Why Edit Photos?

You’re an ace photographer who knows how to find the perfect angle and get the exposure right, so your images are already great, right? When it comes to photo editing, you might be like: What’s the big deal? Why would I even need that? Let’s explore what photo editing can do for you, and peep some next-level looks that just might make you a convert forever.

Is photo editing cheesy? Is it cheating?

If you accidentally come across an over-edited image like this, rush to the nearest eye-mergency room.

Photo editing sometimes gets a bad rap from some grossly unrealistic transmogrifications (à la these bizarre magazine covers). Or maybe you’ve seen cheesy images like the horse-tastrophe one below, and you think it means going compositionally insane. But with a bit of taste and restraint, photo editing makes your picture even better than it was when you pushed the shutter button, in ways you may not have even dreamed of.

Photo editing was done by the great masters

The Tetons and the Snake River by Ansel Adams. 1942. National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the National Park Service.

Image manipulation has been going on since the advent of the darkroom. Ansel Adams, who’s considered by some to be one of the world’s greatest photographers, was a darkroom genius. Much has been written about his ability to master light and shadow with dodging and burning techniques.In fact, it’d pretty much impossible to find a professional photographer who doesn’t do any post production on images. Post production is an important part of professional photography.

Even if you’re a purist, your camera can only capture a relatively narrow dynamic range. So it’s reasonable—and right—to use all the tools available to overcome those limitations and put back what the camera took out.

Photo editing imitates gear and processing choices

Modern photo editing has replaced analog choices such as film stock, gear, and processing techniques. When dinosaurs roamed the earth, you had to use vaseline on the lens to soften the focus around the edges. Now you can get it in one click and tweak it to your liking.

Exposure blending is a technique that, in the past, was used in the darkroom but now can be created digitally. This photo (below) is actually a blend of two photos: one shot was exposed to get the moon in focus, and the other shot was exposed to get the leaves in focus. In PicMonkey, you do this by adding a photo on top of another photo using the Your own button in Graphics.

The Orton effect was created by a film photographer who was trying to get the softer, painterly look of watercolor paintings by combining two or three exposures, some of which were out of focus slightly. It used to be a painstaking technique requiring tons of time, but now it’s a well-known editing effect. Just click to apply it, and then you can refine it to your heart’s content.

Photo editing puts high-end looks in everyone’s wheelhouse

Photo editing also allows regular mortals to get super tricksy looks that would’ve taken a ton o’ time to acquire the skills for. Rather than aiming to faithfully bring out what the camera saw, these looks create an entirely new expression that’s more experimental and playful.

Get in on the double exposure trend: it’s incredibly lovely and really adds extra depth and meaning to your image. If you’ve seen the opening to “True Detective,” you know how powerful double exposure can be. And you can do it with PicMonkey.

This cool quadsy image was created with our Mirror effect, by doubling an image horizontally, and then again, vertically:

Take a gander at this bit of pop art finery:

Is Andy Warhol rolling over in his grave? Maybe he’s partying in his grave. It does take more than a couple clicks, but it’s not hard, once you learn the steps.

Photo editing gives ultimate flexibility to your creative moment

And finally, with photo editing, you can try different looks on one image so you’re not married to the decisions you made when you packed your camera bag. Viva free photography love!

What are you waiting for? Edit a photo now.

Get a PicMonkey membership and turn your ingenious image ideas into reality.

This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make powerful images that level up your business.