In the digital age that we live in, being a photographer means knowing how to manage your photographs online. From downloading them using photo editing software and using a good online picture editor to actually editing photos is almost as important as framing up a beautiful image at your chosen exposure.

If you’re looking for an introduction to editing photos online, then keep reading because this article is for you.

Are You More of a Photographer or More of a Picture Editor?

As mentioned, editing photos online, whether that is using professional editing photos software, like Photoshop, or an editing photos app is a basic necessity for any digital photographer today! However, it is important to ask yourself: do you see yourself as more of a photographer or more of a picture editor?

Some would say that going too far with photo editing software can cover up mistakes that the photographer is making in the lens. So as you embark on your photography for beginners journey, ask yourself if you would rather spend your learning time collecting skills that will help you take a beautiful image with the camera in your hand, or whether you see yourself as more of a digital image enhancer or picture editor.

If you want to concentrate on being a photographer, one tip to minimise your editing photos online time is to try not to ‘over-shoot’! Remember that with digital photography, what you shoot, you have to download, and what you download you have to edit!

How Editing Photos Has Changed

photo editing software
Learn to use photo editing software correctly to enhance your images. - Source: Unsplash

Like just about everything in the world, the leap from analogue to digital has happened at an extremely rapid rate. It was not long ago that photographers were winding film into the back of their cameras and having it developed in a dark room.Back then editing photos in a dark room was possible, but limited to techniques such as dodging, for instance, where you would allow less light onto a section of your paper. The opposite of this would be burning, where you would allow more light onto certain sections of your paper.

Today, these traditional editing techniques and so many more are all achievable within photo editing software like Adobe’s Lightroom, Bridge or Photoshop.

Transferring Images from Your Camera to Your Computer

The very first step to editing photos online is to make sure that you know how to download them. If you are shooting on an SLR for instance, you could connect a cable directly from the camera to your computer. Alternatively, you could purchase a card reader. Once you have finished shooting, you would take the card out of the camera, place it in the card reader and then connect the card reader to your computer to download your images.

If you are shooting on an iPhone, there are a few ways you can transfer your images. You could move your images to iCloud and access them there with photo editing software when you need them, or you could use Airdrop which works with Bluetooth.

Both of these are really good methods because you are backing up your images at the same time!

You can also transfer images before or after editing photos online by using platforms like WeTransfer, AirMore and Google Drive.

Using Photo Editing Software to Resize Images

Most photographers want to shoot their images on the highest resolution for the sake of quality. If this sounds like your preferred choice, then make sure that you choose to shoot your images as either high-resolution Jpegs or as RAW files.

Resolution is determined by pixels, or dots per inch (DPI), and the more pixels you have, the more post-production you can do to your photograph before the quality of your image becomes distorted.

Of course, the higher the resolution of your image, the bigger your file! This means that you will probably want to resize your image to a more manageable size after you have downloaded and edited it. This is especially true if you want to email your images or use them upload them to a platform like Facebook.

To resize your image, consider using photo editing software like Photoshop which is the most well-used programme by professional photographers. You could also use Lightroom which provides advanced settings to change your image resolution. Unfortunately, these programmes are not available for free.

If you are using Microsoft, you could use Paint, which is one of the easiest and quickest ways to change the image size.

You could also download a free editing photos app like GIMP – this stands for GNU Image Manipulation Programme.

photo editing
Create professional quality images by learning correct photo editing techniques. - Source; Pexels

Change the File Size of Your Image

When using an online photo editor, apart from changing the size of your image, you can actually change the size of the file by compressing it. This is a lot simpler than it sounds!

Compression is when you do what is called ‘zipping’ a file to make it take up less space in a folder.

Here are a few tips, depending on the type of computer, editing photos app, or editing photos software you have.

  • If you are using a Mac, simply right click and select ‘’compress” and a new folder with the compressed data will be copied right next to it.
  • If you are using Windows, navigate to the picture tools menu where you will find a compress option.

Apart from this, there are websites and programmes that can compress files in a matter of clicks. Fortunately, this is not complicated!

Changing the Format of a Photo

You can also use an editing photos app to convert images into different files. For instance, you could use editing photos software like Photoshop to change a RAW file into a Jpeg.

There are many other formats that your image could be saved as:

  • Gif
  • Pdf
  • XnView
  • Png

Bear in mind that some files are bigger than other types and also compatible or not compatible with certain programmes. For instance, if you decide to shoot RAW files with your camera, make sure that you have the right editing photos software, like Lightroom, Bridge or Photoshop to support those files.

At this point, it’s worth noting that if you see yourself as an online photo editor, you should consider investing in this kind of software.

When it comes to file types, these should be chosen depending on what you intend to do with them. If you are using Windows, simply click on edit on the photo you would like to change and then ‘Save as” and the file type you would like.

On Mac, select the image and then ‘export selected images’ – the programme will then prompt you to choose a file type.

person editing photos online
Editing photos is a breeze withing photo editing software such as Lightroom, Photoshop and Bridge. - Photo by Ravi Kant on Pexels

How to Blur a Photo

Creating blur in an image is one of the skills that just about every aspiring photographer wants to acquire – it is really what gives a portrait that professional look and feel! The real term for this is called low depth of field and achieving this is truly a photographic skill that requires an in-depth knowledge of how to use one’s aperture on a low f.stop without compromising exposure and the sharpness of the image.

Basically, once you understand the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, to achieve a low depth of field image (where the background is blurred), you would choose the lowest f-stop that your lens allows and then compensate with your shutter speed and ISO.

Other things you should bear in mind when aiming to achieve an image with blur is to zoom in on your subject, but ensure that you have at least two metres of distance behind them.

If all of this sounds too technical for you, you could use an editing photos app, or editing photos software like Photoshop, Lightroom or Gimp all of which have blur filters. How would you do this using editing photos software?

  • On an Apple device, you could use the Skitch app. Simply download it to your preferred device and choose the photo. You would then select the area you want to blur, and magically, your blur will be achieved.
  • If you are using Windows, use Evernote which does a similar job. Once you have chosen the image you want to blur, look out for the “@” symbol which will appear at the top left of the photo.

If you really want to learn how to blur an image using your camera or want to become an online photo editor, you should consider the help of a professional photography tutor, like the ones found on Superprof.

Superprof tutors are located all over South Africa, you could choose to find one near you for face-to-face photography lessons, or opt for online lessons with a tutor from much further away.

There’s no doubt that when it comes to learning photography or learning how to become a good online photo editor, one-on-one tuition is the most effective way to master the technical techniques.

Why not check out the tutors around you today? You never know, at an average fee of only R256 per hour, you may find the perfect tutor to set you on your photography path.

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.