Image editing (for your travel pictures)

Dear Diary,

have you mastered the basics of photography and taken some wonderful (vacation) photos? Great, now it's time to edit your photos!

Because with the right image editing, you can get even more out of your photos and get creative. Do you want to create a certain mood in your picture? Or would you rather have radiantly beautiful pictures? No problem! Because you can create any of your desired effects with the help of the right image editing programs!

Paid vs. free image editing programs

There are thousands of image editing programs out there. Many are free, some cost money. But what's the best choice for you? One thing is clear: you have to pay for the really good image editing programs! Because only then will you really have access to all the functions (e.g. color grading, area repair, etc.). If you would like to edit your photos in a professional manner, then you should ideally buy one of the following programs. However, if you just want to try your hand at photo editing, you can also get a lot out of some free versions!

Paid image editing programs


I have a Creative Cloud subscription with all Adobe applications. The two most important programs for photo editing are Photoshop and Lightroom. With Photoshop, you can actually do everything you can imagine in terms of image editing. In other words, you can edit the lights and colors, retouch objects out of the image or add them to the image and much, much more. With Photoshop, you can turn your image into a real work of art if you want to. Lightroom, on the other hand, is primarily intended for color and light editing. You can also carry out small retouching jobs. The program is easier to use than Photoshop for the average user. That's why I mostly use Lightroom. I try to keep our photos realistic anyway and not tinker around too much.

To make our work with Lightroom even easier, we have created presets with certain light and color settings that fit a particularly large number of photos (so-called presets). We can therefore always apply the appropriate preset to our photos and usually only have to make small changes to our photos. This often saves us a lot of work and therefore time! If you are not so experienced in photo editing yourself, you can also buy such presets from various creators. You can use them to give your pictures a good look and only have to make small adjustments (e.g. increase brightness). When buying, just make sure that you buy the presets to suit your project. For example, if you have primarily taken photos in the mountains, presets of beach photos are of little use to you.

Luminar 4

In addition to the image editing programs from Adobe, there is also Luminar 4, which combines Photoshop and Lightroom, so to speak. However, there are a few differences here and there. Luminar 4 is particularly user-friendly and easy to use. Luminar 4 also allows you to change the entire sky with just one click using “Sky Replacement”, for example - from gray clouds to bright sunshine. Luminar 4 is therefore particularly suitable for beginners. However, we opted for the complete package from Adobe, as it also includes video and design editing programs. There are also some “professional tools” in Lightroom and Photoshop that we like to use. Furthermore, the Adobe programs have been on the market for years, so most of the presets & co. are geared towards Lightroom. However, it would sometimes be worth buying both programs. Because you only pay once for Luminar 4 anyway (a fair price in my opinion). Most professionals therefore have both programs.

Before (unedited): Taken with the iPhone.

After: Color and light adjustment with Lightroom, cropping correction with Photoshop.

Free image editing programs

Adobe Mobile

You can already get the classics from Adobe for your smartphone or tablet for free. Photoshop Express and Lightroom Mobile cost nothing. Although some functions are missing in the free versions, the most important functions are free. What's more, most of the presets work perfectly with the mobile functions.

I particularly like Lightroom Mobile for light and color editing and Photoshop Express for retouching and selective editing.


You can change the sky with just one click with Luminar 4? You can do the same with Lightleap - even for free! Overall, Lightleap is suitable for creative work (e.g. conjuring up rainbows in the image) and for quick object removal (e.g. removing a small annoyance in the image). Some features are free with Lightleap, but for some you need the Pro version, which then costs money.


The best format for posting pictures on Instagram is 5x4. But unfortunately you only have one picture in landscape format and cropping would destroy the entire picture? No problem! You can easily extend your picture - with Snapseed! With the help of the free app, you can, for example, expand the sky so that the desired section fits into the 5x4 format. The program also contains several filters (presets, so to speak) and other useful functions such as selective editing, perspective editing, a repair mode for retouching and a function to give your picture a retro look!


VSCO lets you edit your images quickly and easily using many different filters! You can also use the classics of image editing: Brightness, Contrast & Co. VSCO is therefore very suitable for quick edits!

Incidentally, you can also share your pictures on VSCO and discover the pictures of the community (similar to Instagram).


Would you prefer to edit your pictures creatively? Then PicsArt is a good app for you. Here you can conjure up effects and drawings in your picture and create collages.

Programs from your phone

Admittedly, I have often simply edited many of my photos using the original program on my iPhone. Because here, too, you can edit the essential light settings and play around a bit with the colors. There are also integrated filters, some of which are not bad at all. Although the editing program on my phone can do much less than Lightroom, for example, it's often enough to quickly edit an image for my story.

Before (unprocessed): Taken with the Fujifilm XT3.

After: Only replaced the sky with Lightleap.

As you can see, there are many ways to edit your pictures! But which program is best to use? I would recommend that you start by playing around with the free programs and trying them out. Among other things, you'll learn that the light settings don't just include brightness and contrast, but also shadows and highlights or black and white points. With the help of this knowledge, you can then try out one of the paid programs (for professional image editing). Because I want to be completely honest: I often try to get things for free or as cheaply as possible. I once did the same with photo editing. I'd rather download one more free program than spend money. But ever since we started using Lightroom, I would never want to edit my pictures any other way. I am totally satisfied with the entire Adobe Creative Cloud. We're even considering buying Luminar 4 as well. That would give us the best possible programs to get the best out of our pictures. If you also want to make the most of your photos, then you shouldn't save money, but invest in a good program. Take a look at what discounts you can get on Adobe products or Luminar 4! Especially as a student, you can save a lot of money!

But try it out a bit first by using free trial subscriptions to find the right solution for you!

xx Chiara