First Steps in Photo Editing

Some Easy Techniques

Editing photographs may sound like a tricky proposition, more the concern of professional photographers than Mere Mortals. But do not be dissuaded. There are some very simple techniques that can vastly improve your experiences.

Reducing Size (Resize)

Modern Digital Cameras, even the lesser varieties built into Smart Phones, produce high quality images. And when we hear the words “high quality”, we should always be aware that this also means “high memory usage”. A more detailed photograph takes up more Memory than a less detailed one. You have probably seen cameras advertised as “12 Megapixels”, “20 Megapixels” etc. Now, we know from our Glossary that that Mega means 1,000,000 (or 10^6). Pixels are the “dots” that make up the picture. The more “dots”, the higher quality the image, but also the more Memory the image takes up (as the computer has to record the colour of each separate “dot”.

If you wish to email several photos to someone, you may find that your email provider balks at the idea of including multiple high-memory files. We can get around this by reducing their quality. If the pictures will be viewed on a Monitor, this will not cause any problems.

Searching for the paint app
Searching for the paint app

Go to the Search Bar on your Task Bar, and type “Paint”. This will bring up a menu, headed with the “Paint” program (or App). Click on it to open the Program. From the “File” menu (top left), select “Open”, and find your File. You will probably notice that you can only see a small amount of the image!

Move to the View ribbon (This is the “Paint” ribbon, very similar to the File Explorer ribbon,  but with dedicated Paint functions) and select “Zoom Out” until you can see the whole image. This will probably be Two Clicks.

Note that we have NOT altered the image yet! We have just changed the way we are looking at it!

Now look at the Home ribbon, and find “Resize”. Click to open the “Resize and Skew” Window. (We are not interested in Skewing our photograph today!). 

We are looking to reduce the Image to about 1/3 of the original, which will

Resize and Skew Window
Resize and Skew Window

reduce its memory Size to almost a tenth of the original size! Make sure that “Percentage” is selected, rather than telling Paint to use a particular number of Pixels. Enter “30” into the Horizontal box. Assuming that the “Maintain aspect ratio” box is ticked, you will see the Vertical box adjust to the same figure you entered into Horizontal (unless you would like to “squish” the image by reducing one dimension, but not the other!). Click OK, and you will see that the image shrinks! Go to View -> 100%, and the image should just about fit on the screen.

Go to File -> Save As , and save your edited photo using a new name (I often just add “-small” to the end of the existing name).

NOTE: If you use “Save” rather than “Save As…”, or do not alter the file-name, you will over-write the original photo, and never be able to use the full-quality version again!

If you now close Paint, and open File Explorer, you can navigate to your Photo, and see that you have 2 versions. The original, and the edited one. Hovering over them will show you a Tool-Tip, including the Size. You should notice that the edited one is approximately 10 times smaller! All that saving, for a tiny reduction in quality (that will never be noticed, unless you zoom in to look at details).

Reducing Size (Crop)

Another way of reducing the Memory size of an image is to reduce what is in the image! You can trim off the edges of an image, to focus on the actual subject!

Again, open Paint, and open your Image.

Tim Toady* rears his head again, and suggests the you try opening File Explorer, right-clicking on your File and Choosing Open With -> Paint

Select and Crop
Select and Crop

On the Home ribbon, you should see “Select”. Click here, and the Mouse Pointer will change to a Cross (You may often see the Pointer change, to reflect the current Tool or Function! Keep an eye on this!). You are now able to select an area of the image by Dragging the Cross, and letting go when the Frame is in the right place. If you make a mistake here, do not worry. Nothing has been changed! You can click on a blank area outside of the Image to clear the selection. Now click “Crop”, and watch the image change, removing the areas outside of the selection!

Again, use File -> Save As, give the file a new name (I add -crop to the end) and you have saved a copy that takes up less space!

A good use for this “Cropping” is to remove unwanted parts of a picture! For example, my picture of the Fox’s Glacier Mints plaque has far too much brickwork! I crop it to make it just the plaque!

Just the Plaque
Just the Plaque


Sometime you will open an image to find it is on its side, or upside-down! Do not despair! You will not have to ask your audience to lie on their side, or do handstands to view your pictures!

Open the image in Paint (Tip: Once you have it visible in the Search menu, as described above, right-click it, and select “Pin to Taskbar” so that it is easily-available at the bottom of your screen!).

The Rotate Button
The Rotate Button

On the Home ribbon you will see the “Rotate” button. Clicking here will give you a menu to choose from. Select the required option (or keep selecting ones, until the image is the correct way up!), and then Save As.


As always, it is a good idea to practice these techniques, to become familiar with them, before moving on to more advanced features!

Why not let me know how you get one with this!


*TIMTOWTDI – There Is More Than One Way To Do It!