6 of the best editing tips!

May 28, 2020

When you first start editing your photos, it can come with a learning curve. You’re trying to learn how to correctly edit your photos, while simultaneously learning how to use ACDSee Photo Studio. Below we will discuss 6 editing tips that we think the beginner hobbyist could benefit from!   

1. Dodge and Burn  

Dodging and burning is lightening and darkening different areas of your photo. This can be beneficial if you’re wanting to edit just a specific area of your photo versus the whole thing. If you are new to dodging and burning, ACDSee has a dodge and burn filter. If you want more control, you can add in two separate curve adjustment layers. The first will be used for highlights and the second will be used for shadows. Dodging and burning offers many benefits when editing photos. You can use it to make the subject of the photo pop or you can darken one side of the photo to create depth or even out skin tone. Depending on your image you may be able to utilize dodging and burning for all of these.   

2. Repair  

ACDSee Ultimate 2020 offers four options in the Repair section. Here we will focus on two of the repair tools: Red Eye Reduction and Smart Erase.  

Red Eye Reduction does what the title of it says – reduces red eye in photos. To do this is as simple as selecting the size of the pupil and the amount of darkness to apply. This is not only helpful for digital photos, but you can also finally fix those old film photos that your mom took back in the ’90s where your eyes are bright red. For more edits to old film photos, check out our ancestry series.  

Another great tool is Smart Erase. The Smart Erase tool will erase something in the foreground of your image by copying the surrounding background. To do this, use the Smart Erase tool and brush over the item you want to erase! You can erase a blemish, take out a finger from the edge of a photo, or remove anything you don’t want in the final version of your photo! In our example, we used it to successfully remove the dog’s red tag. 

3. Frequency Separation  

Frequency Separation is a very handy editing tool as it can help you control the texture and hue of a photo. It is usually used for skin softening and giving the subject a more even look, but it can be used in more places than just the skin. You can use it on someone’s clothes, the background, or the sky.  

Firstly, you will need to duplicate your image layer. It’s best to do this because frequency separation is a destructive edit. So, by duplicating your layer, if you do not like the finished product and want to go back to the original, you can. Rightclick on your duplicate layer and find the Frequency Separation option. Once activated, you will be able to adjust the high and low frequency tools to adjust the texture and hue of your photo. Play around with frequency separation and figure out the best places you can use it. You can learn more about it in this tutorial video!  

4. Highlights with tone curves  

You can add highlights to your image by using the tone curves panel in ACDSee. Adjusting the tone curves panel will affect the highlights and contrast within your image. Using the tone curves panel gives you more control versus just using the highlights and contrast sliders. The bottom left of the tone curves box is the shadows adjustment. The lower it is on the curve, the darker it is. The middle of the curve will adjust the midtones and the top right of the curve will adjust the highlights. Adding in highlights will enhance your image and can bring it even closer to the final product you’re looking for. One way to increase your highlights is to use the tone curves feature. You can increase or decrease the highlights depending on what suits your photo best.  

5. Layering Tools 

Applying your editing changes with layering can be very helpful and an easy workflow to get in the habit of. The benefits of making edits in separate layers is that you can add more or delete without affecting other edits within your photos. Below we will discuss two layering examples: soft light and color balance.  

Black and white layers and soft light  

To give your photo a more professional look, add a black and white layer to your image. Add a black and white layer, then at the top of the layer panel in the drop-down menu, switch to soft light and reduce the opacity. Having it at 100% may give the image too much contrast, so, to reduce the contrast, turn the opacity down to what you think is best. By doing this edit layer you also have control of the reds, greens, and blues in the image. You can increase or decrease each color according to your need.  

Color Balance 

Adding a color balance layer is where you can increase your creativity. This is the same as the black and white layer in that you can change the reds, greens, and blues, as well as the vibrance, saturation, and lightness. This is where you are going to get the exact coloring you want in your photo.   

6. Masking Layers 

Using a layer mask can be very beneficial. You may only want an edit to be on a specific part of an image versus the whole thing. Maybe you changed your mind on one part of an image and want to increase the highlight in that spot versus the whole image. This is where a layer mask can come in handy. Want to learn more about them? Check out our YouTube Channel and watch our workshop in masking layers!  


We hope that you enjoyed these photo editing tips. If you have any questions or photo editing tips that you find helpful, let us know! 


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