One of the biggest secrets behind those fantastic images photographers post on social media? Just a bit of editing. Here are our tips on how to edit your family photos–quick and easy!


Especially if you’re planning to print, cut your photo down to the size you want, such as an 8×10. You can leave out wasted space or unwanted backgrounds this way. Be careful to pay attention to the rule of thirds as you crop, and frame your subjects appropriately.


Exposure issues appear everywhere in photography. There are many ways you can fix this easily, however. The below examples use Adobe Photoshop.

Option 1: Use the Levels Adjustment layer (Image>Adjustments>Layers). Move the shadow, midtones, and highlights sliders until you get the image you want. Just be careful not to lose detail in the extreme shadows or highlights! Using this window, you can also fix the white balance. Take the highlights dropper and use it to capture which tone in the photo should be pure white. You can use the shadow dropper as well to capture what should be pure black.

Option 2: Use the Shadow and Highlight tool (Image>Adjustments>Shadow Highlight). Always duplicate your Layers Adjustment layer first, since this tool could change this layer irreparably. Move the sliders to make your adjustments in tandem with the above layer, making sure to leave in the appropriate amount of detail.


Many apps come with the option to easily fix small issues like red eye. You can also use the Clone tool to help repair damage to an old photo, or to clear up acne. Use this tool on low opacity, and only on areas that don’t have much detail.

Another retouching trick you can use is adding a Gaussian blur and some layer masks to smooth skin and soften features. First, you’ll need to duplicate the image. Select Gaussian Blur from the Filters menu and adjust the slider for 8-12 pixels or below. This already is a strong blur. Then, change the opacity of this layer to 50% or so, depending on your photo. Create a layer mask to this layer (Layers>Layer Mask) and set the Foreground color to white. Use the brush (size 52, hardness 0) to restore the detail of eyes, eyebrows, and hair while leaving the skin smooth.

Don’t over-edit!

What separates the pro from the beginner is exactly how much they edit. Over-editing is a common beginner mistake that can mess up a photo. Be careful with how much you edit, and remember: it’s always better to set up your camera right when you take the shot, rather than try to fix it later.