Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Editing Your Photos

When I upload my shots to the computer they go to Photoshop and Picasa (now available for mac users). I use both of these for storage and editing. I'll admit I use Picasa first because it is easier for me. When I want to get really into editing I go with Photoshop and Danielle (my neighbor, friend, part-time employee) has to come and help me. I know the whole time she's thinking, "I've talked her through this 1000 times before why can't she remember it?" But oh well, she's young she'll get over it.

When you edit, be a little daring. Adjust the shadows, the fill light the highlights and then warm up or cool the shot. Remember you can always hit the undo button. Don't just settle for a crop. Experiment. Play with sepia tones, b&w, spotlights and tinting. Some shots just deserve a little pop here and there. Some folks feel you are changing your shot with these techniques but I follow the school of thought that believes photoshop, etc. is just a digital darkroom. If we were using a regular film camera we would make adjustments in the darkroom wouldn't we?

Here are a few of my tips for better shots.
Take off the lens cap! okay no brainer, I told you I'm not a professional.
Never leave home without your camera! You never know what you might see while your out.
Fill the frame. Get close and really make your subject the main focal point.
Shoot early morning or late afternoon/early evening. The golden hours are the first two hours after sunrise and the 2 hours before sunset.
Take a lot of shots. That is the beauty of digital. No film developing and no waste, just hit the delete button.
Take a lot of different views. Walk around. Some of my favorite shots weren't the ones I had originally set out to get.
Make sure your batteries are charged. This is really important in winter as cold will zap the little buggers. The best investment I made was in a battery charger and rechargeable batteries.
When I wanted to experiment with night photography I soon realized I would have to have a tripod. I found an inexpensive one and have been very pleased. Don't be scared to invest in accessories, they don't have to be top of the line.
Read, read, read. Find good websites with good shots from good photographers and study what you like and don't like. Sometimes when I read photography articles it is like reading greek but eventually it all makes sense as I learn other things to go along with it.
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Don't be afraid to experiment with things you have learned. After reading about making a homemade light box, Dan and I gathered up the materials and made one. It was fun and now when I see a big cardboard box I immediately think WOW, this will make a great light box!
Tomorrow, photography magazines and websites that I love!

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