10 Steps To Great Photos
Photo-Editing Tips for Beginners and Improvers
Do you know how to repair faults and blemishes on your photos? Or, how to make them look more professional? Whether you use the latest, high resolution digital camera or the oldest or cheapest, the photographs will usually need to be prepared (or repaired) before you can use them or print them out.
You can make big changes, such as rotating or cropping a photo, or more subtle changes to remove a damaged area. I've even turned up the corner of this guys mouth to give a hint of a smile...
Back to the basics, there are many aspects that might need to be tweaked or improved - rotation, cropping, color enhancement. You can use any good photo editing software to make the improvements, but if you get them in the wrong order, you simply won't get the best results.
Not every photo will need every one of these steps so, if your photo doesn't need to be cropped, don't crop it!
All the photos on this page are mine, and copyright to me, unless otherwise stated.
The Beginning : Save
Excuse me... which way is up?
It's very upsetting to lose an important photo by making a simple mistake, but this is easy to avoid. Save a "working" copy of your file. If you're using Photoshop, save it as a "Photoshop Document" (a .PSD), that will keep all your layers safe. Also remember to keep the original of your photo in case of disasters and for comparison later.
This photo of a stork doesn't look too promising at the moment, does it..?
Try A Little Rotation
If the camera was wonky or at an angle when you took that masterpiece, it will need to be rotated.
You can see that I've rotated this photo 90 degrees to make it upright. Then, I've rotated it a few degrees more, so the poor bird is standing up straight. That gives a funny effect around the sides, but we'll fix that by cropping.
If It Shouldn't Be There, Crop It!
a little better, but what's with the purple?
Cropping allows us to focus in on the subject, without unnecessary or distracting elements. Cropping also reduces the size of the image, and of the file - useful if you are going to email the finished photo to someone or post it out on the web.
Colour, Tone, Flaws and Cosmetics
much tidier now!
Most photo-editing programs, have some automatic photo-editing tools for correcting colours, tones, brightness and contrast. Usually, you'll get good results with these, but if you're feeling brave try out some manual adjustments too. Try correction with "auto-colour", "auto-contrast" or "auto levels", but if one of these tools does not improve the photo, you can always "undo" and try a different tool.
Now you're ready to remove dust specks, flaws and scratches. Again, some software will have auto-tools for this, which makes life a little easier.
And the sixth step? Cosmetic improvements... dealing with red-eye, removing blemishes, smoothing skin tone and removing that strange purple flash!
Easy to use, best value cameras - Some great little cameras to get you started
My first digital camera was a three megapixel Olympus - I loved it. Cameras have moved on a lot now, and the resolutions available are much higher - 14, 16 or 18 megapixel cameras are common, and good value for money. Most now arrive with software to help you download, organise and edit your photos.
Kodak has an Easyshare system, which is excellent for beginners, and with a Kodak, you'll get some great shots.
Sony is a name we know and can trust. This 18.2 mega-pixel 18.2 megapixels Sony Cyber-shot has excellent performance in normal and in low light conditions. It has a 10X optical zoom, and 10x digital zoom, with high speed auto-focus and a 3.0-inch LCD. It will capture up to 10 frames each second - perfect for high speed action. You can also record crystal-clear movies with the full HD 1080/60i AVCHD™ video capture.
Don't Lose It...
You really should get in the habit of saving your work regularly; you never know when the computer might crash or the "electricity people" go on strike. But, now is the time to save that "working file" again to keep a final copy of your corrected and improved photo.
Last steps... depending on your project
she cropped me again!
Resize or resample to adjust the size and resolution of your photo. For the web, you'll need a resolution of 72 ppi. For printing, you need significantly more... 150-300 ppi for a normal print, 600 ppi for a glossy magazine. Set the resolution first, as this affects the print size. Then, adjust the size.
Adjusting the image, by rotating, retouching and resizing, will have affected the quality of your image. It might now be a little "soft". So, now is the time to use the "unsharp mask" to re-sharpen the image.
Save a copy of the photo in the format you need for your project. If you want to email the photo or post it on the web, save as a JPEG. JPEG are squished to make the file size smaller, but you will lose a bit of quality, so don't save this way until the end of the process. For photos that will be printed, save in an "uncompressed" format, like a TIFF, to keep the best quality.
Beginners Guides to Digital Photography
Digital photography techniques are easy to learn, and it's nice to know that you can make any improvements that your photos need to change them from ok photos to great photos. The books below are packed with hints and tips to help you do so.
This book is full of the most closely guarded photographic "tricks of the trade". It doesn't waste your time with confusing jargon or overly-detailed theory. It answers your questions about which button or setting you need to use to get better, sharper, more professional-looking photos.
Some great software for photo-editing
I find Adobe Photoshop software straightforward for photo-editing, and I usually recommend it to my photography students. But, there are other brands out there. Whichever you choose, don't worry about taking the first steps!
A friend of mine absolutely loves Corel Paintshop Pro. She uses it for personal and professional projects.
A selection of free online photo-editing resources
If you don't have any photo-editing software yet, don't despair! It is possible to go to an online photo-editing website, and here's a selection of the top-rated sites on google.
- ONLINE PHOTO EDITOR - Edit your photos, pictures and images online for free
Edit your photos online on Free Online Photo Editor.com: resize, filters, sepia, crop, rotate and flip, online photo editing, photo editing, photo tool, image editor, picture editor, online editor, free
- Photo editor online - Pixlr.com edit image
Pixlr is a free online photo editor. Edit, adjust and filter your images. No registration jump right in!
- FotoFlexer - The world's most advanced online photo editor
FotoFlexer is the most powerful online photo editor in existence. It can remove blemishes, change skin/hair color, morph photos and more! 100% free.
- iPiccy - Online Photo Editor
iPiccy photo editor makes your photos beautiful with easy and powerful editing tools. Edit pictures, apply photo effects add text and paint for free!
- LunaPic Online Photo Editor
edit your photos free online
- piZap - fun photo editor, free photo effects editor, collages, facebook timeline cover editor
piZap.com is a fun & free online photo editor, add funny graphics, fun easy effects, custom text, collages, edit Facebook photos, webcam effects, and edit your Facebook Timeline Cover photos.