What is a Clean Edit?

On my workshop descriptions, and even some of my action set descriptions, I mention “clean edits” and many people ask me “what is a clean edit?”

A clean edit is the result you get from taking basic steps to bring the image to the best possible look and have it still look like it came out of the camera that way. Good exposure, good contrast, good color, good skin tones.

Creative edits are images that come from running actions or presets that change color tones, create effects, alter the image pretty drastically from what the scene originally looked like.

These examples come from edits in Lightroom (Sweet Ending preset came from Pretty Presets) but just as easily could have come from Photoshop Elements or Photoshop.

Want to learn how to “clean edit” an image? I wrote an extensive tutorial on that process last year, and I also have affordable workshops (that you do on your own) and action sets that help you “clean edit.”

In addition to these, the Beginners and Intermediate PSE workshops teach clean editing.

Something to note – in PSE or PS, you want to give your image a clean edit, save it and then run creative actions on the clean edit. In Lightroom, if you want a clean edit, do that, then take a snapshot of it, then run any creative presets you wish to try. Presets will undo many edit steps you made during the clean edit process, so it’s important to make a snapshot (or virtual copy, that would work too).

468x74px Affiliate Banner

About Amanda

I am passionate about helping others learn how to use their DSLR cameras and editing programs. More information about me can be found at my About page, or by visiting my personal blog.


  1. Thanks, Amanda! I have been wondering what a “Clean Edit” is. I’ll take a look at your video, too!

  2. Karen Wolff says:

    loved your Clean Edit Workflow-highly recommended!

  3. LOVE clean 1&2 !!!! Use it on every image…. would HIGHLY recommend this tool to anyone and everyone. Can’t wait for the update… I can’t imagine how you have improved such a valuable tool.

    Thank you for sharing your talents !!!

  4. I agree…LOVE your Clean Edit action. I use it on all my portraits.


  1. […] creating actions using images that have already received a “clean edit.” Read my post What is a clean edit to see what it is and how to do for your  […]

Speak Your Mind