Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My 5 Tips for Editing and Creating Beautiful Photographs

As you can sort of tell by my blog, I really enjoy photography. I think it all started way back when I was just a young girl taking photos of the Thanksgiving Turkey in the oven. My family thought I was crazy. While I didn't pursue a career in photography, I did end up graduated from college with a degree in Printing Management which I guess was my way of being creative. That meant using applications like Photoshop for color correction, as well as other page layout programs. My way of being artistic. lol

Anyhow, it wasn't until after I had my son and bought my first digital camera, a Canon Powershot G6, that I really wanted to learn more. So I began my journey within my cameras manual and then headed to my local library. At the library I was able to find books of all kinds that taught me how to use light, aperture, shutter speed, deep of field, etc. I got a basic understanding of my camera controls, what they meant, how they worked, and what I could possible achieve. After about 5 years of messing around with my Canon I finally bought my first D-SLR and I'm loving it.

So here are 5 of my tips for editing and creating beautiful photo:

1. Learn your camera, and how to use the controls that are on it. A wonderfully edited photo needs to start from somewhere and that is usually with the original photo that you have taken. So learn your camera, what it can do, what it can't do, and how you can use those little controls to help you get what you want to begin with. A good place to start is with your camera's manual. Then work your way to your local library to read up on techniques, etc. Or take an online photography course or class at your local college.

2. Practice by taking lots of pictures. It doesn't matter where, when, or how. Just go out and shoot. Play around with the controls on your camera. Take the same picture over and over with different settings and even at different times of the day. Get a feel for what changes occur when you change your settings, and what happens during different times in the day. The more photos you take, the more you have to work with later when editing.

3. Find a good editing software program and learn how to use it. Right now, while I would love to own any Photoshop program such as Photoshop Elements, I just can't afford it. So I use GIMP. It's free and gives me the tools that I need to edit my photos in the way I need for now. From the use of layers and blending modes to contrast, sharpening, saturation, etc. It gives me enough control to go from this

 to this

4. Don't be afraid De-saturate. Changing your photos from color to black and white. Black and white photos can make for some really nice pics. When I think of black and white photos I think of shades of grays from dark to light or light to dark. if you look at the photos below you can see how they differ. Changing a photo to black and white may even be the way to go if you can't get the colors to look just right. Or you could choose to use selective coloring like I did to my sons eyes in the first photo below. There is something beautiful about black and white photographs.


5. Don't be afraid to apply a texture or pattern to  your photo. They can really help to add some of your own style to your photos. Textures come from textured images, or from using patterns or paint brushes in your editing program. You can also create your own textured images to use by photographing items like brick, stone, rust, etc. Below are a few examples of photos that I used textures or patterns in.

My sisters hands where in this photo and I needed a way to remove them so I used a textured pattern to remove her hands.

Adding texture to this photo just gave it a little bit of style that I kind of liked. Plus it made the water on the glass door stand out a bit more.

No matter how you choose to edit and create your photos just be yourself. Photos are windows to the soul not only through the people that are in the photos but also through the people who are creating them.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Adobe blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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