10 photo editing tips without Photoshop or Lightroom.

Not using Photoshop and Lightroom logo striked
10 photo editing tips and tricks without using Adobe Photoshop or Lightrrom

In this tutorial, I will show you how to process an image from the beginning (straight out of the camera) to the final result of my personal view of the Sergio Leone old style movie effect on the picture.

Tutorial step by step: my version of the old western style Sergio Leone photo effect with Befunky.com.

How to do my version of the spaghetti western Sergio Leone effect
How to do my version of the spaghetti western Sergio Leone effect in less than 5 minutes

For this tutorial of the 10 photo editing tips and tricks without using Lightroom or Photoshop, what do we need?

First at all, we will use BeFunky.com a free online photo editor (awarded best online photo editor 2015, just to tell you), so we need an internet connection, a web browser, a photo and... that's all !

Secondly, we need to define what we want to edit on our picture, let's say the 10 most common photo enhancement usually we do when we are processing a picture, taking in count the special photo effect we want at the end, which can be:

  1. Straighten the horizon (the first thing to do, this is the difference between "pro" and "amateur" look alike picture).
  2. Crop, re-frame and/or resize a picture (even "pros" do it all the time to adjust the final composition).
  3. Edit the white balance (on the picture the colors might be wrong, or we want to warm up or cool down the picture a little bit to add more feeling).
  4. Exposure: Lighten or darken a specific zone of the picture (if it's too bright or too dark, we need to adjust it).
  5. Reduce the noise (all those grainy things/dots on the picture, often it's when we take a picture at night without flash using high ISO setting on the camera) or blur some part of the photo, the background for example, for the subject to pop-out.
  6. Sharpen the main subject to catch the attention.
  7. Remove all the blemishes and other pimples to get a clean face.
  8. Whiten the teeth or the eyes (but is it necessary? anyway you will know how to do it).
  9. Add some vignette , I'll show you how to add vignette in few clicks to add a bit of drama in the picture.
  10. Instagram look alike effect or my personal preferred effect, I called it the "Sergio Leone Style effect" explained step by step (like that you won't ask me later how i get that effect on some of my portrait photography).

Thirdly, like i said above, and because i recommend my preferred online photo editor, which is Befunky.com, all the tutorial of the 10 step by step photo editing tips without using Photoshop Lightroom, are entirely made with this online photo editor website.

1) Straighten the horizon on a picture.

How to straighten the horizon on a picture
How to straighten the horizon on a picture

On a picture, one of the first thing which a professional photographer will look at, is if the horizon on a photograph is straight, it's not that we care, but it's a thing that jumps up to our eyes immediately, it's a kind of reflex.

So one of the first things to do, when we are editing a picture, is to check the horizon and to straighten it, if it is not horizontal.


With Befunky, it is easy as clicking and staying clicked on your pointer to move the cursor to the left or to the right, that's all!

But let's start: first at all, you need to upload your picture on the Befunky website, to do so:  choose "UPLOAD" then choose "Computer" if the picture is on your computer. Once it's done the picture will appear on the Befunky website.

  1. Be sure you are in Edit mode.
  2. Then click on Rotate.
  3. A new little window tool appear "Rotate Image", use the slider by moving the dot on the right or on the left to straighten the horizon (a grid will appear to help you).
  4. Once you are satisfied with the horizon in the background or some straight lines like in this tutorial, click on the blue checked button to apply the transformation.

2) Crop, Frame and resize the picture.

Framing the picture very tight Sergio Leone style
Framing the picture very tight Sergio Leone style

The cropping can be done at the end of the photo editing process. Personally, i do it in the beginning, because it will help me to see if a photo is well composed with the rule of third or any other rules and I would not loose any time to post process a picture if i cannot get a good composition when i am re-framing or cropping a picture. Usually a good photo editor will show you a grid of 3x3.


Befunky is showing you a 3x3 grid when you crop, allowing you to see exactly where and how you want the subject to be framed.


For this picture and tutorial, I wanted to give an old Spaghetti Western genre movie effect, so to frame the picture, I have chosen to cut extremely tight around the face of my son, like did the famous Sergio Leone with its extreme close-up shots (like in "Once upon the time in the west", "The good, the bad and the ugly", and so on...) cutting the chin too like he did in his movies.

  1. Still in Edit mode, click on the Crop button.
  2. A new window tool appear, check that you are in freedom mode, Landscape is activated by default, if not click on Landscape, Aspect ratio should be unchecked.
  3. Click on the white marked handle to resize the frame by moving your pointer (stay clicked) at your convenience.
  4. Put your pointer in the middle of the frame (stay clicked) to move the frame around and adjust the composition.
  5. Once you are satisfied with what you got, do not forget to apply the setting by clicking on the blue button.

3) White balance and color correction of the photo.

The white balance to warm a photo
The white balance to warm a photo

Because the automatic white balance of our camera is not always as good as we see things depending the light conditions. So we often need to adjust the white balance by making white on the picture the things which are really white in the real life. Befunky has 3 different sliders to do it, allowing you to fine tune your adjustment.


Because i wanted an old western movie style effect, i needed to warm the picture up a little bit, not too much to left some space if later on I need to add some other kind of color effect to get my Sergio Leone style picture effect.

In all case it's good to start slowly when adding photo effects, knowing that we can always add more effect at the end of the post processing, the opposite is not always true and often you cannot remove only one effect, but need to restart all the process.

  1. Still in Edit mode, click on Color.
  2. A new window shows up, and I play with the Temperature slider. Moving the slider to the left is for a picture you want more cold/blue, to the right for a picture you want warmer/ orange-ish sunset effect.
  3. Do not forget to apply the effect when it's done.

4) Photo exposure: too bright or too dark.

How to fix the exposure on a photo
How to fix the exposure on a photo

Because cameras nowadays do not have a dynamic range equivalent as our eyes (maybe in 10 years), some scene or part of the picture might be too dark or too bright for us.

Befunky has the tools to correct and fix this kind of problem, you can adjust the brightness or the darkness on only a part of a picture if you need, just by using the "Paint" option tab like it is showed in the image.


So in this picture i would like to lighten the left side of the face of my son (the right side on the picture) and, overall add some contrast to feel that he is more in focus.

  1. In Edit mode, i click on Exposure.
  2. Then a new window shows up where I can fine tune the exposure, I add a bit of brightness because the contrast (later on) slider will make the darker zone more dark and the brighter zone more bright, then i add some fill light to lighten the darker zone of the face of my son (to the right side), I add also more Highlights to compensate and finally I add more contrast to not have a flat image and get something "stronger".
  3. To not loose the effect, I do not forget to click the blue button to apply the effect I just did.

5) Noise reduction on a grainy picture.

How to blur a specific part of a photo
How to blur a specific part of a photo

The noise is this grainy texture appearing when you take a picture in a shadow or at night without flash. Your camera increase the ISO to compensate the lack of light, and by doing so it also increase the natural electromagnetic noise produced by the electronic components in your camera resulting in a grainy picture with some color aberrations, where those "grains" are called noise.


With Befunky you can reduce this noise by using the blur or smooth tool, then use the Paint brush with inverted effect to apply on the grainy part of the picture only or have a nice and smooth blurry background to give a bokeh effect (bokeh is originally a Japanese word which define the quality of the blur in the background or the foreground of a photograph).

  1. Be sure you're in Edit mode.
  2. Then scroll down and click Blur.
  3. A new window open and let you adjust the slider to see the amount of blur you want. Tips: do not look at the face, it's blurred too, but in the next steps it won't be anymore, so look only at the background for the moment.
  4. Then click on the Paint tab.
  5. Click on the Inverse effect button, everything get back to normal and now on, it's only the brush (number 7) who will make the blur.
  6. Adjust the size of the brush by moving the the rounded button on the slider.
  7. Put the brush where you want to blur something, to do so click and stay clicked then move the brush to blur the background. When you release the click the brush stop to blur, so you can move it safely to another part of the photo, then click and stay clicked to blur this part too.
  8. Once you are happy with what you get, apply the effect by clicking the blue button.

6) How to sharpen a photo.

How to sharpen a picture
How to sharpen a picture

On a portrait, and only on a portrait i do not recommend to sharpen the whole picture, but only the eyes, the lips or all the face to accentuate the focus effect. On the opposite side, quite often on a landscape photo, I do sharpen the whole picture.


Befunky allow to sharpen the whole picture, but also allow you to sharpen only what you want in particular like the eyes or the lips, with the paint brush tool.


To get the same result like in the Sergio Leone western movies, in its extreme closeup shots where the eyes of the actors are in extreme focus, we need to sharpen at least the eyes and the eyebrows and with the Befunky free online photo editor, it's very easy.

  1. Be sure sure you are in the Edit mode.
  2. Click on Sharpen.
  3. A new little window appear to fine tune the sharpening method, Click on the diamond look alike sharpening tool.
  4. Adjust the amount of sharpening you want to get with the slider. At this point the sharpening will be applied to the whole picture, have no worries because when we will switch in paint mode (number 5) everything will get back to normal. So for the moment just look at the zone you want to sharpen without worry about everything else.
  5. Click on the paint tool tab.
  6. Then click on the Inverse button, at this point all the sharpening you saw before, just disappear, it will be the paint brush editing tool only who will apply the sharpening when you click somewhere on the picture.
  7. Adjust the paint brush size with the slider. The other sliders do already a good job with their default setting, so I didn't touch them.
  8. Position the brush on the eye then click and stay clicked to move the brush on all the eye, release the click and repeat the same operation for the other eye and the eyebrows.
  9. Once it is sharpened enough, do not forget to apply the effect by clicking on the blue button.

7) Remove blemishes and pimples in one click.

how to remove blemishes and scars on a picture
how to remove blemishes and scars.

It can be a nightmare for some people, when they see their own portrait on a photograph with many blemishes or pimples. You eat some junk food one day and the tomorrow you got this white spot right in the middle of your face, and as strange as it can sound, it's always the day where you need to get your portrait on a picture.


With Befunky, you got a dedicated tool to fix blemishes and skin scars or skin impurities. To do so, just follow the step by step tutorial below.

  1. Click on the Touch Up button mode (it look like an eye and it's just below the Edit mode).
  2. Then in the Skin menu, click on Blemish Fix.
  3. A new window shows up, use the slider to adjust the size of the brush (it should be slightly bigger than the blemish to fix, but not so big), then click on all the blemishes you need to remove, adjust the size of the brush each time if the pimples are bigger or smaller.
  4. Do not forget to apply definitively once you're done with the blemishes.

8) Whitening teeth or eyes on a portrait.

How to whiten teeth and eyes on a photo
How to whiten teeth and eyes on a photo

Your teeth appear to be yellow or brown on the picture or the white part of the eyes are grey?

With Befunky it's easy to whiten teeth. On the screenshot on the side, I have whiten the white of the eyes of my son, to make the eyes more "popping up", you can use the exact same technique to whiten teeth on your photos.

I have also applied the whitening tool on the iris of his eyes to increase the contrast of the pupils, by doing so, I have increased the reflection effect in his eyes by whitening the reflected light thus the contrast, in the eyes.

  1. Click on the Touch Up button in the main menu.
  2. From here you got two options, You can choose Eyes, then Eye Brighten or Mouth, then Teeth Whiten, those are very similar tools and the result is the same.
  3. A new window tool appear, you can change the size and the hardness of the brush using the sliders (i recommend to not touch the default hardness slider, the setup is already perfect).
  4. Move the brush on the white part of the eyes or on the teeth, then click (you can stay clicked and move the brush around also).
  5. Once it's white enough, do not forget to apply the effect by clicking on the checked blue button.

9) Add some vignette to the picture to increase drama.

Add a vignette to the picture to add drama
Add a vignette to the picture to add drama

The vignette effect is in the beginning a flaw in the lens, where on the edge of the lens, less light can pass thru to hit the film (sensor), giving a rounded and darker effect on the four corners of the picture.


By making the corners and also the sides of a photo darker, it increase the effect of the light in the middle of the picture but also increase the effect of the side being darken dramatizing the whole picture.

With Befunky, you have a special dedicated tool to add vignette to a photograph and by doing so a dedicated tool to add drama to a picture.

  1. Be sure you are in Edit mode, then click Vignette in the Essentials menu.
  2. A new window tool appear, choose the kind of vignette you want (i used the one by default, top arrow in number 2), then choose the color of the vignette you want (here also i have chosen the color by default which is black), then chose the blend mode (I have chosen the normal blend mode, but i recommend to try all what Befunky is offering to you, you might have some fun), then use the slider to adjust the amount of vignette you want.
  3. By using the white little square and the white little circle you can rotate and adjust the size of the vignette, if you put the pointer in the middle you can move (stay clicked) the whole thing where you want, the vignette will always be outside of the big circle.
  4. Once you are happy with your vignetting, do not forget to click on this button to apply the effect.

10 Photo effect: Instagram look alike or HDR effect.

How to do a HDR effect
How to apply localy a HDR effect

It's time to play with all the filters and layout that Befunky is offering to you! one click only if you are lazy, adjust the one click effect if you are picky.


But i' ll show you also, on this tutorial, how to do your own filters and effects, and that, would be a personal effect that nobody will have, an effect of your own.

With Befunky it's easy as easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy that you won't believe it.


To get the final Sergio Leone spaghetti western movie effect, i did a bit of local HDR with a smooth brush to not get a pure HDR effect, my brush was setup at around 20 (step number 3) which just increase locally the color contrast a little bit.

  1. Click on the Effect button (the one which look like a star).
  2. Then scroll down on the new appearing menu to find the HDR button, then click on it.
  3. I have chosen HDR 1 for the warmer colors, the effect is applied by default to let you see what's happening, use the slider to adjust the effect opacity.
  4. This little rounded button with 3 vertical sliders drawn on it will give you more options, so click on it.
  5. A new window tool appear, click on Paint, then click on the inverted button (all the effect will disappear).
  6. New sliders appears below, increase or decrease the size of the brush as you need.
  7. Put the brush on the part of the face you need to increase with the special effect, then click to apply it (you can stay clicked and move the brush around to go faster).
  8. Once you are happy with what you get, do not forget to apply the effect by clicking this button, and do not forget to save on your computer or share in your preferred social media.
The final result of my son with a Sergio Leone style effect on the photo
The final result of my son with a Sergio Leone style effect on the photo made with Befunky.com

If you have any questions about this tutorial, let me know in a comment below, i will be happy to help you.

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Thank you for your support.

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Alejandra (Saturday, 10 September 2016 20:51)

    Thank you Patrice for this nice tutorial.
    I like very much the way you wrote your tutorial explaining things first that i have no idea why or how it happen like the vignette of the lens or the noise.
    I am using gimp and never thought i can edit a picture online, thanks a lot.

  • #2

    Marc (Wednesday, 14 September 2016 20:52)

    I have read all :)
    Nice tutorial Patrice, I love this effect, tanks a lot !