How to Get the Best Out of Editor’s Image Filters

Even the best photography can benefit from a little filtering in an image editor. For example, changing the exposure or color cast can add emphasis to one element of the image or create a whole new mood. Whether you want to edit an image for aesthetic reasons or need to make a change to match your branding, our graphic design tool, Shutterstock Editor, has you covered. Here is a step-by-step overview of how to use Editor’s built-in image filters.
Select Your Image and Think About the Message You Want to Convey
To get started, open Shutterstock Editor and choose your preset size, or pull up a template. By selecting your canvas size first, you will get a better idea of what the finished product will look like as you work on it. To add an image, click on the search icon in the canvas level toolbar on the left, which lets you search Shutterstock’s vast library of beautiful, royalty-free images. If you would rather upload an image from your computer, click on the uploads icon at the bottom of the canvas toolbar.
Once you have selected an image that reflects your idea, move on to the filtering menu by clicking on the filter icon on the object toolbar above the canvas. It looks like two overlapping circles. If you don’t see this toolbar, make sure you have your image selected. When you pull up the filters and effects pane, you will see a range of filter choices with thumbnail previews. Click on one to apply it to your image. Click on the compare button to toggle back and forth between the filtered image and the original. To clear a filter, click on the reset button at the bottom of the pane.
Adjust Brightness and Saturation
Now that you’ve found a filter you like, you may want to customize the image even further. In the advanced section of the filters and effects pane, you’ll find sliders to adjust your image manually. One of the most basic things you can do to perk up your project in an image editor is change the brightness. To increase the brightness, simply slide to the right. To decrease, slide to the left. Using the brightness slider will brighten up mostly the image’s mid-tones, whereas the exposure slider will change the overall exposure equally, sometimes resulting in blown-out highlights. Play with the sliders to figure out which effect works best for you.
Like brightness and exposure, saturation is another key player in the overall vibe of an image. Pumping up the saturation will make the colors pop, but a little goes a long way. Decreasing the saturation will mute the colors, all the way down to grayscale.
Consider Adding Blur or Upping the Contrast
Adding a bit of blur to an image can help create an unobtrusive background, especially if you plan to add text later. Adding a tiny bit of blur can soften the picture just enough to create a dreamy, romantic atmosphere, but again, a little goes a long way. Conversely, if you want to increase or decrease definition without losing image clarity, try using the contrast slider to get the effect you want.
Add Vignette and Other Special Effects
A vignette is a classic sign of an old photograph. It’s that gentle dark halo that you’ll often see around the edges of an antique image, and adding a vignette to a contemporary image is a sure way to create that old-time feeling. Used sparingly, this feature can bring subtle emphasis to the subject of an image.
Start Editing and Filtering Your Images Today
Once you start using Shutterstock’s graphic design tool, you’ll see how easy it is to customize photos to get exactly the look you want. Play around with the filters and the advanced sliders, and see how much one image can change with these simple edits.

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