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Today’s smartphone cameras are so advanced that it's like having a mini professional camera in your pocket. With the right editing techniques, you can get even more out of your snaps. You can download third-party editing apps like Snapseed or VSCO, or just use your phone’s basic editing app exclusively — in most instances, it is effective enough.

 

To start, simply tap the “Edit” button on the screen when viewing a particular photo. Typically, a few icons will then show up under the image to allow you to make adjustments. Here are the key ones to pay attention to:

 

  • Brightness or exposure is the secret to making your images stand out. Brightening is the foundation to all other edits — and sometimes, bumping up the exposure is all you need.
  • Straightening or cropping draws the eye into the image, emphasising the details of a scene or cutting out the distractions. When photographing the ocean, straighten the horizon to create clean lines for an optimal visual balance in your photos.
  • Contrast brings depth into your photograph and highlights the details. At its core, this effect darkens your shadows and highlights the rest.
  • Saturation or intensity of colours affects how vivid or muted they appear in your photo. Make small, incremental adjustments to keep the colours realistic.
  • Highlights and shadows: The areas in your photo with the most light hitting them are known as the "highlights." Shadows are the areas in your photo with the least amount of light. Some details in your photos can be lost due to being too bright or too dark. By adjusting the intensity of highlights and shadows you can create more depth and dimension in your photo.
  • Filters offer an easy, one-step edit option. Your phone includes default filters that can instantly enhance a photo's look. Filters simply add an overlay effect and allow you to remove or edit it if you don’t like it.

 

DON'T OVER-EDIT
Although editing can enhance your images significantly, with so many options available, photographers can sometimes over-edit their pictures. Whether it’s over-saturating the colours, using strong filters or super-smoothing skin tones, over-editing can leave your pictures looking fake. Apply your editing incrementally until you get the desired outcome, keeping your photos realistic to what your eye truly saw.

 

TAKE GOOD PHOTOS
Some photos are easier to get right in the camera than trying to fix afterwards. Try to look for good composition and lighting, and remove any obstructions before taking a picture. A quick wipe across the lens will eliminate smudges that can blur your photo, and brightness and focus can be adjusted with a tap on your phone screen.

 

This article first appeared in the February, 2020 edition of Camana Bay Times.