In the world of photography and digital imaging, the process of altering and enhancing photographs is a common practice. But what is it called when you edit a photo? Photo editing, also known as post-processing, is the term used to describe the various techniques and adjustments made to a photograph to improve its visual quality, correct imperfections, or achieve a desired artistic effect. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of what photo editing entails, why it’s done, and the tools and techniques involved.

What is Photo Editing?

Photo editing is the process of making alterations or enhancements to a photograph after it has been captured. This can involve various adjustments, including:

  • Color Correction: Balancing colors, adjusting saturation, and correcting white balance.
  • Exposure Control: Tweaking brightness, contrast, and highlights/shadows to improve overall exposure.
  • Cropping and Composition: Reframing the image to improve its composition or remove unwanted elements.
  • Retouching: Eliminating imperfections, blemishes, or distractions in the photo.
  • Artistic Effects: Applying creative filters, overlays, or manipulations to achieve a specific visual style.

Why Photo Editing is Important?

Photo editing serves several crucial purposes:

  • Enhancing Quality: It allows photographers to correct errors or limitations in the original capture, resulting in a visually appealing image.
  • Creative Freedom: Photo editing provides an opportunity to explore artistic possibilities and experiment with different looks.
  • Consistency: It helps maintain a consistent style or look across a series of images, such as in branding or marketing.
  • Correction: Photo editing can correct issues like lens distortion, chromatic aberration, or perspective distortion.

Tools and Software for Photo Editing

Several software and tools are commonly used for photo editing:

  • Adobe Photoshop: A versatile and powerful software for in-depth photo manipulation and editing.
  • Adobe Lightroom: Ideal for organizing, enhancing, and applying batch edits to photos.
  • GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program): A free and open-source alternative to Photoshop.
  • Canva: A user-friendly online platform for simple photo editing and graphic design.
  • Snapseed: A mobile app that offers a range of editing tools for on-the-go enhancements.

Types of Photo Editing

Photo editing encompasses various types, including:

  • Basic Editing: Essential adjustments like cropping, exposure correction, and color balancing.
  • Portrait Retouching: Specialized editing for enhancing skin, removing blemishes, and enhancing facial features.
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Editing: Merging multiple exposures to capture a wide range of tonal values.
  • Photo Manipulation: Creating surreal or artistic images through advanced editing techniques.
  • Special Effects: Adding filters, textures, or overlays to create unique visual styles.


Photo editing is a fundamental aspect of modern photography and digital imaging. It encompasses a wide range of adjustments and enhancements that can transform a photo, correct imperfections, and achieve artistic effects. Understanding the tools, techniques, and reasons for photo editing empowers photographers and enthusiasts to make the most of their images and express their creative vision effectively.


Is photo editing the same as photo manipulation?

Photo editing includes various levels of manipulation. While basic editing corrects minor flaws, photo manipulation involves more extensive alterations.

Can photo editing make a bad photo look good?

Photo editing can improve the quality of an image to a certain extent but cannot transform a fundamentally poor photograph into a masterpiece.

Do professional photographers always edit their photos?

Professional photographers often edit their photos to achieve the desired look and correct imperfections.

Are there ethical considerations in photo editing?

Ethical editing involves responsible adjustments that do not misrepresent reality, especially in journalism and documentary photography.

Can I learn photo editing on my own?

Yes, many online resources, tutorials, and courses are available for individuals interested in learning photo editing skills.

This page was last edited on 8 November 2023, at 6:00 pm