How to Edit and Enhance Your Trail Photos

Editing a trail photo can be as important as using the right technique to capture the picture. Adjusting the highlights, colors, shadows, contrast, and other features can make your picture stand out. To improve the quality of your hiking images, you will need to go beyond the “autocorrect” feature often found on most complimentary photo editing software.

This guide will focus on showing you how to edit hiking photos. By making use of the basic photo editing techniques outlined below, you should be able to enhance your images, making them more powerful and shareworthy.

How to Edit and Enhance Your Trail Photos

A Guide on How to Edit Hiking Images

1.    Clean and Crop Your Images

Straightening Images

It is always a good idea to pay attention to ensure that the horizon is horizontal before capturing your picture. However, if you forgot to check your horizon, straightening is an easy first editing step.

Image Cropping

Cropping an image allows you to improve on most of the minor details. In addition to allowing you to remove distracting elements at the edge of the frame, it allows you to reposition the main subject slightly.

Cleaning Your Pictures

Hiking trails are generally dusty and nature’s gritty elements often find their way onto the Globo Surf lens, and then onto your hiking images. Most photo editing programs do have a spot removing tool – this tool can help you clean out your pictures. On varying programs, the name for the spot removing tool varies from “spot healing” to “clone stamping”.

Programs will allow you to change the view of a photo to highlight the spot’s location. Focus on working methodically around your image until the image is 100% spot-free.

2.    White Balance Adjustment

If your trail image has a color tone that you find unappealing, you can fix the problem by simply adjusting the white balance. Compared to RAW files, JPG files offer minimal white balance adjustment – this is because they capture far less digital data. If you are planning on editing your images after capturing them, you should store them in the RAW format.

The majority of photo editing software will allow you to pick from various preset modes, including “cloudy,” “daylight,” and “flash” to better calibrate your picture for the lighting conditions. Besides, most will also have both a “tint” and a “temperature” slider that you can use to fine-tune the lighting cast on the photo.

3.    Adjust Contrast and Exposure

Adjusting the Contrast

In photography, contrast is the term used to refer to the range of dark to light tones on an image. When it is too high, the image will be stark, with all the tones, regardless of their color, being either too light or too dark. When it is too low, the image will be flat, where no elements in your frame stand out.

When editing your hiking images, you will need to focus on bringing your pictures to medium contrast. However, if either high or low contrast is more appealing for the image, you can adjust the tones on your image to achieve that.

Using the Photo Histogram

If this is the first time you are learning how to edit hiking photos, you may not be familiar with the photo histogram. This is a graphic representation of a photo’s tonal range. During photo editing, it helps you with optimizing the final exposure levels.

While you don’t need to look at the histogram, it can be extremely helpful when your image has a large amount of light or dark area. Most photo editing software will include the histogram on the screen where you perform exposure adjustments. A photo featuring an ideal exposure will give you tones throughout the dark to the light range, with the most tones grouped in the middle.

If your photo histogram has a spike on the left-hand side, this indicates that the picture has a lot of darker tones. Pictures with a spike on the right side have lighter tones.

4.    Adjust Saturation and Color Vibrancy

After adjusting the white balance, the next step is to use the vibrancy and saturation controls to further refine the colors in your images. The difference between the 2 is subtle.

Increasing the vibrancy will increase the color intensity in the neutral colors while maintaining color intensity in the image’s brighter colors. Increasing the saturation will make all the colors throughout your frame more intense. If bright colors are popping on your image, this step can give your image a more dramatic appearance.

5.    Adjust the Sharpness

Sharpening your hiking images will give them a cleaner, crisper appearance. Most photo editing tools feature multiple sharpening tools.

You will need to start by adjusting the overall sharpness. On a scale of 0 to 100, start at 50% and then adjust the sharpness level up or down.

Be sure to experiment with additional sharpening features available on your editing software. One feature you may want to try is the “structure” or “clarity” tool – this will make the edges of objects in your photo stand out more, giving the picture a punchier look.

You should look closely at individual frame areas to determine the effect of every sharpness adjustment. While you won’t need super-fine details on your social media photos, you can make a huge difference for pictures you intend to enlarge and print.

Keep in mind that sharpening your image won’t turn the out-of-focus shot into an in-focus shot – no photo editing software is capable of doing this. Besides, excessive sharpening can create an unnatural halo effect around the objects on your image frame.

6.    Finalize Your Image

After following all our steps on how to edit hiking photos, set the images aside. Come back to them later and examine them closely to see if they are appealing enough. If you are not happy with any details, make some additional adjustments where needed.

If the images are in RAW format, you might want to convert them into JPG to save some space – RAW files are usually large. Always save the edited images alongside their original versions, just in case you need to refer to the originals in the future.

Globo Surf Overview

With the above steps, making your hiking images more appealing should be much easier. However, keep in mind that the easiest images to edit are those that are taken by a skilled photographer who takes his/her time to get an exceptional shot. Taking your time to perfect your photo taking skills can make following instructions on how to edit hiking photos much easier for you.