How Photo Layer Editing Can Improve A Picture

So, you took some pictures and wondered if you can do photo layer editing to make it look better. But, you’re not sure where to start. What should you do?

How can photo layer editing improve a picture? Think of layers as thin sheets of plastics with images or texts. These layers are what you lay on top of your photo. You can edit these layers to add effects on your photo without impacting the original photo itself. You even have the option to use a layer mask to edit specific parts of your photo. Or if you think one layer doesn’t fit the whole image, you can just remove that layer without affecting your original image.

With all the available photo editing apps in the market, what are the best ones you should get this 2020? What are the tips you should keep in mind to do photo layer editing like a pro?

What is Photo Layer Editing?

Layers are exactly what they sound like. Like we mentioned above, these layers are like sheets of plastics with designs or images overlaid on top of each other. These layers could either be clear, opaque or anywhere in-between. 

Each layer could also affect a particular part of your image or create an impact on the whole picture. When you stack these layers together, you either create exacting adjustments to your image, combine images, or even create new images. Those are some of the wonders you can do once you start photo layer editing.

Other advantages of using photo layers on your next edits are as follow:

Reverse your edit anytime.

Since layers don’t affect your original image, you can either edit or remove them anytime you want. There are just some things you have to remember before doing so. 

First, you need to have a foundation layer. This layer is very important so you have to pay close attention to creating this one. Second, you need to overlay it with a retouching layer. And lastly, you have to top it off with other added objects like gradient filters, lens flares, etc.

Yes, you can do these edits on a single layer, but we suggest that do create a separate layer for each one of them. That way, if you think a specific edit doesn’t fit the image, you can just remove it. Or depending on the photo editing app you’re using, you can reduce that layer’s visibility.

Turn off layers’ visibility.

Let’s say it’s your first time doing photo layer editing. There are lots of effects to choose from and you tried them all. Well, almost all of them. Now, your finished product is now starting to look grainy. What should you do?

You can turn off the visibility of one or two layers that you created. Now, do you get why we suggest creating separate layers for each edit? (*nods*)

This way, you can see which of the layers you created would fit well with your image.

Experiment with transparency, layer blending, and multi-exposure.

With the Opacity and Mode settings, you can create multiple effects on each layer. This is where you use your skills in creating those retouching layers. Just have fun with this feature and be creative with your photo layer edits.

As for the Exposure feature, most photo editing apps automatically create multi-exposures. But you can’t always rely on automated tools. So, it would be a good practice to adjust the photo exposure yourself. That way, you can achieve that drama you’re aiming for. Also, you can hone your photo editing skills.

It's a good practice to adjust the photo exposure yourself.

Add texts, shapes or pictures later at any time.

Sometimes we have this urge to make final changes at the last minute even if it meant starting all over again. Thank you, Murphy’s law, for this uncalled-for anxiety. (rolls eyes)

Good thing, with this photo layer editing, you can also turn off layers or edit objects on those layers if necessary. That is why it’s really important to create a separate layer for each text, shape or picture you plan to lay on your photos.

Use layer masking wisely.

Every time you create a new layer, you will have the option to do layer masking, as well. What is that? With layer masking, you can isolate a specific part of your photo to edit. On most apps, the part you can edit is marked white and the part you can’t touch is marked black. 

Not only can you edit specific parts, but you can also fine-tune your edits. With the Selection brush you can fix any overlaps and imprecision you will find on your photos. Just use this wisely. And make sure to highlight the part you want to edit, or else, you might edit the whole image. And, you wouldn’t want that.

Some people think that photo layer editing is so complex, so they won’t even try it. But, anything that’s new to you is difficult at first. You just have to practice doing it until you get used to it – just like photo layer editing. It may be complicated at first but just keep on practicing it. Who knows? You might become a pro at it in no time!

Best Photo Editing Apps For iOS

With all the available photo editing apps in the market, what are the best ones you should get this 2020? Below is the list we’ve compiled for you to choose from.

  1. Snapseed
  2. VSCO
  3. Prisma Photo Editor
  4. Adobe Photoshop Express
  5. Foodie
  6. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC
  7. Photo Collage
  8. Adobe Photoshop Fix
  9. Visage
  10. Enlight Photofox

Editing Techniques to Try Right Now

Now that you have the choices of which app to use, let us walk you through the editing techniques you must start practicing right now.

1. Flatten out your image in RAW.

If you’re using Photoshop in editing your photos, it is best to open your images in Camera Raw. In this way, you can color temperature and exposure if you need to. 

To flatten out your image, set the highlights slider between -30 to -80 and the shadows slider between +30 to +80. You will then notice your image looking a little dull, boring,  and ugly. But that’s okay. You can now paint a vivid picture on a clean canvas. 

If you’re using Photoshop in editing your photos, it is best to open your images in Camera Raw.

2. Use the healing brush.

With the healing brush, you can remove any pimples, inconsistencies on the skin on person subjects. You can also use this on removing distractions on the background of landscapes or sports shots. 

You’ll be amazed by the difference this can make when you get rid of distractions on backgrounds. Attention to detail is important here. 

3. Learn to dodge and burn.

There are lots of ways to dodge and burn in photo layer editing. The least destructive way is using one curve adjustment layer set to a brighter exposure and one set to a darker exposure. Then, with the layer mask and brushes, you can dodge and burn where you see fit. 

When you dodge and burn an image, you can set them to affect the shadows, mid-tones, or highlights. You can also even out skin tones or other parts of the image and darken or lighten one side of the image. Why not try to create a sense of depth by having a transition from dark to light in some of your images? This, in effect, will make your subject pop. 

Related Questions

What is a layer style?

A layer style is one or more effects you apply to a layer or layer group. You can apply one of the preset styles provided on the photo editing app or create a custom style using the Layer Style dialog box.

What are the types of layers?

Photo editing apps offer five kinds of layers: image, adjustment, fill, shape, and type. If you’re new to photo layer editing, you’ll probably spend a lot of time learning about and creating image layers. But just keep on practicing and your efforts will surely be paid off in no time.