How to Edit Images in a Professional, Aesthetically-Pleasing Way

Hi, friends. Today’s post centers on some tips and tricks for image editing. I see edited images primarily on websites and social media accounts belonging to businesses or individuals. I wish some of those people could read this post…yikes! πŸ˜‰

Without further ado, here are some tips for editing images in a way that looks professional and aesthetically-pleasing. [BTW, if you’re wondering, I majored in English in college, but I took courses and had a job related to graphic design, or as they liked to phrase it, “digital rhetoric.” I compose the quarterly newsletter for a volunteer organization currently.]

Symmetry

When editing an image, symmetry is foundational. Our brains detect asymmetry almost instantly. In this context, accomplishing symmetry will mean aligning the text in the center of the image, like the phrase “Blogging Tips & Tricks” in the featured image of this post.

The rules aren’t inflexible, though. If the focal point of the image is off-center, you could place the title beside that focal point, as long as the illusion of symmetry remains (see photo below).

I recently learned about “the rule of thirds,” which states that one should mentally divide a picture into three columns with three rows (nine squares) and line objects up in the intersections. Since learning about that, I try to bear it in mind.

Colors & Fonts

Don’t use dark-on-dark or light-on-light

This tip seems obvious to me, but people do it all the time! [My fiancee collects movies, and I noticed that they do this a lot on the back of DVD cases.] So, here I am to reiterate it–don’t use black text on dark blue…don’t use white on light pink…don’t edit your images in a way that forces people to squint their eyes.

Consider the significance of color combinations

Firstly, use the color wheel. Colors opposite of each other “pop” the best, but similar colors (like my pink and purple) can look nice, too. This “color wheel calculator” helps users create harmonious color schemes.

Secondly, avoid color combos that are associated with a popular brand or product. This can be global or depend on where you live. Since I live in the US, I instantly think “America” when I see red, white, and blue, but the same could apply in other countries with their flag colors. An example of a global color combo to avoid is bright red + bright yellow (McDonald’s).

Borrowed from kindlevision.com. Bear in mind that these are subjective at the end of the day. If you search “meaning of colors,” you end up with 100 different pictures which all say something a little different. There is definitely overlap, though.

Thirdly, consider how colors provoke different ideas and emotions; blue is soothing, green relates to nature, yellow feels warm and happy, red seems urgent and/or passionate, etc. Avoid bright colors that may be off-putting, like barbie pink or neon green (unless flamboyancy is part of your vibe/aesthetic.).

Prioritize readability & choose a font that reflects the mood

how to choose the right font

As you choose fonts, think of the vibe/aesthetic you want to evoke and try to find one that mirrors that. Fonts that look relatively basic and are easy to read work best for most situations (though I like ones with a hint of flair). Cursive fonts can be nice occasionally, but I tend to steer clear because readability is the most important factor. With calligraphy, remember that some fonts seem more neutral, while many of them feel distinctly feminine.

Tint the image to complement the fonts/branding

This tip, in my opinion, gets to the crux of why so many edited images look “wrong” without being able to put a finger on the reason. If the tint of an image doesn’t synthesize with the color of the fonts/logos/etc. edited on top of it, the image looks “off.” I will demonstrate by posting a featured image to an old post followed by the same image without the colors tinted–

Thanks for reading! I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know what you think of these tips or if you’d add any others in the comments.

4 comments

  1. I wondered why even the most basic image editors include tints or ‘filters’. The ‘rule of three’ looks useful too… Sometimes you don’t realise why something looks wrong. (Always worth experimenting with though. I learned recently is what a difference a slight tilt can make to a portrait photo). Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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