I used Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 to edit all of my photographs, but you can always use free software such as GIMP. All of my examples or suggestions can be found in Adobe Photoshop Elements or any full version of Photoshop. Think of this as more of a show and tell with a more in depth look of how to perform these actions in my post on How to Edit Photos.
I first wanted to show everyone an example of how easy it is to change the color of an item in a photograph. In one of my photographs, I had an adorable one-year old with pink accents to her outfit that had a gorgeous shot by some red flowers. I was able to avoid the clash by altering the red with Hue and Saturation.
From another photo shoot, I metered my camera to match the lighting for the beautiful blue sky. The shot was panned far away as a wide angle, so when I snapped the shot, there wasn't enough light to see the client in the photograph. In editing the photo, I was able to make the blue sky pop and you could clearly see the client with some increase in light for the midtones.
Finally, I want to address some editing that everyone would love to have done to their photos. I know that I would love it to be done to every one of mine. This edit is to cover up any blemishes on the face. There is no need to be haunted by acne, scars, etc. for the rest of your life.
In this photograph of Sierra, she had a scar on her forehead from an accidental scratch she had received a few months back. Because the photo is a close-up, I did not want the scar to be a focal point of the photograph. Here is how I made her face look flawless: I used the Spot Healing Brush Tool.
Most editing programs have named this feature something similar, so you should have no trouble finding it on your program. The key to using this feature is to adjust the size of the brush head to be only slightly larger than the spot you are "healing." So, with the scar on her forehead, I adjusted the brush and painted over the scar. I suggest you do it in small brush strokes at first. A single brush stroke will usually make the adjustment, but small strokes can make the edit look more natural.
Keep in mind that the Spot Healing Brush is just cloning the photo. Prior to making you first brush stroke, you will need to select an area of the photograph you wish to clone. You will place the brush head on an area of the face where the skin is unaffected. Make sure that the skin color (due to the lighting) matches the area you are going to "heal." On Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, you then hold down the ALT-key and that makes the selection for the area you wish to clone. Now you are ready to make the brush strokes on your blemishes. Take your time and do not make your strokes too long because you can distort the image. You don't want the person in the photo to have a skin-colored smudge in the middle of your face.
Editing with the Spot Healing Brush is the quick and easy way to have a flawless face in a photograph. It takes a lot of trial and error, as well as, patience to get the edit just right, so be prepared to take a while on your first photo. For Sierra, I was able to get rid of the scar and make the color of her eyes pop by increasing the saturation.
Editing a photograph even if it's just making it darker or lighter can work wonders and make it look even better than straight from the camera. I suggest that everyone at least take the time to follow my steps for editing a photograph to get all of your photos ready for printing.