How to Edit Images

How to Edit Images

On this page you will find tips on editing your digital images. We will cover subjects about histogram, various aspect ratios, and software that can be used to organize and edit photos.

If you take pictures with an SLR, you can usually determine whether the camera saves images in JPEG or RAW format. This is something you need to decide before taking pictures with your camera.

If you decide to take pictures in JPEG format, it's the camera that takes a portion of control over image quality, and image will be treated in such a way that the camera will determine what is the best when it comes to picture quality. With a picture in RAW format, it is you who has full control over the image.

Histogram

Histogram is basically a bar graph of distribution of numerical data.

In photography it shows histogram distribution of tones in a digital image, ie the number of pixels in each tone. Histogram is an essential tool for editing images.

Aspect Ratio

An image can be described in various ways, and the aspect ratio is a quite an important description. An aspect ratio is the relationship between the image height and width - it is not set in pixels or centimeters, but in a number.

There are many different aspect ratios. These are some examples:

  • 3:2 is a width size of 1200 × 800 pixels - this is the most common aspect ratio of SLRs.
  • 2:3 is a portrait, for example, 800 × 1200 pixels.
  • 4:3 is used in so-called "Micro Four Thirds" cameras (mirrorless), and many compact cameras and some medium format cameras.
  • 5:4 is used by large format cameras.
  • 7:6 is used by some medium format cameras, for example, Pentax 67 and Mamaiya 7II.
  • 16:9 is a panoramic format which is standard in HDTVs and wide-production for television.
  • 1:1 is called a "square format". Used by some medium format cameras, such as Hasselblad, Rolleiflex and Pentacon Six. It is also used by toy cameras like the Holga and Diana. 

The aspect ratio is determined basically by the sensor in the camera. On most digital cameras you have the option to change the aspect ratio before shooting.

Photo Organization

Many of the programs that specialized in organizing photos, can also be used to edit images.

  • Picasa is a software program from Google, which allows you to organise and share photos. It also allows easy editing.
  • FastStone Image Viewer is quick and easy to use software for organizing and editing images.
  • XnView is a program for organizing and editing. It is viewed as an excellent program by supporting over 500 file formats.

Picture Editing

  • Photoshop CC is classic photo editing program from Adobe - the most advanced program for editing and manipulation of digital images.
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a Photoshop-like program that is designed for photographers. Lacks advanced features for image manipulation, but has all the features a photographer needs.
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements is a cheap version of Photoshop. This program has many of the same features as the classic Photoshop, but with reduced opportunities.
  • Artweaver Free offers a surprising number of advanced features, for a free program. It looks a lot like Adobe Photoshop.
  • Gimp is a pretty advanced image editing program, and is comparable to Adobe Photoshop, but completely free. One drawback to the program is that it is not very easy to use the interface, but this part of the program has improved in recent editions.
  • GIMPshop is based on Gimp, but has an interface that looks more like Adobe Photoshop.
  • ExifTool is a special program for advanced photographers. This program can be used to read, write and modify metadata (including Exif data) for a picture.
  • Opanda IExif is a program that can be compared with ExifTool, that can be used to read and modify metadata for an image, but this program is somewhat easier to use.
  • Paint.net is a popular free program with many options. Can be used to edit images.
  • PhotoFiltre is a fairly advanced program for editing images.
  • Paint Shop Pro is an image editing program from Corel. A relatively inexpensive program with many features.

Online editing

With these services, you can edit images directly in your browser. 

  • Pixlr.com offers editing options for both advanced users with PCs, and apps for smartphones. Everything is free.
    Pixlr has some of the best tools we've seen. The Web-based service is quite fast and has an interface similar to Adobe Photoshop. Here you get access to many tools, including an opportunity to work with layers.
  • Aviary.com offer a free but limited option of editing of images. Premium account costs US$50 per month, and this allows unlimited editing.
  • Fotoflexer.com offers a collection of simple photo effects, that can be used to edit an image. Very good for those who need make quick effects. You also have the ability to retrieve images from social sites like Facebook, Flick and Photobucket. Offers a user interface in multiple languages. The service is financed by advertising, that can make the website look a little cluttered, but the advantage is that its free. The site unfortunately lacks a page with basic information, but there is apparently no limit on the size or amount of images that can be edited.
  • Online Image Editor is free service for editing images, but does not allow large files. Offers opportunity for easy editing and format conversion. On this page you can find an overview of the editing options offered, plus a FAQ page with questions and answers.
  • Photoshop Express is a free tool for smaller files. It offers basic editing tools.
  • Pics.io allows for online processing of raw files
  • WebRaw also allows for online processing of raw files.