7 Post-Processing & Editing Ideas to Improve Your Travel Photographs

Today, professional photographer Laurence Norah of Locating the Universe, finishes his five-part series on taking better travel photos. Partly five, Laurence is giving some simple post-processing techniques which you can use to create your travel photos wow friends and family and family! Editing your photos is simply as important as how you compose them, therefore i hope you’re prepared to take some notes!

Just about the most misunderstood parts of portrait digital photography is what happens once you take the shot: editing your photos, aka post-processing. That’s where you edit the images you took, to create the ultimate product.

Post-processing may be the exact carbon copy of the darkroom from the times we shot in film.

In today’s post, we’re likely to be covering ideas for editing your photos, from the fundamentals (cropping and leveling), to more difficult actions like recovering shadow and highlight information.

Editing Photos: 7 Editing Tips for Your Travel Photos

1. How exactly to Crop Your photos The crop tool permits you to change how big is your image, and to change the aspect ratio. For instance, you can crop a graphic from a rectangular shape to a square shape. There are lots of reasons you’ll want to crop, including for publishing in various formats and aspect ratios.

Let’s have a look at the first photo out of this post, a lightning shot I took on a recently available visit to the Florida Keys. Here’s the initial version without cropping:

And the edited version, post-crop:

When compared to original, I’ve cropped the image to eliminate the dark portion of the pier on the right-hand side of the image and recomposed using the rule of thirds, therefore i have one-third land and two-thirds sky. This makes the lightning bolt more the focus of the shot.

You may wonder why I didn’t just compose properly when taking the shot. Well, in this instance, I was performing a long-exposure shot with out a tripod, so had the camera balanced on the edge of the pier for stability. That quite definitely limited my capability to perfectly frame as soon as, therefore i just shot wider, knowing I’d have the ability to crop the shot appropriately following the fact.

Let’s look at what cropping looks in the couple of the various tools available.

Here’s a good example of cropping in Snapseed:

And a similar thing in Lightroom:

In both cases, cropping is simple: it just involves you selecting the crop tool and selecting the area you wish to keep together with your mouse or finger. You then apply the changes, and voilà, your brand-new cropped image is preparing to go.

As you see out of this and later examples, the various tools look similar across different platforms, so it’s easy to use the training you have in one tool to some other.

2. How exactly to Level Your Travel Photos Among my own petty annoyances in photography is when the horizon line in an image isn’t level. Sometimes when we’re swept up in as soon as, this basic compositional rule is forgotten – however the very good news is that editing your photos to create them level can be super easy.

I’ll utilize the lightning shot as my example again. Balancing the camera on the edge of the pier meant that the shot wasn’t level – that is particularly noticeable to the attention when the image includes a clearly defined horizon line, like the sea.

If we look at a zoomed in version of the image in its original form, with a line overlaid close to the horizon, we are able to see that it’s not level – the line is nearer to the horizon on the right-hand side compared to the left.

In Lightroom, the particular level tool is portion of the crop tool, and you will just rotate the image to match. When you use the particular level tool, a grid can look to obtain the alignment correct. Here’s a screenshot of this doing his thing in Lightroom.

And here’s the same procedure in Snapseed, where in fact the level tool is named “Rotate”:

Leveling a graphic is an extremely simple task that may take a few moments of your time, producing a a lot more visually pleasing image.

3. Vignetting Your Photos Vignetting is approximately making elements of the image darker or lighter than other areas, to make it clearer what the main topic of the shot is.

Some tools limit your vignette to the corners, however in applications like Snapseed and Lightroom you can selectively darken and lighten regions of the image – you don’t have to restrict you to ultimately the corners.

Taking the lightning shot above, let’s bunch the vignette tool in Snapseed.

Here we’ve options for what size to help make the “center size,” i.e., the region to be edited. Inside this area, everything could be made brighter (inner brightness) and everything beyond your area could be made darker (outer brightness). We are able to also do it backwards, making the inner darker and the outer brighter.

Let’s apply the vignette tool to the lightning bolt, to provide you with an idea of the result:

Above will be the settings I chose for outer brightness and inner brightness, while below may be the size of the vignette itself, which is dependant on the guts size setting.

Vignetting is specially best for portraits, and anywhere where you truly want to help make the subject of the image more clearly obvious to the viewer.

4. How exactly to Change Shadows and Highlights in Your Photos Sometimes whenever we take a photograph, elements of the shot might become darker or brighter than we wish. We make reference to the dark regions of the shot as shadows, and the bright regions of the shot as highlights.

We are able to fix this by changing the brightness of the shadow and highlight areas specifically, using either the “Shadow” or “Highlight” tool. That is an instrument that works particularly well on RAW files because they retain more info on the shadow and highlight regions of an image in comparison to a compressed JPG, which discards the majority of this information to conserve quality.

Let’s have a glance at adjusting shadows and highlights using Lightroom. In Snapseed, shadow and highlight adjustment are available beneath the “Tune Image” setting.

Here’s a go of a couple enjoying a bonfire and fireworks display in Edinburgh during Hogmanay:

As you can plainly see, the fireworks and bonfire are clearly visible, as will be the torches the couple is holding, however the remaining shot is dark. Let’s adjust the settings and see what we are able to get.

In this version of the image, the couple is a lot more visible, as may be the hill the fireworks are on and the encompassing crowd.

To do this I increased the entire exposure of the image, making the complete image brighter, like the shadows and the highlights.

Then, as the shadow areas were still just a little dark, I increased those a bit more.

Finally, as the global exposure adjustment made the fireworks and bonfire too bright, I reduced the highlights a bit to give the ultimate result.

Shadow and highlight adjustment pays to in an array of scenarios to greatly help balance the image out – bringing overexposed areas down in brightness, and assisting to boost the shadows. You need to be aware a light touch is preferred – increasing the brightness of the shadows an excessive amount of can result in a whole lot of noise being revealed, which can look unnaturally green or purple.

5. How exactly to Adjust the Contrast Contrast is approximately accentuating the difference between your light and dark elements of the image. Increasing the contrast of a graphic can dramatically enhance the visual impact which has, by making the boundaries between those light and dark parts clearer.

Let’s have a look at a go of individuals jumping against the sunset in the Sahara, for instance, which I’ll be editing in Snapseed.

There is nothing too wrong with this shot, nonetheless it lacks the visual impact that I needed. Ideally, I’d want the shapes of the visitors to maintain full silhouette against sunlight, but since it was shot the camera found some skin tones and clothing color.

Using the contrast tool, we are able to make the dark areas stick out against the bright areas.

And here’s the effect:

As you can plainly see, this made the jumping figures and the dune more silhouetted against the sky. Generally in most shots, you merely want to tweak the contrast a bit to achieve the desired effect, normally only +20 or so, however in this case, the bigger number gave the very best result.

6. How exactly to Adjust Colors Color adjustment is another important little bit of the editing toolkit. We are able to adjust image color in every types of ways, from changing the entire “warmth” of the image (how blue or yellow it seems), to individually changing the hue and saturation of specific colors within a graphic.

Because of this post, though, I simply want to cover some very easy color changes you may use to create your images slightly more visually impactful.

The fastest way to regulate an image’s color has been the “Saturation” tool. This changes the looks of every color within an image to create it pretty much saturated. We can utilize the saturation tool to desaturate a graphic, eventually producing a black-and-white image without color:

Or we are able to go completely to the other end of the spectrum, and make the colour incredibly saturated:

Much like many edits, the main element is to locate a good balance – oversaturated images have a tendency to look rather unnatural. Desaturated images can be quite effective, not to mention black-and-white is a great choice for a variety of situations, specifically, portraits, architecture, and certain landscape scenes. But generally you’ll want to discover a happy midpoint: not too oversaturated rather than too undersaturated.

Saturation is adjusted on a sliding scale and is on the essential adjustments panel in Lightroom or the “Tune Image” option in Snapseed.

7. Blemish correction The last area I’m likely to touch on today is blemish correction, or “image healing.” Sometimes you will see something within an image that you truly don’t wish to be there, as an inconvenient pimple on someone’s face. That is easy to remove in every the major editing tools.

You can, theoretically, remove any object from a scene, however the healing tool is most effective on distinct, small objects that are surrounded by uniform colors. For the reason that the heal tool must replace the area you intend to remove with another thing, and this is most effective when it comes with an area nearby that looks similar. So for instance, a pimple on a face is surrounded by a whole lot of similarly colored skin, therefore the heal tool can simply calculate what things to replace the pimple predicated on the encompassing area.

Because of this example, I’m likely to show how Snapseed may be used to replace an object in a scene. Here’s several people sitting on a sand dune in the Sahara:

Let’s say for reasons uknown I only wished to have people sitting in my own shot, and I have to take away the standing person. She actually is an excellent candidate for removal as she actually is separate from the others, and the encompassing scenery isn’t too complicated.

In Snapseed, we bunch the healing tool, then we zoom in on the thing to be removed with the typical “pinch to zoom” gesture.

Next, we use our finger to draw the region to be removed. It’s vital that you be as precise as possible as the tool is most accurate with small objects.

After we have drawn the region, Snapseed will edit it out, replacing it with the very best guess of what’s behind the thing.

As you can plainly see, the effect is impressive, without real evidence that there is anyone standing there at all.

The healing tool is ideal for all types of fixes, from editing out unwanted background strangers in your shot, to removing skin blemishes in portraits or power lines in landscape shots.

Best Photography Editing Software

This is a set of the very best editing tools out there:

  • Adobe Lightroom (PC or Mac) – Lightroom may be the industry standard tool for photography professionals. But this post won’t concentrate on Lightroom, nor cover all you can do in Lightroom, as it’s a massively complex tool, covering both photo management and photo editing.
  • iPhoto (Mac) – I list iPhoto here due to the fact it’s a commonly used tool among Apple users. However, Personally, i never recommend using it. Although it enables you to do everything that I cover in this article and is preferable to nothing, just how it manages your photos helps it be hard to migrate to a far more sophisticated system further down the road if you opt to do so.
  • Picasa (PC or Mac) – Picasa is a free of charge desktop photo editing application from Google. It’s very easy, nonetheless it enables you to do everything I’m likely to cover in today’s post. If Lightroom is a bit overwhelming, Picasa is an excellent, free place to begin.
  • Snapseed (iOS or Android) – Another free Google tool, Snapseed is the greatest mobile image-editing app for both iOS and Android. It’s a remarkably powerful tool that, while easy to start using, includes a large number of features that remember to fully master. I take advantage of it for 95% of my mobile editing needs.

Let’s have a look now at everything you can and really should be using these tools for together with your images.


Editing your photos is an essential step that too many people skip. As you can plainly see out of this lesson, there is a lot more to editing your photos than simply deciding on a filter and posting your picture on Instagram. By incorporating a few of these tips and techniques into your post-processing routine you’ll have the ability to improve your travel photography in leaps and bounds.

So get out there and begin capturing!

Laurence started his journey in June 2009 after quitting the organization life and buying change of scenery. His blog, Locating the Universe, catalogs his experiences and is an excellent resource for photography advice! There are also him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Travel Photography: FIND OUT MORE Tips

For more helpful travel photography tips, make sure to browse the rest of Laurence’s travel photography series:

  • Part 1 – How exactly to Take Professional Travel Photos
  • Part 2 – How exactly to Shoot an ideal Travel Photograph
  • Part 3 – THE VERY BEST Cameras & Travel Photography Gear
  • Part 4 – How exactly to Take an ideal Photo: Advanced Techniques
  • Part 5 – 7 Editing Ideas to Improve Your Travel Photographs

Book Your Trip: Logistical Guidelines

Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world and that means you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you would like to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time.

Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots

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