Sunday, September 05, 2010

Simple Photo Editing

I thought it would be a good idea to do a post on photo editing and how just a few simple edits can make a tremendous difference in your pictures. Admit it, it's not very often we take perfect picture right on the camera. Most pics can use a little work to make them even better. Even Ansel Adams did a lot of his work in the darkroom after the photos were taken. Fortunately, the advent of digital cameras and photo editing software makes this task fast and cheap these days.

I use Picasa, which is a free Download from Google. More about Picasa. But ANY photo editing software would offer these same basic tools to improve your pics.

This is the original photo of the kids swimming this past summer.
They are in the center of the photo (That's good!), but they are kind of far away. I don't really care about those people in the background, and one kid's face is in shadow. We can fix all of that! Read on ...

Picassa offers an "I'm Feeling Lucky" option where it automatically does a number of fixes all at once. Sometimes this works out great, and sometimes, you still need to do a little more to it manually. In this case [See photo below ...], "I'm Feeling Lucky" tried to balance the colors and light and sharpen the image (among other things). Aidin's face looks even darker now, but don't worry! We're not done yet ...

Next, I decided to crop the photo down so that the focus would be on the boys. I also wanted to make sure we had the trees and sky to show a sense of place, so I tried to balance the water in the foreground with the sky above them.

We're getting there!

Next, I added some fill light so we could actually see Aidin's face. I could have added more light, but I didn't want to lose the pretty pattern on the water. Now it's a pretty good picture!

I even went so far as to crop it again to zoom in on Oliver. Nice! You can really see the patterns on the water behind him. This was brought out in the "I'm Feeling Lucky" step where it sharpened the image. If I ever decided to turn this into a quilt, that step makes it easier to map out possible quilting lines for the water.

Photo editing software also has a number of effects and filters to let you do all sorts of other things. So have some fun and experiment! But always save a copy of your original, just in case you don't like where the explorations take you.

1 comment:

PurestGreen said...

I shall have to try Picasa. I wish I had photoshop at home like I do at work - it had such amazing features. The right crop can make such a difference to a photo. Love the texture of the water.