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Posts tagged ‘photo editing’

A Few Tips For Photographing Food

Within the art of photography, there are many sub-categories.

Most of us can probably come up with some of the more common ones without giving it much thought – portraits, landscapes, wildlife… But one of the ones that has a huge industry onto itself that may not necessarily rank high on your list is food photography.

Think about it, many major restaurants, grocery stores and other similar businesses use images in their advertising. And just like is the case with any other form of photography, a well shot, well edited image is essential.

bad food phgotography

Example of bad food photography:

Notice how the color is bland, the image is washed out and it is actually quite hard to even know what the item may be.

good food photography

Example of bad food photography:

This image blurs out background distractions, features nice and even light and really captures the texture of the meal.

Here are a few tips that might just help anyone interested in delving into this sort of work.

1. Lighting and white balance

- Make sure you have an adequate amount of light for your shot but don’t do overboard. You don’t want to have hot spots in the image that can distract from the main focal point. Nor do you want to see harsh shadows.

2. Color and texture

- Do what you can to make the color as accurate and inciting as possible.  Same goes for texture. A few Photoshop tools that can help here are playing with the satiation and using the dodge and burn tools.

3. Remove distractions

- If there are any items near your image that might take away from the food itself, do what you can to remove them.

Good luck and have fun.

Photo editing sample and process

Editing is crucial

For any photographer who takes his or her craft seriously, editing is just a fact of life. And while it has its creative qualities, a lot of shutterbugs would agree that it’s not exactly their favorite part of the process.

When all is said and done though, the time used doing a thorough editing job is well worth it when you see the final product.

Some causal photographers make the mistake of thinking that some of these “editing” apps, online tools or quick-fix type programs can get the job done almost instantly. While it might not take a long time to edit an image sufficiently, any real quality editing can’t be done with just a click or two of the mouse.

Below is a sample of some photography editing I did after a recent promotional shoot for a young lady starting her own life coaching business. I hope these before and after images along with the basic steps taken to get from the original to the final version will give you an idea of what I mean.

Please note that all edits where made using a combination of Adobe Photoshop and a program called Portrait Professional. However, some of these edits can be made using any number of other programs that offer a wide range of similar features.

headshot editing

General overview of steps taken to edit the above photo:

1. Adjusting exposure

- Started out with “Auto Levels” before increasing the exposure a little more.

2. Tweaking colors

- An increase in overall saturation was used to add color and vibrancy

- Using the “Dodge/Burn” tool also helped.

3. Airbrushing

- Basic tuning with Portrait Professional softened the skin, reduced blemishes, removed pores and took care of assorted imperfections.

4. Small details

- It was necessary to use the” Clone Stamp” tool to match some skin tone areas and clean up shadows and glare cast by the glasses.

- Did some final burning to minimize hot spots and even out the color of her hair.

Reflections on a year gone by

Now that 2013 in nearing its end

(it’s 9:37 pm as I write this), I’d like to take a moment to reflect back on the past 12 months.

Quite honestly, this year has been far from the best for me and my family. There have been a lot of struggles, pain and heartache. And while I am always looking forward to the fresh start a new year brings, that is especially so this year.

Despite the negatives,  there have been some bright spots among the darkness. And many of those came in the form of arts.

So, without further ado, I would like to thank, acknowledge and recognize the following, all of which have had a great, positive impact on the year that was.

The models

To all the amazing models with whom I had the pleasure of working and creating some amazing art, thank you so much and I hope to work with you more in 2014.

Web design and Social Media clients

To all those in need of social media management or content creation and the development or revision of websites, I thank you for allowing me the opportunity as well as the challenge.

Fiverr buyers

To everyone on Fiverr who ordered one or more of my “gigs” allowing me to delve into a variety of artistic projects ranging from photo editing to custom limericks. It’s been great and I look forward to working with you guys even more this year.

The muses

To anyone or anything that inspired me over the course of the year to seek out that perfect photo, write that ideal line of poetry or otherwise create the best pieces of art that I could, you have been so amazing and I am truly grateful.

Quality graphics (and other work) on the cheap

Sometimes you might just have a reason…

to need some sort of graphic design work but either don’t have the knowledge or time to complete the project yourself. And if you’re anything like this blog owner, you may not have the funds either.

One option is to hire someone who engages in what is known as “micro-jobbing.”

So what is micro-jobbing?

Actually it’s a very simple concept. People provide a service, such as graphic design, for a very small fee in order to complete a relatively quick or minimally time consuming job. Sometimes you can get things done for as little as $5!

Some other types of services include:

Search engine optimization

Photo editing

Writing

Video

Audio

One of the top sites for this type of business exchange is Fiverr.com.

Check out a few examples of some work I offer below:

graffitti message spot color in photo facebook cover photo animation

If you need something quickly and at an affordable price, this may just be your answer. Or, if you’ve got some extra time on your hands, you can possibly make a few extra bucks here and there by offering your skills in this capacity.

Quick and effective method to remove pesky background shadows

Shadows are a double edged sword

In photography, they can be used strategically to enhance shapes and form or even the overall tone of the image. But at the same time, inconveniently located harsh and harsh shadows can just about destroy an otherwise beautiful photograph.

Some of the photos you may not want in your shot are those that appear on the background behind your subject. This can occur commonly in studio or other indoor settings.

But fear not, there is a fairly easy way to correct it with the use of Photoshop or most other common editing tools. (This works especially well with either black or white backdrops but may work adequately with other really dark or really light colors as well).

Once you’ve opened your photo and decided what shadows much be removed, select your Dodge/Burn tool in Photoshop or the equivalent in another program.

If you’re working with a white (or really light backdrop), you’ll want to use the dodge tool. The reverse is true if you’re image has a black (or really dark) backdrop.

You may need to adjust the exposure and brush size. It is best to start out with a relatively low exposure such as 25% too see how things look. You can always adjust it to a higher or lower level if need be.

Use the tool to cover over the shadowy part of the background that you want to remove and that’s really all there is to it.

It may take some trial and error but you’ll get there.

shadows

 

No more shadows

Another useful online photo editing option

Anyone who does even basic work with photography probably realizes that Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard when it comes to photo editing. However, it can be a bit cumbersome and also tends to be quite pricey. This being the case, some people have opted to use online photo editing tools to do the job when possible.

A while back I mentioned several interesting and effective options for working with your images that can be used as an alternative to the aforementioned Photoshop. However, I just randomly came across another the other days and decided to test it out.

fotoflex

FotoFlexer

This application can be found at www.fotoflexer.com and while it isn’t free, it does offer a 30 day free trial. If you decide to continue to use it, the cost is less than $4.00 per month which seems pretty manageable compared to some of the other options out there.

Pros:

- Fairly user friendly layout.

- Allows importing images from a number of popular sites like Facebook, Picasa and Flickr for example.

- Offers quick fixes for basic problems like the redeye effect.

- Allows for various effects, the inclusion of text, animations, work with layers and more.

Cons:

- Grabbing images from other sites sometimes fails to work properly.

- Some elements are a bit simplistic.

Check it out for yourself if you like.

Editing disasters – what not to do to your photos

As a general rule…

every photographer edits his or her photos to some extent. Sure once in a while a shot here or there will turn out just fine from the start  but that’s pretty rare. And while most serious photographers use a program like Photoshop to make adjustments to their photos, the tips below will apply to just about every possible editing tool.

Let’s think of it this way:

Hollywood celebrities and those with substantial incomes who spend a lot of time in the spotlight sometimes get a little “work done” aka plastic surgery. However, sometimes it’s done well and other times it can be a horrific disaster. The same can be said for these two approaches to re-working your images.

1. Exposure

Say you take a picture you love but notice that the image you bring up on your computer screen is darker than you had hoped. What’s a shutterbug to do? – why, bump up the exposure of course. Not so fast! While this is an easy and effective technique, you have to be careful. If you turn up the exposure too far, the washed out effect that will result can look unappealing and amateurish. Unless you are going for an intensely blown out scene intentionally for artistic purposes, this is a very bad idea.

over-exposed bad photo

Blown out shot from excessively high exposure.

well exposed photo

A well exposed photo from my work with Three Rivers Creative Arts.

2. Saturation

Having the pleasure of working with a number of alternative models, I know that photographers like myself love to showcase subjects with colorful hair or body art. When attempting to do this, or to enhance colors in less than vibrant skin, muted sunsets, animal coats or  anything else, you might opt to increase the saturation. Again, good idea, but keep it to a minimum. While a little saturation can add some wonderful coloration, too much can actually bring out the noise in a shot, redden this skin too much in people and simply make things look less realistic.

over-saturated photo

Unrealistic looking shot resulting from excess saturation. 

One of my well saturated shots from a shoot for Twisted Angels.

The bottom line:

No matter what the subject matter might be, the same rules apply – by all means kick the exposure and saturation up a notch, but be careful about how much.

Easy and effective method of working with a green or blue screen

In general, I’m not a big fan of changing the backgrounds in photos. In most cases, it is a rather complex undertaking and I honestly don’t believe it is worth the time or effort. But, with that being said, there is an exception to every rule, even this one.

Start with a green or blue screen

As opposed to attempting to work with a busy background, staring out with either a green (or the less common blue) screen will make things a lot more manageable. While both of these tools are specifically designed to allow for background adjustments, you should still be careful to avoid subjects with colors that are very close to those of the screen itself.

using a green screen

 

A couple against a basic green screen.

 

Using Adobe Photoshop (if you use another editing application, you will need to determine if you have a similar tool available), select the magic eraser tool and click anywhere in the background to remove it. Note that on some occasions, you may have to clean up any background color that does not get erased on the first attempt.

magic eraser tool

The magic eraser icon.

changing the background of a photo

 

After removing the background.

 

Last but not least, open the photo you want to use as your new background. Simply drag your adjusted image over onto your new background and there you have it!

 

leaves in park in fall

Finished result.

 

Baggy eyes – begone (from my photos) in two simple steps

When working with portraits or any type of photos with close-ups on people’s faces, you will very likely run into the dreaded bags under the eyes issue.

The truth is, no matter what our age may be or how beautiful a person we might be, bags under the eyes are pretty much a natural coinsurance for just about everyone, at least from time to time.

So, I offer you two simple ways to get rid of these unsightly sacks once and for all, at least in your photos anyway.

Before and After

 

What you’ll need:

Photoshop or any photo editing application that has the tools specified below.

Method 1 – Cloning

Take a small selection form around the eye are and clone it using the clone stamp tool or equivalent. Then proceed to fill in the dark, baggy area with the cloned colors. This works well with people of any skin tone or ethnicity.

Method 2 – Dodge

While this method isn’t generally effective with those who have darker skin tones, it works great for those with lighter ones. Use the dodge tool (or again an equivalent) to cover over the dark, baggy areas. Be sure to set the tool’s exposure to a fairly low percentage so as to avoid the area turning out to white.

There you go, no more bags, at least not in your images.

How to convert images to Black and White effectively in Photoshop CS5

Method 1

The fastest method, can also use the shortcut Command+Shift+U on macs, and Control+Shift+U on PC’s

Step 1

Select your layer, then navigate to Image>Mode>Grayscale

Step 2

When prompted, select the discard button. We can always use command+z to undo any steps, so don’t worry.

Method 2

Step 1

By navigating to Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Hue/Saturation you can change the image to black and white while maintaining control over values. This method is also referred to as “nondestructive” because it can be reversed at any time (as long as it’s saved as a PSD).

Step 2

With the Hue/Saturation sliders on hand, lowering saturation, hue, and lightness values can give you a customizable black and white image.

Tutorial provided by CJ, a talented Photoshop enthusiast and intern for Three Rivers Creative Arts .

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