As any reader of this blog knows, being a photography enthusiast, I tend to think that cell phone photography is generally a poor substitute for the real thing if you will.
Sure, there are some exceptions but usually a good old traditional camera or SLR is light years better than even the latest mobile phone in this area.
But, given that there are some exceptions, it only stands to reason that this would be the case with mobile editing apps as well. Enter Photoshop Express. Yes, the first name in photography has done it again.
Recently, when I was having a very difficult time editing the coloration of an image, I figured I’d give PS Express a shot. I uploaded the image from my SLR to my camera’s Micro SD card and went to work. The results where fast, easy and incredibly effective.
Check it out, I bet you be glad you did.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.
– Grabbing images from other sites sometimes fails to work properly.
– Some elements are a bit simplistic.
Check it out for yourself if you like.