Training: Editing in Post Production

Post Production

Taking the picture is only half the job as many pictures can be improved by using editing programs on a computer.

Raw vs jpeg

Cameras usually give you a choice of saving the picture in jpeg or raw formats.

For many purposes, a jpeg is sufficient – and even if you take a picture in raw format, you will probably want to save it as a jpeg eventually as this is the standard format used by the club and for posting on the internet etc. With a jpeg, the camera decides many of the parameters to be used. With raw, you have more flexibility to choose them yourself, but at the cost of needing to do some post-production editing.

For some types of editing, particularly extreme brightness changes, it is better to start with a raw image, although it’s possible to start with a jpeg.

What program to use?

Digital cameras normally come with editing software, either produced by the camera manufacturer, or a licence to use third-party software.

Your computer may come with some basic image editing software.

Club members often use Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop for editing. These are very powerful tools but the premium versions require a paid subscription. Other programs are available, including free ones (see the YouTube link lower down the page).

Common things that get changed


This lets you cut out a portion of the original to work on by reducing the size of the image and effectively zooming in on a part of it.

Brightness and contrast

To lighten or darken the whole image, or change its contrast.

Dodge and Burn

To lighten or darken a specific area of the image.


Takes a sample of one area and lets you apply it to another area. This helps you remove items that you don’t want from the picture.


Increases the detail, but bear in mind that it’s using an intelligent guess. It’s possible to over-sharpen images, which leads to halos around edges in the picture.

There are lots more things that can be changed, but you have to work with your editor to get familiar with what they do.

Make a copy of the original and then you can edit the copy to see how.

In the example below the picture was cropped to remove the blur and increase the bird in the frame. The colours were sharpened and the shadows below the wings lightened.