As the name suggests, the term photo editing refers to manipulation or transformation of photos or images. Reworked images can include digital photographs or prints, although more commonly nowadays it references the revision of photos taken with a digital camera and transferred to a computer, or purchased via stock footage. Image editing software is utilized to remodel digital images to achieve the desired result.
Photo editing, performed by professional editors and casual users alike, can encompass simple changes such as cut and paste, of the application of filters to slightly modify an image impression, or more skillful artistry to make wholesale changes to the appearance of a person or product to increase appeal or create deception. Professional photo editing is often more explicit than subtle changes to variables such as color or contrast, occasionally rendering an original image unrecognizable.
A range of methods for completing photo manipulation exist. Altering or concealing a detail within a photo using an airbrush - (known as airbrushing), can be done by hand. Other manipulations are performed using popular photo editing software programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Paint.
There are two main types of photo editing or digital image retouching - technical retouching and creative retouching.
Technical retouching typically involves restoration or enhancement of an image. Ordinarily, this might involve altering coloration, sharpness or hiding visible flaws within an image. Creative retouching is considered more as artistry. Most often this includes the creation of dynamic, interesting or engaging images for use in communications, promotions or advertisements.
‘Photoshopped’ is a ubiquitous term referring to photo editing or manipulation. It has been popularized due to the historical dominance of Adobe Photoshop as an image editing tool. The term encapsulates any form of editing of digital photographs, much to the displeasure of Adobe Systems Incorporated who believe the use of the term referencing alternative photo editing software infringes trademark.
Despite the continued popularity of Adobe Photoshop and complimentary software such as Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop is no longer the only game in town. While still the most frequently used and (arguably) most powerful program, there are a number of viable alternatives providing options for creative inspiration. What are the rival editing apps that are worth considering?
- Serif Affinity Photo - A powerful Photoshop rival at a competitive price it has been built from the ground up for industry leading computer hardware.
- PhaseOne Capture One Pro 9 - A powerful raw conversion and photo editing tool capable of applying a range of non-destructive adjustments and eye-catching effects.
- Photoshop Elements - The low priced or amateur version of Photoshop. Easier for beginners, although missing some of Photoshop’s advanced editing functions.
- MacPhun Creative Kit 2016 - Combines clever presets with robust back-end adjustments for photo editing success.
- Corel PaintShop Pro X8 - The latest version of Corel’s long standing photo and image editing software. An easy to use and versatile editing tool for PC users.