Getting Started with Photo Editing

Overview #

There are many image editing tools out there, and you should use what you are most comfortable with. If you have no experience with image editing, this page includes tool recommendations and basic tips to help you get started.

Beginner-Friendly Tools #

This tool is easy to get started with but may lack some useful features the Advanced Tools have. Check out our DKC guide for this free tool:

  • Pixlr – A DKC Pixlr tutorial.
  • Photopea – A free online photo editor.

Advanced Tools #

These tools are some of the most powerful you can find for this type of project but may be overwhelming for a beginner. Some of these tools require purchase or subscription. Check out our guides to find out more:

  • Adobe Photoshop (Available through AppsAnywhere and HCC lab computers or with a paid subscription).
  • Adobe Lightroom (Available through AppsAnywhere and HCC lab computers or with a paid subscription).
  • GIMP 

Tips and Tricks #

  1. Figure out what size/position you would like your final product to be early on in your project. It can be a hassle to have to crop or resize images in these programs and there is also a potential loss of quality.  
  2. Know the difference between raster images/graphics and vector images/graphics. 
    1. Rasters vs. Vectors. 
  3. Know the concept of layering and how it works. It will make it easier to understand how to properly create/edit photos.
    1. Layering in Photoshop. 
    2. Understanding Layers. 
    3. Why Use Layers in Graphic Software? 

Common Mistakes #

  1. Editing everything on the same layer. Try to work non-destructively when using these programs. Add new layers whenever you get to a new section, filter, or part of your piece. You will be thanking yourself if you make a mistake or do not like a certain section once you have made it far into your project.  
  2. Using photos that are very dark/very bright. Make sure the picture you select is not too bright or too dark. It will make it hard to edit/fix anything if you can really see anything in the first place.  
  3. Using photos that are low resolution. Try to make sure your photos are at least around 300 PPI if you can.  

Accessibility Considerations #

  • Be sure to use alternative text, or alt text, when publishing your photos/images.
  • Try to keep the contrast high to ensure you’re design is easy to see.
  • Don’t use color alone to convey meaning.
  • See our Accessible Visual Design guide for more info.

Want More Help? #

Updated by Haley Gosman 04/08/24