Want to edit your photos but don’t know where to begin? Learn how to use the filters and effects in Shutterstock Editor to customize your images.

Cover image via bbearlyam.

With Shutterstock Editor, you can elevate your licensed or uploaded images by adjusting the brightness, saturation, and more. To begin, simply open Editor and go to My Content (M) on the left side of the program to upload an image of your choosing, or search through our images with Search (S). I’m using this cactus, inspired by Shutterstock’s 2018 Creative Trends, to explore these adjustments. You’ll find the effects that you’ll be using on the right side of the Editor program.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Upload to Editor


Brightness

As the term indicates, brightness literally brightens the general image. Too much brightness can dilute an image with white overload, so use this slider sparingly. Negative brightness can also dull an image by adding dark tones to the overall photo. Here you can see how changing the brightness can impact an image’s appearance.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Brightness


Saturation

Saturation refers to the intensity of color in an image. An increase in saturation on a colored image intensifies the tone of each color, while desaturation decreases the value of each color. Use saturation moderately, as over-saturation can crank colors to an extreme, making your image unsightly.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Saturation


Contrast

Contrast consists of the range of darks and lights in a photograph. An image with high contrast has vibrant colors that are rich in value, while an image with low contrast might appear flat and dull. Contrast is essential to a successful image, but too much can override the quality of the photograph. Use your judgment and find that happy medium where the colors in the image stand out without fighting for attention.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Contrast


Vignette

This refers to the darkening of image corners in order to shift focus to the center of the photo. Again, you want to stray from being excessive with this slider, as the vignette can start to look unnatural and out of place like in the image below. When applied to a careful extent, a vignette can give your image that professional touch.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Vignette


Blur

As the name indicates, this slider will obscure your image by blurring it. While most users won’t utilize this slider, the blur effect is useful if you’re adding text or other elements on top of the image.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Blur


Exposure

Exposure is an essential photography term that encompasses the overall lightness and darkness of an image. Just like any other effects, there are extremes to exposure. Underexposure occurs when an image is too dark, which shows little detail throughout. Overexposure, the opposite of underexposure, happens when an image is too light, which renders an image unpleasant. Be tasteful when applying exposure and use your judgment to achieve that perfect look.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Exposure


Colorify

Colorify will literally change the color of the image. When applied, the colorify effect will add a black and white filter to the original photo with a range of color overlays, like mustard yellow.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Colorify


Hue Rotation

Hues encompass the main properties of color. This effect will alter the color entirely, encouraging you to experiment with fun color combinations. With the effect applied, my cactus gets a color makeover of blue and purple hues.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Hue Rotation


Temperature

Color temperature is another essential to creating impactful images. The warm and cool tones of a photograph change its general mood. Warm tones include orange, reds, and yellows, and cooler tones include blues, purples, and greens. By altering the overall mood, you can evoke specific reactions from the viewer. Cool tones elicit calmness, while warm tones evoke happiness. Subtle changes in color truly go a long way.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Temperature


Filters

Want to skip the Effects sliders and instead select a preset filter? Shutterstock Editor has fourteen filters to provide various appearances to your pictures, from Carbon to Sepia. You can also build onto the filters by adding effects, or reduce the intensity of the filters with the Opacity slider. If you’re unsure which filters to use, you can compare them against the original image by utilizing the Compare button right underneath the Filters tab.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Preset Filters


Save and Share

Once you’re finished customizing your image, name your file with File > Save As and save your progress down the line with Cmd+S. You can then share your image to social media, email, or via link with the Share button located at the top of the program. To download the final image, select the Download tab and choose the file format (JPG, PNG, PDF, or TIFF) and the resolution (72 or 300 dpi). I normally stick to a JPG at 72 dpi (dots per inch) for online images and a PDF at 300 dpi for print images. The higher the dots per inch, the better the resolution. Then, click Download or save the file to your Dropbox or Google Drive for easy access.

Learn How to Adjust Your Images with Effects in Shutterstock Editor — Download or Save


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