Friday, September 16, 2011

Editing Photos

Since I've been writing about photography and reworking some of my old pictures, I've received several emails (and a few comments) asking about photo editing.

There are tons of photo editors out there, and I suspect that most of them work pretty much the same way. Most photos only need a bit of work, and for many folks, I don't really think much more than a straightening, cropping and maybe a bit of lightening or darkening is necessary.

If you have any of the many photo editors available (Picasa seems to be a favorite) then that should be all you need.

Really good photographers (of which I am not one) generally shoot somewhat slowly, taking time to think about what they are shooting prior to pushing that button. I consider these folks true photographers.

Then there are people like me. I shoot tons and tons of pictures. Rather than a photographer, I consider myself as someone who works with photos. I try to stay aware of things that interest me, photo wise, and I shoot everything that I think just might make an interesting photo.

Then, I put them in the computer, throw most of them away and start editing the rest. To be clear, I usually only get a few shots out of every days shooting. Not the most efficient way, but it's my way.

One more note before we go on to the photos. None of these are great shots, I just went back through old photos and tried to find ones that would be good examples of what can be done. To see the real detail, you should click on each photo to enlarge it, then the difference really shows up.

Here's an original shot, SOOC
(straight out of the camera,
except I made it smaller for posting here).
As you can tell, way too blown out,
but the bunny is pretty cute.

Here it is,
cropped with a bit of exposure editing
and a bit of sharpening.
Not a great shot,
but you can see how a poor shot
can be rescued.

Here's one of my gazillion hummingbird shots.
This was taken with my older Panasonic,
so it isn't really sharp.
My Canon is much faster than my Panasonic.
Again, SOOC.

Cropped, sharpened
and brightened just a bit.

The next six shots
are all from this same original.

Here it is with just a bit of editing,
(perhaps a bit too much red?).
For this one, I bumped up the contrast
and the sharpening.

And here it is,
cropped to focus on the birds.

Cropped even tighter.

Here, I turned the contrast down,
so the background blurs a bit.
Since the bird is in focus,
changing the contrast
hasn't affected him too much.
Not better, not worse,
just a different take on the same shot.

And I thought this guy
deserved his own shot.

Hopefully, this might inspire a few of you to play around with some of those shots you'd normally throw away. I find this kind of work fascinating, and I spend way too much time doing just this sort of thing.

When I should be working on the house . . .

Oh well.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Good discussion and expamples! I use a canon rebel T2i. I also shoot lots of photos, but try to compose most of the time. I mostly shoot on program settings which I have set to various options since I can have four setting modes.

I like trying to get special effects with the camera rather than the editing program. I do these with manual and use of the AV and TV options.

I enjoy the process and getting acceptable results but still consider myself a rank amateur. But is sure fun and I am so glad they invented digital photography:)

Judy and Emma said...

I enjoy 'playing' with my photos too, and like you, most of them end up in the dumpster. :)

Kate said...

Oops! I accidentally deleted the foolowing comment from Jerry and Suzy

"'Tis fun, isn't it? Tweaking and cropping. You are a photo tweaking artist. Some day I may show off a couple of things I've done, especially back in my days using Photoshop Elements, but also with Picasa. "

I'd love to see some of your tweaks.

Kate said...

Chuck and Anneke. I have a setting I use, manual, saved as a favorite and no longer remember what I used!

Kate said...

Judy, at least we end up with a few good ones!

Merikay said...

Good short discussion. Just right for my attention span. I hope you do a lot more like this.

Angie said...

I've been reading photography books/articles and found that honest professional photographers also throw away more photos than they keep. Just thought this might make you feel better about not getting more keepers.

Donna K said...

Great post Kate. Love your photos and your editing!

Levonne said...

Life is good! And I love the way you demonstrated the use of photo editors! Thanks.