Photo editing tutorials

This week focuses on editing and manipulating photographs in GIMP, Affinity Photo, and Photoshop.

There are many software tutorials on YouTube, covering different kinds of programs, and catering to different levels of ability or comfort. The majority of tutorials tend to focus on intermediate and advanced techniques, designed for users who already have some familiarity with the programs. However, there are also tutorials pitched to the novice user.

Having in-house photo retouching and video editing capabilities may allow you to develop more responsive, spontaneous social media campaigns. It can make sense for members of your team to develop basic photo- and video-editing skills. This week will share an overview of three options for photo editing; next week will focus on video.


GIMP, or ‘GNU Image Manipulation Program’, is a free, open-source photo manipulation application. Its user interface is not as sleek as some other options, but it offers the same breadth of features and will enable to you accomplish your editing goals. GIMP is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

GIMP’s own website offers a range of advice and tutorials.

As an introduction to what GIMP can do, here are two demonstrations of techniques from YouTubers:

How to use layers, filters, and other tools to manipulate the exposure of a photograph:

How to replace the background of an image, to create an element for a graphic design project:


Affinity Photo is a versatile photo-editing and illustration program, aimed at graphic design professionals and available at a fraction of the cost of Adobe Photoshop. Its parent company has produced an extensive list of task-specific tutorial videos, hosted on Vimeo. Affinity Photo is currently available for Mac only, but a Windows beta is in the works.

Video introductions to Affinity Photo:

One of Affinity’s own videos, this tutorial is both a general overview of the basics of retouching photos, and how that can be achieved through this application:

A user-made video, organised as a top-ten list of things ‘beginners want to know’:


Adobe Photoshop is the most well-known photo editing software. Its name is synonymous with photo manipulation; the Oxford English Dictionary Online records that the earliest uses of the verb ‘to Photoshop’ and adjective ‘Photoshopped’ occurred in the early 1990s.

It is widely used, and known as an industry standard, but it is also expensive. Photoshop is available for Mac and Windows.

As Photoshop is so popular, there are many tutorial videos offering demonstrations of different techniques and features. The vast majority of these presume some familiarity with photo software, though some do start from scratch.

A demonstration of how to retouch a photo, from the perspective of a professional photographer:

An overview of Photoshop’s many drawing tools: