10 Easy Editing Steps to Enhance Your Photos

You have made that perfect picture and you want to share it with friends and family. Before you post it on Facebook, upload it to Flickr, email it to anyone or print it, take some time to bring out your photo's best qualities by doing some basic editing.

You do not need a fancy, expensive photo editing program to accomplish these steps. Picasa, a free editing program from Google for Windows and Mac computers, or iPhoto, often included free on Mac computers, has enough choices to enable you to accomplish these steps. Other programs may have come with your camera on a CD or DVD that you can install on your computer.

Most photo editing software has an "Auto Fix" button or menu choice. This is certainly worth trying. But sometimes this "one size fits all" kind of edit makes your picture look worse instead of better. In that case, knowing what choices to use in which order can help you make a good picture great!

Original photo from camera

These steps are the equivalent of what a photo lab does with your picture when you drop it off for printing. All digital camera photos, no matter how good they look on your computer, can be improved in 10 easy steps.

  1. Select
  2. Copy
  3. Rotate and/or straighten
  4. Crop
  5. Expose
  6. Color correct
  7. Size
  8. Sharpen
  9. Save
  10. Print or Email or Upload
If any of the changes makes your picture look worse instead of better, use the Undo feature of your editing software (or press Ctrl+Z on a Windows computer, Apple+Z on a Mac) to reverse the change. Then go on to the next step. 

Photo after editing with Picasa 

In future posts, I'll expand on these ten steps with more helpful tips and examples.

Remember, this is a very brief overview of editing your pictures. If you would like to learn more, check for classes or workshops offered in your area. Look up online videos for more advanced tips and techniques. Continue to practice improving your best photos. Just like using your digital camera, learning to enhance your pictures takes time! Enjoy the process!