Introduction To Photo Editing

I have played guitar with Metallica, met the last 6 US presidents and walked on the moon.  Don’t believe me?  What if I could show you photographic evidence?

One of the most frequent tasks I’m asked to work on involve photo editing.  These images can then be used for invitations, posters, t-shirts, place mats, mugs, slideshows or just for general fun and embarrassment.

Over the coming weeks I will cover some of the tools and tricks in photo editing.

This post is to give you an introduction to photo editing and some things to be aware of before you start having your own fun with images.


Photo Editing Software

Photoshopping is a common term referring to editing photos.  Photoshop is a well known editing package with more features than any other package that I have personally seen.  But, it is not the only package.  There are several free options out there, is one online solution with a lot of features that I will be using in my examples.  Also, when finished here, refer to this previous post.


Every photo can be edited, obviously, but if you want to do something in particular with the photo there are some things you can do to make the task easier for yourself.

When it comes to editing photos there is a difference between nice and good.  A nice photo might have everybody’s eyes open, all smiles, nice background and perfect poses.

If your task is to take one person’s face out of the photo and put it on another image, then the other people or poses in your original photo don’t matter.  You are only interested in one part of the image, so you should make sure it is usable.

For example, if you were going to copy a face from a photo then you should use a photo where the face is facing the right direction or there is nothing obstructing the face or part of the face.

If the person has dark hair and there is a dark background that might make it a bit harder to delete the background around the hair.

It is not impossible to work around these issues, but it will take more time, patience and skill – but why make life harder for yourself?

Using a good photo will make things easier from the start.



You should know what you want to do.

Have a plan for how the finished image will look.

If you wanted to put somebody in a movie poster, do you need to copy the face? head? whole body?  Knowing this upfront will help avoid some of those “back to square one” moments and you can pick the most suitable image to edit earlier in the process.



Use good quality images if you can.

Older images with lower resolution may pixelate if you have to increase their size.  The end result will look boxy.

Anything you can do upfront to make the task easier will make it more fun and you might get more creative if you have freedom to do that.


What’s to come

The first set of posts will cover layers, transparency and the lasso tool.

The end result will be my arm holding an apple on a beach.

photo editing arm holding apple on a beach

The second set will be about layers, cloning and the end result will be a black and white image of my arm holding a nice red apple (I like apples!).  This technique can be done in more than one way and I most frequently see it being applied to black and white photos of a bride, but her bouquet is still in color.

The third set will look at creating shadows using textures, cloning, opacity and text to create a freaky-face-horror-move style poster.


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