Have you ever won­dered how pho­to edit­ing starts? In fact, the answer to this ques­tion may be a lit­tle unex­pect­ed, because the very ini­tial part of edit­ing any image is set­ting up equip­ment and tech­nol­o­gy. If you are the kind of per­son who under­stands that the art of pho­tog­ra­phy is not just press­ing one but­ton and using a ready-made fil­ter, then this arti­cle is def­i­nite­ly for you. I will talk about how to choose a good cam­era and process the fin­ished image from basic adjust­ments to a pro­fes­sion­al pho­to.

What to look for when choosing a camera

First, decide what goal you want to achieve, because the cam­era is not the same as the phone. This is a more pro­fes­sion­al step towards devel­op­ing your hob­by or becom­ing a pho­tog­ra­ph­er. First of all, let’s start with the main thing, what types of pho­to­graph­ic equip­ment exist and what are their fea­tures?


Three types of cameras

Pro­fes­sion­al cam­era. Before read­ing fur­ther, it should be not­ed who a pro­fes­sion­al pho­tog­ra­ph­er is. This is a per­son who uses pho­tog­ra­phy as the main source of income or is com­pe­tent enough to per­form com­plex and high­ly spe­cial­ized (in oth­er words, pro­fes­sion­al) work.

The first thing that cam­eras of this type dif­fer from the rest is the strength of the case. As a rule, impact-resis­tant poly­mers and mag­ne­sium alloy become the main com­po­nents for it. Also, such equip­ment is bet­ter pro­tect­ed from the ingress of dust and mois­ture.

Still these cam­eras nec­es­sar­i­ly assume the pres­ence of an inter­change­able lens. They have a high speed for con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing (some are capa­ble of doing up to 16 frames per sec­ond), excel­lent ergonom­ics (prop­er­ly orga­nized func­tion­al­i­ty, con­ve­nience and prac­ti­cal­i­ty, tak­ing into account the pecu­liar­i­ties of work) and have the abil­i­ty to man­u­al­ly adjust.

Exam­ple: Sony Alpha ILCE-7M3

Cam­era Sony Alpha A7 Mark III Kit 28–70mm (ILCE-7M3K)

Semi-pro­fes­sion­al cam­era. The com­bi­na­tion of pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur types of cam­eras, as well as the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of price and qual­i­ty para­me­ters. The body can be made of plas­tic, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces weight. The main dif­fer­ence from pro­fes­sion­al equip­ment is the avail­abil­i­ty of ready-made set­tings for a vari­ety of scenes (for exam­ple, modes for night and chil­dren’s shoot­ing). Such cam­eras save fin­ished pho­tos in com­pressed JPEG for­mat. They take up less mem­o­ry, are quick­ly copied to a PC, but lose the qual­i­ty of a pro­fes­sion­al image.

Exam­ple: Canon EOS 800D Kit 18–55 IS STM

Canon EOS 800D Kit 18–55

Ama­teur cam­era. It has a sig­nif­i­cant­ly small­er size and weight, and most of the set­tings are set through the inter­nal menu. Just like semi-pro­fes­sion­al cam­eras, there is a built-in set for a vari­ety of shoot­ing modes.

Exam­ple: Canon Pow­er­Shot SX540HS

Canon Pow­er­Shot SX540HS

Camera Specifications and Additional Functions

Megapix­els are far from the only impor­tant cam­era para­me­ter. When choos­ing, you should con­sid­er many char­ac­ter­is­tics. So, about every­thing in order:

  • The matrix is ​​one of the most impor­tant things to pay atten­tion to. This para­me­ter direct­ly deter­mines the qual­i­ty of the final pho­to­graph. A large sen­sor will give you high qual­i­ty pic­tures (because image noise, dynam­ic range and col­or depth depend on its size), but it will also cost accord­ing­ly. Also impor­tant is not only the size, but also its res­o­lu­tion, i.e. the num­ber of active pix­els. Works on the same prin­ci­ple more = bet­ter.
  • The total num­ber of megapix­els. The high­er the MP val­ue, the bet­ter the frame. The aver­age fig­ure, suf­fi­cient for a good pic­ture, is 16 MP. But this para­me­ter can­not be called a key one, so we do not rec­om­mend choos­ing a cam­era, tak­ing into account only this indi­ca­tor.
  • The num­ber of effec­tive megapix­els. Respon­si­ble for the light sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the cam­era, i.e. deter­mines its sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to light inci­dent on the cam­era sen­sor.
  • Excerpt. The time between open­ing and clos­ing the cam­era shut­ter. Its low­est val­ue min­i­mizes the effects of shak­ing and blur­ring in the image. It is used most often in reportage and sports pho­tog­ra­phy. The max­i­mum shut­ter speed is used in pho­tograph­ing the star­ry sky and night land­scapes. Using a slow shut­ter speed, you can cre­ate the effect of move­ment in the frame and use it as an artis­tic device.

In addi­tion to excel­lent per­for­mance, the cam­era should have basic func­tions to improve the image when shoot­ing:

  • Sta­bi­liza­tion. Thanks to the pres­ence of this func­tion, you can cre­ate high-qual­i­ty pho­tos, even with nat­ur­al hand shake.
  • Zoom. A fea­ture that every­one is famil­iar with is image zoom. Thanks to him, you can shoot objects far­ther from the pho­tog­ra­ph­er.

These are impor­tant func­tions that make it eas­i­er to work when tak­ing pho­tos. Some man­u­fac­tur­ers include var­i­ous art fil­ters or con­trol fea­tures (for exam­ple, via Wi-FI) in their cam­eras.

5 steps for professional photo editing

Once you’ve cho­sen your cam­era, you’re ready to move on to the most impor­tant task of shoot­ing. But not every­thing is so sim­ple, you need to pre­pare for this. This is where the first stage of pro­cess­ing any image begins, its base is set­ting up pho­to­graph­ic equip­ment.

Step 1: Basic Processing — Camera Setup

Before you start tak­ing pic­tures, you need to select the set­tings you need to take pic­tures. If on sim­ple, ama­teur cam­eras you can select ready-made modes, then on more pro­fes­sion­al cam­eras you need to con­fig­ure some options man­u­al­ly.

  • White bal­ance. A sim­ple exam­ple: if you do not adjust this set­ting, then the sun­light in the final pho­to can become insipid and even cold. We do not rec­om­mend stay­ing in auto­mat­ic mode, it can be uni­ver­sal, but not ide­al. If you aspire to become a pro, then it is bet­ter to select modes suit­able for the envi­ron­ment: day­light, sun­light, shade, over­cast day. If you’re skilled enough, try cre­at­ing your own val­ues ​​in Cus­tomiz­ing. Thus, the white bal­ance is respon­si­ble for the tem­per­a­ture of your image — you can make it warm or, con­verse­ly, cold.
  • Sharp­ness. When set­ting this para­me­ter, you should avoid the max­i­mum and min­i­mum val­ues, because they are not always suc­cess­ful solu­tions. The image runs the risk of becom­ing too clear and sharp or, con­verse­ly, blur­ry. When choos­ing the opti­mal sharp­ness, slight­ly increase and decrease this para­me­ter from one pho­to to anoth­er, or use an aver­age val­ue.
  • Aut­o­fo­cus. No mat­ter how good the cam­era is, it does not always select the sub­ject in the pic­ture that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er needs. So be sure to set the focus on the sub­ject you want to cap­ture.

Once the pho­to­graph is ready, it must be brought to per­fec­tion. With the help of pho­to edi­tors, you can cor­rect the image and cor­rect errors made by the cam­era. To get start­ed, choose the most suc­cess­ful pho­to and upload it to the edi­tor.

Step 2: Color and White Balance Correction

Thanks to many con­ve­nient set­tings in pho­to edi­tors, you can adjust the col­or sat­u­ra­tion and con­trast, add rich­ness and bright­ness to it. Also, do not for­get about set­ting the white bal­ance. For your con­ve­nience, select a place in the pho­to that should be white / gray in order to select the opti­mal expo­sure set­tings. After that, you can start addi­tion­al adjust­ment of light and dark areas of the image. You can also use the auto-enhance­ment func­tion­al­i­ty that is built into some pho­to edi­tors.

Cor­rec­tion of col­or and white bal­ance in the Pho­toMAS­TER pro­gram. Screen­shot of the author

Step 3: Portrait retouching

When edit­ing por­trait pho­tos, be aware of nat­ur­al skin imper­fec­tions. In this case, the pho­to needs to be retouched. A stan­dard part of any retouch­ing: remov­ing rough­ness with the help of spe­cial tools, smooth­ing the skin, reduc­ing red­ness and shine, elim­i­nat­ing cir­cles under the eyes. Also, retouch­ing can be cos­met­ic, when make­up ele­ments are added to the mod­el in the pho­to, its shade is cor­rect­ed, the skin tone is changed, etc. As a rule, this becomes a small addi­tion to the main retouch­ing.

Retouch­ing a por­trait in the Pho­toMAS­TER pro­gram. Screen­shot of the author

Step 4: Applying Effects and Filters

After com­plet­ing the basic enhance­ment of a pho­to, you can add a vari­ety of effects to it. Some edi­tors have ready-made pre­sets for var­i­ous fil­ters that can be man­u­al­ly adjust­ed. For exam­ple, in the pho­to below, a mat­te effect, pop­u­lar with fash­ion mag­a­zines, is used. The most impor­tant thing to remem­ber is that fil­ters should com­ple­ment the pho­to, not inter­rupt it.

Apply­ing effects in the Pho­toMAS­TER pro­gram. Screen­shot of the author

Step 5: Saving the result

Save the edit­ed pho­to in the desired for­mat. Now it can be used for pub­lish­ing on the Inter­net or for print­ing. As a rule, most pho­tog­ra­phers save pho­tos for their clients in two for­mats: for these two pur­pos­es. For exam­ple, to print a 10 x 15 pho­to, the pho­to file must be saved at 1795 x 1205.


Any pho­to pro­cess­ing begins with set­ting up the tech­nique for shoot­ing and only then goes to a vari­ety of edi­tors for fur­ther improve­ment. Pho­to­shop gurus know a lot of tricks and life hacks for quick image pro­cess­ing. But in fact, pro­fes­sion­al pho­to retouch­ing is avail­able to begin­ners. To start your jour­ney to the devel­op­ment of your favorite hob­by, you can use sim­ple and func­tion­al pho­to edi­tors.

To pre­pare this arti­cle, the Pho­toMAS­TER edi­tor from the domes­tic devel­op­er AMS Soft­ware was used.