Tag Archives: graphic design

Photo Editing for Amateurs: Discovering Canva

photo editing softwareIn late 2014 and early 2015 I wrote a series of posts about photo editing that focused on software and techniques to make good photos even better.  In the first post I covered photo editing software and introduced numerous programs and apps that offer a variety of functions in varying degrees of difficulty (click here to read that post).  Recently I discovered a program that, in my opinion, is the best of the best for amateur photo editing.  It’s called Canva Photo Editor.  And it’s awesome!  Canva Photo Editor is a FREE online photo editing program and it is exceptionally easy to use.  I opened the page and within 30 seconds I was working on a photo.  The homepage of the app features a big green “Upload” button in the center.  Click on that or drag a photo file onto the screen and you’re in business.

Fun Photo Filters

photo editing softwareMy image loaded quickly and the fun began!  Canva Photo Editor offers a number of tools to enhance and modify photographs, and they start with Filters.  I chose to play with a flattering selfie and it was fun and easy to click through the various filters to see what each did to my portrait.  Eventually I settled on “Edge” because, well, I’m nothing if not edgy!

Brightness, Contrast and Saturation

photo editing softwareWhen I clicked on the Edge filter I liked what it did to the look of the image but it also made it a little to bright for my taste.  No problem!  All I had to do was click on the “Adjust” icon and I was presented with sliders to adjust for Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation.  I LOVE sliders in photo editing software!  They make it so easy to make adjustments while watching the effects on the image.  On this pic I decreased the brightness and bumped up the contrast and saturation.

Simple Cropping

photo editing softwareI was satisfied with the look I created so I moved on to the Crop tool.  If you don’t do a lot of photo editing, cropping a photo can cause a brain cramp.  Not in the Canva Photo Editor!  Above the image you’ll find boxes that link to several aspect ratios, and you can click on each to see how a pic will look cropped to that ratio.  From there you simply grab the handle in one of the corners and drag the ratio box in and out until you like the look.  It’s that simple!  Though I would have liked to have additional options (like 4:5 to make 8×10 prints or 851×315 pixels to create a Facebook cover photo), those that are there will work in a lot of scenarios.

Easy Resizing

Sometimes I need to change the physical size of a photo.  In more complicated photo editing software that requires multiple actions.  In the Canva Photo Editor it is handled simply by clicking on the Resize icon and typing in the size you need.

Flip Flop

photo editing softwarePerhaps my favorite function in Canva is the Flip feature.  With one click I changed my right-leaning head tilt to a left-leaner.  I turned myself upside down too!  This can be useful when trying to make a photo fit into a design but a person or object is placed in a spot that doesn’t work.  Move them!

When I finished making magic I clicked on the Download button in the upper right and was able to easily save my masterpiece.  The software also gave me the option of checking out the Canva app.  Canva describes itself as “Amazingly Simple Graphic Design Software”, and I can attest that they are not exaggerating.  But that is a story for another day!

If you love taking photos and/or like to use them on social media but have a little intimidated by photo editing software I highly recommend that you check out Canva Photo Editor.  You’ll find it’s easy to use and produces great results – and the price is right!  Give it a try and have fun!