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Easily Edit and Fix Your Listing Photos

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As a reseller of clothes, sneakers, and accessories online, you know how important great listing photos are to your sales results. Even with an incredible photo studio or set-up, you’ll likely still need to fix your photos by adjusting light, tone, saturation, contrast, brightness, or more, in order to make them look truly professional. Don’t worry, we’ve got your covered!

Different photo editing apps call the group of Adjustment Tools (and even the individual tools within the group) by slightly different names, but regardless of what photo editing app or photography software that you’re using, the end result, and how the settings work for each of these photo editing adjustment tools are largely similar. We’ll list the name variations for each tool to make it easier for you to apply these tips across a wide range of photo editing apps.

If you want to learn how to create listing photos that sell including all the angles you should be capturing, please check out the article in the Genius Portal.

If you’re not sure which photo editing app to use, and want to learn more about the ones that we use all the time, check out this article.


Before We Start Fixing & Editing…

This article is going to teach you about easy and quick ways to fix your photos after you have taken them. If you want to learn how to take the best listing photos, photos that really help you sell your items quicker and for more money, then you should go back to the Genius Portal, and read our article “How to Take Listing Photos that Sell” before diving into this one.

If you’re not sure which photo editing app to use and want to learn more about the ones that we love and use all the time, you can learn more by reading about our favorite Photo Editing Apps in the Genius Portal in the article “The Best Photo Editing Apps for Resale Listing Photography”

If you want to skip ahead. to download our condensed how-to guide before we get started, just click the button below. It will take you to the end of this article where you can download the free Adjustment Tools Editing and Fixing Photos Cheat Sheet.

What Will You Learn?


Post-production photo editing, particularly Lighting and Tone Adjustments, can fix many of the common issues that sellers make when taking pictures of their items for resale. Whether you have a professional photo studio or no set-up at all, these tips will help you improve the quality and appearance of your photos. 


In this article, you’ll learn what each photo-editing setting does, as well as the “general” recommended settings for each tool specifically geared towards making your resale listing photos look spectacular. We will cover the following topics:

  • All the different types of adjustment tools, their names, and common name variations
  • What each tool actually does to your photo
  • The photo adjustment tools you should use the most, and which ones are better left alone
  • The suggested settings for each adjustment tool for editing and fixing your photos
  • A quick and easy cheat sheet that you can use to help you fix or edit your photos in less than a minute
  • By the end of this article, you’ll be able to use photo editing adjustments to fix common issues such as: too dark, too light, weird color tones, grainy, not enough detail, photo doesn’t “pop,” and more, to create professional-looking photos


Photo Editing Adjustment Tools

Keep in mind you always want to adjust your photo in moderation, so that the end result doesn’t actually look edited. You want the appearance of great lighting and want the true colors to show up. Compare your edited photo to the item in real life. Never hide flaws or change it so much that it looks like a different item or different color.

We will go into detail on each adjustment tool below and will share what settings we use the most. Feel free to try these out with your photos to see if they work for you. Although we share the typical ranges for each setting, be sure to play around with each tool setting and slider to see how they affect your own photo.

Note: If an adjustment has multiple names these are the common variations that this tool may be called in different photo editing apps.

  1. Auto-Adjust/ Looks/Magic Wand
  2. Exposure
  3. Contrast
  4. Brightness
  5. Highlights
  6. Shadows
  7. Light
  8. Dark
  9. Saturation
  10. Vibrance
  11. Brilliance
  12. Luminance
  13. Ambiance (Snapseed only)
  14. Black Point
  15. Noise Reduction
  16. Sharpness / Structure / Clarity
  17. Definition / Detail
  18. Temperature / Warmth
  19. Tint

1. Auto-Adjust / Looks / Magic Wand

This feature allows you to fix the most common issues with listing photography, without having to re-take all your photos!  Auto-adjustment means that the app will adjust the images for you, automatically. After using the adjust feature and then tweaking the results enough times, you’ll probably end up coming up with your very own “go-to” adjustment levels. These will differ depending on your light source, and the way you take your pics, your natural lighting, and your camera, etc.

TIP:  use the “Auto-adjust, and then play around with each of the settings after the fact to fine-tune it. I rarely use the auto-adjust without some fine-tuning of my own afterward.

2. Exposure

Exposure is the amount of light that enters the camera lens and can be adjusted before taking the photo (if using a fancy camera) but can also be adjusted after. Unlike brightness which lightens up all the pixels, exposure just lightens the highlighted areas. Use carefully because too much will create grainy noise.

Exposure Settings: -3 to 3

3. Contrast 

Contrast makes the light areas lighter and the dark areas darker. It makes details clearer and gives photos a nice boost.

Contrast settings: 0 to 7

4. Brightness

Controls all the pixels, and makes them lighter if you increase brightness, and darker if you decrease brightness. I typically always increase the brightness. Less so when shooting in bright natural daylight.

Brightness settings: 10-60

5. Highlights

Lowering the highlights recovers details in “too-bright areas,” raising it will lift the overall brightness of your image. I usually lower it only, with the exception of when I have a white background with some wrinkles or shadows that I want to entirely remove, and in that case, I may increase it above zero.

Highlight settings: -10 to +5

6. Shadows

Increasing shadows will recover details in “too dark areas.” Sometimes increasing shadows is a better way to brighten up a photo than the brightness slider, but the two in tandem is what I think works best.

Shadows Settings: 0 to 50

7. Light

This is a combo of brightness and contrast, you’re better off adjusting these independently.

Rarely Used

8. Dark

This is a combo of brightness and contrast, you’re better off adjusting these independently.

Rarely Used

9. Saturation

This boosts all colors and can help improve photos that look washed out. but use in moderation because a red /warm tinge will appear if you use too much. If you really like the color and it makes the item look more like the real-life color, then you can temper it by adjusting the temperature down.

Saturation settings: -10 to not more than 25

10. Vibrance

Like Saturation but it only increases the saturation of less saturated colors. I quite like this one, even better than Saturation. You can also turn it negative to remove that warm orange tint or use it in combination with the warmth slider. The great thing is that it typically will not make skin tones over-saturated.

Vibrance settings: -5 to 20

11. Brilliance

The Brilliance tool is great for bringing out details and making your photo look richer and more vibrant. Drag the slider right to brighten shadows and darken highlights. If you drag left, the shadows will become darker and the highlights brighter.

Brilliance settings: -10 to +60

TIP: This is available in your iPhones photo app. Brilliance is a cool combo tool. It brightens shadows, tones down highlights, and regulates contrast making details clearer and images pop.

12. Luminance

Luminance adjusts the intensity of light in direct relation to color (how much light or “luminance” is emitted from each color). Increasing luminance artificially ‘brightens’ the color but it is not the same as “Brightness” as that tool is totally different.

Luminance settings: varies

TIP: increasing the Luminance can make a sunny day, sunnier.

13. Ambiance

Ambiance is a special type of contrast that controls the balance of light in a photo. It can be used to balance backlit photos or to accentuate contrasts throughout your photo. If your item is darker than the background, increase Ambiance. Decrease Ambiance to increase the contrast of dark objects and create a slight glow around darker objects. This is especially helpful in close-up photos of black clothing

Ambiance settings: varies

14. Black Point

The Black Point tool affects the brightness of only the darkest tones in your photo. If your photo lacks rich black tones, drag the slider to the right to make the darkest areas appear black. Dragging to the left will make the dark areas appear faded.

Black Point settings: varies

15. Noise Reduction

The Noise Reduction tool reduces “digital noise” – such as grain caused by shooting in low light. You can also get grain in your photos when editing, e.g., if you brighten the shadows too much. If you have a grainy or “noisy” photo, drag the slider right to reduce the noise. Use sparingly or risk your photo details becoming muted.

Noise Reduction settings: varies

16. Sharpness / Structure / Clarity

Sharpness, structure, and clarity more or less do the same thing; they add contrast along edges of high contrast, creating the appearance of sharpness. That said, the three tools tend to do this with different edge sizes inside the photo. Clarity does it to large edges, structure to small edges, and sharpness to tiny edges. These sharpness tools tend to accentuate or create details that don’t look natural, and therefore I rarely use them.

Sharpness / Structure / Clarity settings: varies

TIP: Use sharpening to reduce blurriness, but be careful because it will appear sharper but the noise may increase 

17. Definition / Detail

The Definition tool adds contour and shape as well as mid-tone definition and local contrast. Increasing it will add clarity to the image by removing layers of haze. This will make colors more saturated and increase the contrast a little.

Definition settings: varies

TIP: use “definition” adjustments to make hazy pictures more brilliant

18. Temperature / Warmth

My photos sometimes look too warm (too orange) which is a pet peeve, so I typically find myself lowering this a touch. The more you decrease it, the bluer the tones appear, so it can help you get rid of a yellow/orange tone. Be careful though because if you go too far the photo will look blue-tinted and dingy.

Temperature Settings:  -10 to 0

19. Tint / Color

Tint allows you to add a color tint or change the overall color tint in a photo. Fully decreased it will add a green tint, fully increased it will add a magenta tint (with various color tints in between). I don’t use this very often however if you notice the colors are off in your photo, making your item look a different color than the item in real life, (especially after doing the other edits), you can sometimes fix it by using the tint adjustment tool. You probably won’t use this tool often, if at all. 

Fixing Photos Cheatsheet

Download the following Resell Genius guide which summarizes all of the photo adjustment suggested settings and tips in a handy cheat sheet.  This PDF document will help you easily fix or edit your photos in less than a minute

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