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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.