Step 1: Start Up Your Image Editor
The first step, of course, is to fire up your favorite image editing program. For beginners, it's best to get a program like Ulead PhotoImpact. It's a great tool that allows you to achieve professional photo effects using simple, easy-to-follow steps.
Ok - with your image editor ready, open the picture you want to edit
within the program and save a backup copy.
Step 2: Remove Red-Eye
If you're taking photos of people, chances are
you may have taken a photo with red-eye problems. This is easily removed with
image editing software. In Paint Shop Pro, select the Red-Eye Removal
tool in the menu and voila, the program does all the work for you. In Ulead
PhotoImpact, there's an equivalent tool called Remove Red Eye in the
Step 3: Rotate and Crop
If you've taken a photo in a wrong orientation,
it's easily corrected with little loss in quality by using a rotate tool. You'll
also want to do some cropping of your photo to remove cluttered surroundings
that draw attention away from your subject. For example, I find cropping very
useful if my subject is occupying only the middle portion of the photograph. Cut
away the two sides of the picture and you have a much more professional look.
Step 4: Play with Color
Don't be afraid to experiment with colors.
Image editing programs put a lot of power in your hands. You can make the leaves
purple, change the entire photo to black and white, add a sepia effect - almost
anything you want. A good photo editing program will have automatic color
balance options to adjust color defects in your pictures.
Step 5: Blurring Effects
Sometimes I like to add a blurring effect to my
photos. What you can do here is to select areas of the photo which are
unimportant and blur them out. This will bring more attention to the main
subject of your photo. For example, if I had a picture of a flower and I wanted
to play down the details in the leaves in background, I might add a blurring
effect to the background.
Step 6: Sharpen Up
Sharpening the image is the next step in the
photo touch up process. Contrary to popular belief, you can't actually sharpen
an out of focus image. What I typically do when sharpening an image is to
selectively sharpen. That is, I select a part of the image, maybe a person's
eyes and sharpen only that area. Leave unimportant areas unsharpened.
Step 7: Resize
Depending on your needs, you may want to resize
your photo. If you're emailing a picture to a friend, you'll want to resize the
picture down to a much smaller size. If you're printing the photo on a greeting
card, you can scale down the image to the size of a 4x6 print.
Step 8: Save Your Work
Ok, you're pretty much done. Remember to save
your work in the appropriate image format. Use the large TIFF image format if
you want to retain all details for subsequent image editing. On the other hand,
you can use the JPEG image format if you want to just send the picture via email
or upload them to your website.
Alrighty then! Now you know the secret to touching up and preparing your raw digital photos for output. I'd say that not all the above steps are truly necessary in a given situation. Remember to use your discretion to see which is necessary. Don't be afraid to experiment and learn - practice makes perfect when it comes to touching up your photos.
Learn to Take Beautiful Photos
If you want to improve your digital photography skills, you may want to take a look at Digital Photography Success. This ebook package comes with step-by-step instructions on how to take pictures of beautiful landscapes, people, nature, fireworks, night scenes, etc. Learn how to shoot professional photos - just like those you see in glossy magazine covers.
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