Even though it would be nice, the reality is that many people who are interested in photography do not have the financial means to purchase expensive software to edit or retouch their pictures. And in some cases, they don’t have the time to do some of the necessary but tedious tasks without the help of automation.
These three FREE web-based tools can be a big help.
Can’t afford Photoshop or similar applications? Don’t want to have to deal with downloading big programs like GIMP? The Pixlr tool allows you to do all the basics and a lot more in your browser. It’s powerful and relatively easy to use with a professional feel layout.
Even though LunaPic is a bit less user-friendly, it’s still fairly easy to work with and gives people the ability to make all sort of filter adjustments and more. It’s like some of the filtering apps available for your phone but generally less generic and more powerful.
Resizer: Bulk Resize Photos
There are a bunch of reasons why you might need to resize photos to make the smaller. After all, if you all posting them online it’s not always a brilliant idea to have them in full resolution. You can use this to quickly resize any number of pictures.
Every person who is passionate about his or her photos will undoubtedly want o make them the best they can. This typically involves some photography editing. However, we can run the risk of over-editing if we are not careful.
The sample here has the real edit on the right and an exaggerated spin on it on the left to prove the point. The second shot is more natural and real while the first is over-saturated and doesn’t see nearly as genuine.
Here are a few things you can avoid to help prevent excess edits:
1 . Keep saturation as low as you can while still adding that vibrancy.
2 . Keep small imperfections so the subject doesn’t look fake.
3. Don’t do anything to adjust weight that distorts the people in the shot.
4. Be careful if you change a background.
Whether you are a notice shutterbug or an experienced photographer, you have probably noticed that sometimes it can be a bit difficult to get the skin tone and coloration of a subject just right. This can often be the case with those who have a naturally fair skin tone. So, how do you handle making the skin color “pop” if you will? Well, here are three simple and highly effective tips that can make a major impact on any images you take.
1. Bump up the saturation
Find the saturation tool on your photo editor and slowly move the slider or number higher. Be careful not to go too far because the image can start to look unnatural.
2. Burn the dodge/burn tool
To darken light skin a bit, use the burn option starting out on a fairly low opacity, maybe 25% or so. You can increase the number if needed.
3. Add a warming filter
Adding a warming (probably orange-ish) style filter can add that sort of sun kissed vibe to a subject’s skin.
Using your program’s exposure tools, if there is an option to do so, increase the Gamma Correction slightly.
Taking one or more of these steps can really make a big difference in the quality of your photography.
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.
When it comes to working with the graphic arts…
there are generally a few specific tools of the trade. Some that come to mind include Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design and those sort of programs and utilities. However, whether it be an issue of cost or just that we do not have access to a given program on the device we are working with, sometimes we have to use other applications to get the job done.
This was the case when a friend of mine asked if I could come up with an appealing and informative bifold for a major event she is involved with in the Pittsburgh area.
Using an MS Word template, a modified photo and some additional information she had provided, I came up with one that she has raved about many, many times. Here’s a snapshot of the front and back cover:
The lesson here is that while we would all love to have every tool possible available to us as providers of creative graphic services, if we really try, we can do a lot without them if necessary.
A few days back…
I was experimenting with the idea of creating a number of digital photography backdrops in Photoshop. While I plan on selling these customized backdrop files ($5 each or 3 for $10), I had been looking to bring out a specific satin looking effect. Eventually, I was able to do just that. But before finally succeeding, I had to go through quite a bit of trial and error. And while that can be frustrating, it can also be an opportunity, a chance to create what I like to call accidental art.
I decided to share the two pieces I chose to save in this post for your enjoyment.
I hope you like them.
Ok, so for a little while now
I’ve been posting some photography tips using Photoshop as well as some other things involving working with other multimedia in a simple and straight forward manner. That being the case, I’m considering setting up a website specifically for video tutorials that I have created to help others. After all, I think when one person has knowledge of a particular subject, why shouldn’t they share it with others hoping to learn? I know that I personally owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have taken the time to make a little clip showing me and others how to accomplish something we might otherwise be ripping our hair out over.
Some of the tips I have put into video form so far include:
Making realistic backdrops in Photoshop
Working with the spot color effect in digital images
Using the Dodge/Burn and Exposure tools in PS
Creating your own DIY photography gels
Easy photo resizing
Converting video to audio
I would like some feedback from my readers on this idea of a new, most likely subscription (or at least donation) based site. Who knows, maybe there’s something I’ve made that you can use for yourself or someone you may know.