues and saturation is a good way to edit your photos. Adjusting hues can help you change your color and edit it to make it look more substantial. Saturation, on the other hand, can help add richness to your photographs and increase/decrease the warmth of a picture.Appy Pie’s Color Wheel tool can help you add the exact hues you need to your photographs. Check it out!

  9. Tweak Shadows
  10. The secret of creative photography lies in utilising the lights to create shadows. For instance, shadows around photographs you are clicking can enhance them. It helps in creating a natural contrast between the object in your photograph and the background. However, with the advancement in graphic design technology, it is now possible to manually adjust/add/remove shadows from your images. It is still a very recent feature for graphic design and many software still lack in this regard. Appy Pie’s photo editing software allows you to edit shadows and enhance your images with a single click. Try it out for yourself!

  11. Final Touches
  12. Once you’ve adjusted these settings, you can experiment with other photo editing tools. You can either remove background or crop your image further before finalising it. But once you’ve edited your image, you are ready to flaunt your perfect photo wherever you want. Do remember that over-editing your pictures can ruin them. The more natural your edits seem the less likely people will be able to tell the difference.You can try a photo retouching service.

Choosing a Photo Editing Tool for Beginners

Tools like Photoshop are essentially overkill if you are a beginner at photo editing. This is why choosing a free online photo editing software might work for you. And if you have come this far while reading this blog, you don’t even need to search more. Appy Pie Design is the best photo editing software available online for beginners today. However, if you want to experiment with multiple software, feel free to check out our blog - 17 best online photo editing tools.


All of the editing techniques mentioned in the blog above are basic but they should help improve your photos. When it comes to editing, the sky’s the limit. The best way to improve is to keep experimenting with your photos. With practice and a tool like Appy Pie Design, you’ll be able to edit photos so well that they will look like a professional’s work. Learn and master the basics given in the blog above and use them to your advantage. As you edit more and more, you’ll find your own style and find what edits suit your photograph. Good Luck!Leave us a comment and tell us what improved your photo edits!

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Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie