Use These Easy Photo Editing Programs for Beginners

If you are just starting out with your real estate photography business and are looking into better ways to bring your final images to life, practicing on photo editing programs can really take you places.

It may sound a bit daunting at first especially if you have little to no experience with editing images. A lot of the time, people automatically redirect their attention to advanced programs that professional photographers often use, when in fact, there are a number of easy photo editing apps and software you can use to get started.

If you are not planning on outsourcing your photo editing process to an agency or freelancers, it is very important to learn how to do it yourself. Images that have been enhanced, even ever so slightly, can come out much more vibrant, brighter, have more depth, and certainly have more overall appeal. By processing and publishing only the most presentable photographs, your listing has a better chance at garnering quality leads and getting your property sold faster than expected.

Below, we talk about all things photo editing, the user-friendly options that beginners may enjoy, and a little introduction to both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom that we feel every budding photographer should read up on.

What is the easiest way to edit photos?

There are many easy ways to edit photographs. Each of these techniques may be easier for one photographer than the other, and vice versa. It all depends on the method that you feel most comfortable performing and what is most accessible to you at the moment.

A few of the easiest ways you can edit images are:

Using Presets

A lot of photo editing software have built-in presets within their system, which make it almost an instant process for a lot of beginners. Once you apply the presets that have been pre-programmed, you can then further adjust the settings to have it suit your specific image more.

Using Auto Enhance

Many photo editing apps and programs have an Auto Enhance option, wherein AI analyzes your photograph and automatically adjusts the settings based on their reading. If for example your image is a little dark, it will detect that issue and adjust the brightness and/ or exposure sliders. Similarly, if your white balance it a little off, it can also determine the right tonal range that fits your image best to make it look more natural and remove any color cast in the process.

Similar to presets, you can also do further enhancement after clicking on Auto Balance.

Sticking To The Basics

We all need to start somewhere, and if you opt to edit images from scratch without the help of any pre-programmed presets or AI, then we suggest getting to know the basic editing tools first.

The basics include brightness, contrast, hue and saturation, shadows and highlights, blacks and whites, cropping, and the like. By getting more accustomed to these foundational settings, you can have a better grasp as to how you want your images edited and which specific sliders can help you get there.

How do beginners learn to edit photos?

One piece of advice we can give you is that mastering the skill of editing your images and learning your own style through the process is just as important (if not more important) than finding the perfect software.

This is because there are so many photo editing tools and programs out there, all offering you the basics of enhancement and them some. But the more you are well tuned with the style you are going for and the more comfortable you are with playing around the adjustment settings, the easier it will be to work with different software.

So how can you first be comfortable with editing and find your “tone of voice” before settling on your favorite software? There are three main ways.

Taking Online Classes

There are numerous organizations, websites, freelancers, coaches, agencies, and more that offer online courses in photo editing. Many of which focus on specific niche or a certain method of enhancement – the more you take one, the more knowledge you can acquire and apply to your own projects.

Platforms like Udemy give you access to a wide range of quality classes at affordable rates. However, if you are tight on budget or are just looking to get the feel of it first, you can find loads of free tutorials. It all just takes a little time and research to find the right ones for you.

Watching YouTube Tutorials

YouTube is an absolute goldmine when it comes to learning new skills. You can find numerous content creators – both professional and amateurs – creating videos that teach the process of just about anything under the sun.

When it comes to photography, you can find a vast range of content explaining the different equipment needed, how to maximize them, what settings work best so you can minimize post production, how to work multiple kinds of editing software, and so much more.

The only downside, or rather factor we suggest taking precaution with, is the fact that not everyone posting on YouTube is highly equipped to teach or pass on knowledge. It is important to dig a little deeper as to whom you are watching and if the information they are providing is quality enough to utilize in your own situation.

Practice Makes Better

When it comes to creative pursuits, there never really is perfect and we should not strive for perfection. Instead, we should always just focus on getting better and improving our craft as we go along. Moreover, “better” can mean different things to different people, and as long as you are staying true to your own style, the right market will appreciate what you have to offer.

Because of this, and many other reasons, practice most definitely makes one better and learn more about real estate photo editing. By actually taking things into your own hands and discovering certain methods on your own, you gain a better understanding as to how things work and also how to make them work in your favor.

Nothing beats hands-on experience!

Which photo editing software is best for beginners?

When it comes to choosing the right photo editing software for you, there are three core principles to take into consideration, namely:

Principal #1: Ease of Use

First off, it is very important to have a program with a straightforward interface and minimal clutter. This ensures that you get to focus on what you need to with little to no distraction as you edit your images.

Moreover, having a workstation that clearly displays all the necessary tools and where to find the more advanced options will greatly help make your work flow go a lot smoother.

There is no need to invest in the most advanced technology if at the end of the day, you will be spending way too much time and energy trying to figure out how to work the tools.

Principal #2: Functions and Tools

Speaking of tools, it is imperative that your program has all the basic and necessary functions to complete fundamental enhancements. Other kinds of tools that it can offer to make different photo manipulation techniques easier are also very much welcomed.

When it comes to choosing a program, ensure that it can cater to your needs by being able to provide all the tools you need it to pack.

Principal #3: Opportunities for Expansion

Lastly, opportunities for expansion. This core principle addresses the issue of finding the almost perfect software for you, but maybe it just lacks a few functionalities here and there.

If your program offers plugins and presets and is highly compatible with adding upgraded functions later on, then it should be a good enough investment when thinking long-term

Do I really need Photoshop?

This is a question we come across a lot from beginners.

Adobe Photoshop is a classic and professional photo editing software that has been around for as long as most professional real estate photographers can remember. It offers all the essential tools, advanced photo editing tools, and is even compatible with plugins.

Moreover, it is highly integrated into the whole Adobe ecosystem, which makes it so much easier for photo editors and designers alike to seamlessly import and export projects from one Adobe program to another, ensuring that each project is processed in post production just right.

With that being said, you do not exactly need to work with Adobe Photoshop if it is not the kind of software that you are comfortable using or investing in so early on in your career.

Is Photoshop good for beginners?

Adobe Photoshop is considered to be great for both professionals and beginners, though there is expected to be quite a steep learning curve the deeper you delve into the specific tools.

All things considered, it is well worth it to learn more about the classic program and see for yourself why many photographers utilize it till this very day. While you are still starting out, there is no need to rush into Adobe Photoshop just yet, you can choose an easier app while you hone your photo editing skills and practice with Photoshop on the side. In fact, the company also released Adobe Photoshop Elements, which is a simplified version of the original, which may be easier to learn at first.

Is Photoshop easier than GIMP?

Adobe Photoshop and GIMP get compared a lot, and we are here to break down the key differences between the two programs so you can make a more informed choice if either one of them is easier than the other in terms of your own comfort and preferences.

Pricing. GIMP is a free photo editing software while Photoshop is paid.

Functionality. GIMP is made for digital photography and only with a few tools while Photoshop is made for a much wider spectrum that ranges from photography, marketing, and other aspects, and is packed with a vast range of tools.

Learning Curve. Both programs have their respective learning curves but can generally be used by professionals and beginners.

Operating Systems. GIMP supports Windows, Linux and Mac, and Photoshop supports only Windows and Mac.

Adaptability. GIMP is capable of opening and editing PSD files, but Photoshop does not support GIMP’s native file format.

Features and Tools Found In GIMP

  • Has a customizable user interface
  • Offers basic vector graphic features.
  • Supports MIDI controller, USB, etc.
  • Export to JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and more file formats.
  • You can open an unlimited number of images at one time.
  • It provides transformable selections and paths.
  • It offers a foreground extraction tool.
  • It features up to 100 readily available plugins.
  • You can load, display, convert, and save the GIMP file to a variety of formats.
  • Easy to use gradient editor and blend tool
  • Selection tools: square, eclipse, lasso, scissors, foreground, fuzzy, etc.
  • Brush tools: Blend, paintbrush, airbrush, clone, heal, pencil, smudge, dodge, ink, perspective clone, and bucket fill.
  • Transform tools: Move, crop, rotate, scale, flip, scale, align, and perspective.
  • Color tools: Color balance, colorize, brightness-contrast, threshold, posterize, desaturate, levels, curves, hue-saturation, etc.

Other tools: Path, measure, magnify, and color picker tool.

Features and Tools Found In Photoshop

  • Seamlessly connects to other Adobe software.
  • Offers smart sharpen filters.
  • Has a mobile app that allows you to save to the cloud.
  • Intelligent upsampling feature to make low-resolution image print-ready.
  • Offers multi-shape and path selection.
  • It features a one-click color correction.
  • Packs some special effects and distortion features.
  • Quick selections are possible.
  • Ability to draw images with pencil and pen tools.
  • Objects can be quickly converted to layers.
  • Retouching and painting tools: Healing brush, patch, brush tool, red-eye, pencil, color replacement, Eraser Tool, background eraser, sharpen, smudge, and dodge tool.
  • Brush tools: Mixer brush tool, history brush, and art history.
  • Clone stamp tool and pattern stamp tool.
  • Transformation tools: Rotate, scale, distort, skew, warp, perspective.
  • Liquify tool.
  • Crop and slice tools: Perspective crop tool, slice tool, slice select tool.
  • Move and selection tools: Move tool, Artboard tool, elliptical marquee, rectangular marquee tool, single row marquee tool, lasso, and magic wand.
  • Measurement tools: Eyedropper, 3D material eyedropper, color sampler, ruler, and count tool.
  • Type and drawing tools: Pen, freeform pen tool, add/ delete anchor point tool, convert anchor point, Vertical and horizontal type tool, path selection tool, direct selection tool, etc.

Navigation tools: Hand, rotate view, zoom tool.

Pros of using GIMP over Photoshop

  • It is FREE
  • You can edit from a cloud, external drive, or local folder without installing any program
  • It can open and edit PSD files
  • It has a smart menu system
  • The image editing tool is faster than that of Photoshop’s

Cons of using GIMP over Photoshop

  • Only supports 8bit RGB, grayscale, and indexed images
  • Plugins are limited compared to Photoshop
  • Has low performance level with heavier images that need multiple layers
  • Limited number of tools

Pros of using Photoshop over GIMP

  • Features Action Tools to automate processes
  • Features a spot removal tool
  • Photo stacking and panorama are easy to edit
  • Has more and better tools.

Cons of using Photoshop over GIMP

  • Can be costly
  • Heavyweight program that needs you to download it
  • Not as much support for vector graphics compared to GIMP

Is Lightroom easier than Photoshop?

Generally speaking, Lightroom may be easier on beginners than Photoshop, but then again that really depends on the person doing the editing and what kinds of edits you find yourself working on.

For those that are now accustomed to both programs, there are a few unspoken guidelines that we all adhere to, such as:

Use Lightroom For A Straightforward Workstation

Photoshop’s interface is still pretty neat, easy to navigate, and also offers more customization options. However, Lightroom’s functions and tools are all out in the open to the right-hand side of your screen, which could work out best for those who are just starting out with basic enhancements.

Use Lightroom For Processing Multiple Images At A Time

Lightroom is famous for its batch process feature, which allows you to make enhancements on one image and easily duplicate those settings to the rest of the batch. This can make your workflow much faster and smoother for photo shoots sharing the same lighting and general composition.

Use Lightroom For A More Organized Workflow

Lightroom offers image collections, keyword images, the ability to share images directly to social media, batch processing, and many more functions that make it easier to organize your projects.

Use Photoshop For A More Advanced Retouching

Photoshop offers a lot more options when it comes to retouching and photo manipulation, and is regarded to be the more powerful photo editing software compared to Lightroom’s system. You can make elements appear thinner or wider, you can remove or add objects, you can be more precise with color changes, and you can also create your very own brushes.

Use Photoshop For Composite Images

Photoshop enables you to combine elements from multiple images into one final shot; this process is called compositing and is not as achievable using Lightroom.

Our Top Picks

Considering the three core principles above, weighing out each of the features and factoring in the price points, we have come up with a list of our top 10 best photo editing software to try out when looking for an easy program:

#1 Adobe Lightroom – Best overall

#2 Adobe Photoshop – Best for advanced photo manipulation (with free version for mobile)

#3 GIMP – Best FREE photo editor for advanced image editing

#4 Canva – Best template options

#5 Fotor – Best for quick enhancements

#6 Pixlr X – Comprehensive results in just a few clicks

#7 Capture One – High end, with impressive features

#8 Skylum Luminar 4  – Highly advanced features

#9 Corel PaintShop Pro – Endless functionalities, great for designers

#10 ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate  – Promising newbie on the marketr dapibus leo.