How to Professionally Edit Photos: The Ultimate Guide

Any professional photographer worth their salt will tell you that taking the picture is only a fraction of photo making. To create something really artsy that stands out, you'll have to digitally enhance the photo, tweaking things such as color hues and contrast. It's a lengthy process that involves a lot of trial and error. And if you do it right, you might just end up with something fascinating — one that captures a viewer's attention and even invokes some emotion in them.

For this, you'll need two things: good editing software and skill. If you are only just starting out, here is a quick guide on how to edit photos like a professional.

Why professional quality matters

If you take a good look at professional photos online, you'll realize most of them have gone through some digital alteration of sorts. This is because, in their original form, photos are often bland and boring. On the other hand, adjusting something as simple as lighting can have a dramatic impact on the photo's appeal, making it pop more. And this is what people look for in a photograph. A professionally edited photo will always look better than the original.

However, not just anyone with picture editing software can make professional-quality edits. To get proper results, you need to learn how to do it the right way.

How to edit photos like a professional

Like any other skill, making a professional photo is something you learn and get better at with time. However, there are still a few fundamental things that can help improve your photo right off the bat. Let's take a look.

Choose a good picture editing software

Before anything, your first move should be picking a comprehensive picture editing program. If you are completely new to the editing world, there are a few things you should consider.

For starters, you want an app that is easy to use. The interface should be intuitive, meaning all the tools you need are within reach. This way, you won't have to spend hours looking for a feature you regularly use.

You also want to consider the features the software has. Most of them typically come with standard features like color contrast and cropping, and cutting. But the best picture editing software out there today, like Corel PHOTO-PAINT, comes with a wider variety of tools. This way, you get more options as you edit. You can even change the background of your photo if you want.

Take advantage of presets and automatic modes

Editing software today are smarter and more intelligent than ever. Most of them can analyze your photo and suggest the best changes for you. And often, the results are pretty good. Therefore, it is recommended that you always start by checking the suggested edits then work your way from there, adding more appropriate modifications as you see fit. The best part is, you can always revert to your original photo if you don't like the end product.

Another thing that can come in handy is using filters. These are basically combinations of settings you can apply to your photo to get a certain kind of look. For instance, if you want the photo crisp and black and white, there is a filter you can use that will make it so instantly. While most presets and filters are free, you might need to purchase the more complex presets in some cases.

Crop the scene

Cropping simply means removing any unwanted edges within the photo By doing so, you get to center the photo's main subject or make it appear larger. Cropping also makes far objects appear closer while quickly removing any unwanted features or aberrations on the image. This is one of the easiest hacks that photographers use. It can be an invaluable trick for a beginner.

Straighten the lines in your image

Straightening the image is another overlooked technique. It not only influences the balance of the image but also how people perceive it. Good practice is to start by choosing a primary line in the image, such as the horizon, and then rotate the image clockwise or counterclockwise until the line appears straight. Some software come with an auto-correct feature, which automatically does this for you.

Light and color add life

Adjusting colors brings the photo to life. Whether you like it bright or muted, there are adjustments you can make to make it visually more appealing. Use tools such as saturation, vibrancy, hue, and contrast to alter the lights and darks in the photo. Contrast is especially important when adding dimension to a RAW photo.

Edit your photos with Corel PHOTO-PAINT

There are tons of different picture editing software out there today, with newer ones coming up every other day. And this can make picking one extremely daunting. To reduce the hustle, we recommend you try Corel PHOTO-PAINT — one of the best editing tools currently.

It is packed with an incredible array of intuitive and professional tools, which will save you time as you edit your photos. It also uses layer-based editing, which makes it especially easy to handle multiple images at a time.


Hopefully, with a little help from our guide above, you are now on your way to becoming a more professional quality picture editor. Remember, as with any new venture, it might seem difficult at first, but with a little practice, you'll eventually become better at it. As you start out, check out the Corel PHOTO-PAINT website and download a free trial version of their software.

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