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Basic Ways To Edit Photos To Enhance Them


Learning how to edit photos is a great thing to do. I don't know about you, but the pictures I take are not perfect!




Sometimes I get close, but a little computer tweaking can make all the difference.So how can you edit digital photos to make them look as good as possible? There are different aspects of your photos that can be tweaked. The following are the ways in which you can edit digital photos. Typically you would use an editing software program, but you can also edit photos online on websites.
I like to use photo imaging software (or a website, such as Web Resizer) where I can see both my original photo and one the one that I am editing on the screen at the same time. This way I can easily compare.

For more great photography and image editing tips, please visit this great site of a friend of mine. Better Digital Photo Tips

Photo Saturation and Hue

Saturation

Sometimes the color vividness in an image is just the way it should be. At other times....well, it can You can edit photos in different ways.be just a tad bland. That is what the saturation tool is for. When you edit photos by using the saturation tool, you can make the reds redder, the blues bluer, the greens greener, and so on. Usually there is a slider that allows you to add or decrease the saturation in an image.

When you edit photos in this way, you should do a little at a time, as a little can be just enough. However, don't worry if you overdo it since typically editing programs allow multiple Undo's. One program that only allows one Undo is Irfanview.

Hue

Changing the hue will actually let you change the color. For example, if you have a green lawn and you want to make it more green and less yellow, changing the hue does this. Once again, there is usually a slider with colors at each end. By sliding, for example the lever towards blue, more blue will be added to your picture.

If you want edit photos to adjust the color of an area in your digital image in a more specific way, there are usually color wheels available or other color types, where you can see all the colors and select accordingly. A "magic wand" lets you pick the area of your photo that you want to adjust, as the sky.

Photo editing software that offers this tool (see my Paint.net free software review)usually have an option at the top of the screen called the tolerance level. By raising the umber, the want will capture more of the area. Likewise, by reducing the number, less of the area is selected. Once you have selected the area, you can use a paint bucket or paint brush to fill it. There are various opacity levels also. You can now go back to the saturation too if you like to make the color more vivid or softer.

Here's an example of a photo that I recently edited. The original is on thetop and the edited picture is below. The first thing you will notice is that the shape is different. I cropped the image to achieve this new look. The reason for this is that there were objects on the left side...cars, trucks, etc....that I did not want in the photo.The second thing that should be obvious is that the photo is much brighter and colorful. When you edit photos, you can do this by increasing the saturation as explained above. You can also adjust the hue (notice how the landscape is greener?), add more contrast and sharpen the photo. I did all of these things. You just have to play around with the edits until you are satisfied.

Before editing the photos.

After editing the photo.

Brightness and Contrast

When your photo is not bright enough or just rather dull, the brightness tool can help. It can even tone down a too bright picture also. It will lighten it up or darken it. Some programs, like Picasa 3, (my review of Picasa photo editing) have more advanced options such as working with highlights, shadows, and a tool called fill light, which lightens the image. Or, for fun, try to edit photos with the Soft Focus option which let's you get creative.

Contrast refers to how details in your photo "contrast" with what is next to it. Sometimes you want things to be a little softer. On the other hand, you may want to add more definition to a very soft image.


Another feature you can try is creating panorama pictures. Photos are stitched together to create a panorama of a special scene that you can't capture in one image. You can read about the software Autostitch on this page.

Sharpening

Sharpening can be a great tool when you edit photos. On the other hand, if you over do it, your picture can start looking not quite right. Sharpening tools are available in photo editing software...from the simple to the extremely complex.

For the most part, when I edit photos, I find keeping it simple is the best. If you have to spend loads of time on sharpening a photo, then maybe it's not meant to be. For easy sharpening, look for the tool called Sharpen, or similar. For more advanced sharpening, Unsharp Mask, and High Pass Filter are two excellent ones.

If you use Photoshop software, and would like to explore an excellent sharpening tool, take a look at my page about Photoshop's high pass filter.

If you would like to read about cropping digital photos, please visit my page Cropping Pictures.

Digital Photo Enlargement

Can you actually do this? It depends, but for the most part, the answer is no. Digital images are made up something called pixels. To make it simple, if you enlarge an image, there are less pixels, or information, in it by ratio.

For example, let's take a 4" x 6" picture, that has 100 pixels of information. If you enlarge it to 5" by 7", the picture is larger but it has the same 100 pixels. Visit my page What Are Megapixels for more information.

Watermark Software

You can edit photos to have permanent words, images, initials, trademarks or whatever you like embedded into the photo. You may want to do this for a variety of reasons, the most common being protecting it from being re-used illegally. There is watermark software that will do this.

Resize Digital Photos

There are many reasons for resizing images. Perhaps you want to reduce it for email. You may want to upload it to a forum where they have a maximum photo size. Perhaps you have a website and want it to be a specific size to fit into a particular space.

When you resize digital photos there are two things to consider. There is the physical size, and then there is the file size. Please visit my page Resize Digital Photos for a more detailed explanation and examples.

There are many free photo editing software programs that will change the physical size. However, it's good to use one that will allow you to work with both when you do a photo resize.



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Tip

Digital photo editing software often has an "Auto Fix" option. You can give it a try, and if you don't like it, make adjustments from there or Undo. Adobe Photoshop Elements Software 7.0 has this and it is called Auto Smart Fix.


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