How To Edit Pictures Like A Pro, With FREE Editing Software + Mobile Apps
Today, I’m going to share my own exact photo editing process, using only FREE software programs and mobile apps. Nope, I’m not joking. And I am a Professional Portrait and Wedding Photographer who still actively accepts freelance photo gigs from time to time. I’ve used so many different tools throughout the years and my current editing process works great for the beginning photographer, the new blogger and anyone trying to run their creative business on a budget.
Let’s Talk About Free Editing AppsI’ve found that photo editing programs are a lot like jeans. No two are exactly the same and they all need to be tried on before choosing the perfect fit! Click To Tweet
There are SO many editing programs that you can download for your tablet, phone and computer. There are fancy editing programs, basic editing programs, complicated editing programs and simplistic ones. Honestly, pick a few and try them on, one at a time, before investing your hard earned money. I’ve found that photo editing programs are a lot like jeans. No two are exactly the same and they all need to be tried on before choosing the perfect fit!
FTC Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. This post may contain affiliate links and I earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. It doesn’t cost you any extra. Thank you for your continued support.
The Gear And The Process For Mobile Editing With Free Apps
I’ll admit it; I am an Apple-loving girl. I am mostly using my iPad and at the moment, it is my MOST used tool. I use it for sketching, graphic design work and also for editing ALL of the images (and video footage) taken with my iPhone 5s or my GoPro Hero 6.
First things first, I quickly cull my images.
What does culling mean? Basically it’s photog-talk for scanning your images and choosing the best ones (or eliminating any fuzzy or odd looking ones). Once I choose several that look good at first glance and have gotten rid of any that just didn’t work out like I had envisioned, I will take a closer look and zoom in, right there in my iPad images gallery. I cull again, this time deleting a few. What’s left is about 10 great images, depending on the project. I bulk select the 10 and import into VSCO.
FREE Photo Editing Apps I Keep + Use On My iPad Daily
I have a free membership right now and only have a handful of “filters” available to me. I’m not really a filter kind of a gal, so a free VSCO account works great for me. I’ll immediately go into an image and manually edit it. My favorite app tools are clarity, fade and grain, as I’m really in love with a film-like texture and vibe to my images. I LOVE VSCO mostly because of the saved edits feature. Once I edit one image (and my other unedited images all match with lighting and composition) I will “copy” the edit, highlight the next image on the list and “paste” the edit. Boom. Perfect.
The very last thing I’ll do while in VSCO is crop the image and save to my camera roll, as a much smaller image for anything being published to my blog. If I’m using the image for graphic design work, I’ll usually keep it in the original, extra large size. Another great thing about this app is the “studio.” Any Image I edit and don’t manually delete, is kept right in the studio, able to be downloaded later.
Once my images have been edited and saved wth VSCO, I’ll open up FaceTune2 and do a very quick final edit. Usually, I will matte my darker backdrops or anything that’s appearing too shiny in my food images. Sometimes, I’ll whiten up my whites. And ALL the time, I’ll use details to super define the things I want to be crisp and stand out. All of the features I personally use, FaceTune2 includes with their free app version. I have been tempted to pay for some pro features because the free tools are amazing. I will let you know if I dive in and give them a try!
Another great feature of this app is that once I’ve edited an image, there will be a little blue post-it note type of a graphic, on the image. It basically let’s you know that you’ve already edited that one, without clicking on it. Super convenient for my food photography especially, as some shots can look similar. I totally dig this app!
Once I have all the edited and original images hanging out together in my iPad image gallery, I’ll delete everything I don’t want to use and keep only the ones I do want to use! I should probably also mention that I do use a free Dropbox account to keep an original, unedited version of my favorite images from a project, along with the final edited version. And as a reminder, this entire editing process is only for the images I take with an iPhone or my GoPro Hero 6 (which I adore the WiFi feature on that little gem).
The Gear And The Process For Desktop Editing
I have a Mac Desktop that I purchased back in 2006. It’s outdated and slow, but still holds a lot of my created content and software from when I was a more active Portrait and Wedding Photographer. When I used my Mac, a Nikon d700 and Nikon d3s, I exclusively used Lightroom 2. I miss it, honestly. There are so many great features for editing RAW images, straight out of camera. The culling princess goes quickly and smoothly. I could chat about Lightroom all day. I’ll 100% be getting the latest version when I’m able to invest in a new desktop or laptop. If you’re looking for a legit editing program for your dSLR images, Lightroom is the bomb.
A Windows HP Laptop
Right now, I use a basic Windows HP Laptop that cost me $200. It’s what I could afford at the time of my purchase and I use it for blogging, wordpress design, a little custom coding within WordPress and for uploading images and video taken with my new to me dSLR camera. It’s a pretty basic computer, but it gets the job done. I wish it had more storage space so that I could download Lightroom onto it. Since I cannot, I simply use a card reader and view the JPEG version of my untouched images, downloading only the ones I plan on editing in GIMP.Sometimes you have to start with what you have or what you can afford and do whatever it takes, to make it work. The upgrade will happen, eventually. Keep hustling and dreaming and DOING. Click To Tweet
For what it’s worth, here’s my thought process on everything in my life. It may not exactly be a fast, productive process. In fact, it can be down right frustrating when things take longer because you don’t have the latest, newest, greatest, easiest version of something (electronic). Sometimes you have to start with what you have or what you can afford and do whatever it takes, to make it work. The upgrade will happen, eventually. Keep hustling and dreaming and DOING.
GIMP Is A FREE, PhotoShop Like Editing Program
GIMP. I am 100% self-taught on this program. I know how to use each and every feature. When it was brand spankin’ new to me, I loved being able to find video tutorials to follow. Is photoshop faster and more convenient? Probably (I don’t use it). But according to an incredibly popular, talented, self portrait artist, GIMP can do a lot of the same things photoshop can do…and it’s FREE. I can even edit RAW images in GIMP, but prefer to stick with jpg, for time and storage purposes. RAW image files are HUGE. Amazing, but so very large.
When I’m in this program, I tend to fix a few basics with a quick curve adjustment and export to Dropbox. I’m kind of a weirdo and aim for nearly perfect (for my artistic style) in camera images. I only shoot in manual mode too, so that right there tells you that I’m a control freak when it comes to my dSLR gear. I can’t help it, y’all. Okay, so once my image is in Dropbox, I’ll grab my iPad and start the editing process I just shared with you, above.
Rinse & Repeat 😆
That’s it, girlfriend! I hope you were able to find something helpful that you can use within your own editing process. How do you edit your images? Do you have any favorite programs that you use? Are you a desktop, laptop, mobile editing kind of a girl? I’d love to hear about your experiences, if you are up to sharing! I’ll meet ya in the comments.