All of us photo enthusiasts follow other photographers for inspiration and aspire to replicate exceptional images. Often, that leads to photography envy and disappointment when our images are far less impactful and engaging.

What’s missing? What’s the secret? 

You do not see their photos before they became edited images!! Sure; great composition, lighting and subject matter are important. The next and most critical step is editing. The great news is that you can achieve almost any desktop editing technique on your existing smartphone.

Your smartphone is designed to take ‘normal’ photos

This is because it does not know the purpose or intention of your photo. It has to balance the available light to create a natural-looking image to capture what is in front of it. The result is often muted colours, lack of detail and depth. It does not know your personal preferences to blur elements of the photo or darken edges to bring your viewer’s attention to the subject.

Your smartphone camera also cannot know your preference to make some small sections of the photo more vibrant, detailed and punchy. Filters edit the whole photo, are not suited for every subject and often degrade image quality.

Hashtag #NoEdit

Let's go there!

There was a trend to include the hashtag #NoEdit to a social media post. Not to be confused with the hashtag promoting positive body image, being honest and vulnerable.

The reason I am discussing #NoEdit is to highlight that recorded default JPEG file format has applied a set of predetermined edits. The original photo is automatically processed to add blacks, contrast, brightness, noise reduction and sharpening. Otherwise, you would be very disappointed with a flat-looking, dark photo lacking sharpness.

The alternative is to record your photo in RAW file format. This retains the most amount of data for image editing. However, most people (me included) prefer JPEG for compatibility and readiness to share instantly with a few quick additional edits.

Complete guide to built-in iPhone Photos editor app – 2019 ios 13

Improve whole image & specific areas using Editing apps

As a photographer, you also wear the hat of a visual designer. You arrange visual elements to manipulate the user’s attention and direct them on how to ‘read’ and interpret your image. Photo editing is the fine-tuning control to be creative and draw in the viewer of your photo lingering for longer, appreciating your creation.

Related articles:

Simple Snapseed photo editing process on your Smartphone

Photography Talk guest blog: introduction to Snapseed photo editing

These articles are great to learn a specific technique or tip. The fastest transition to becoming a confident and creative smartphone photographer is this course. Check out the full benefits and curriculum here.