Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Photo Tools

I read quite a few blogs that cover a variety of topics. Photography blogs, health blogs, writing blogs, and reading blogs take about half of what I read. The other half are personal blogs that I could pigeonhole into sub-categories; I choose not to do so.

Months ago, I read an entry on someone's photo blog, LeggNet's Digital Capture, that people need to re-think how they take digital pictures. Those of us old enough to remember or to have some experience with film know that the negatives were developed in the dark room. The final product was the printed photo. We should start thinking of that thumbnail you see on the screen of the digital camera like a negative. It is not ready to share with others. The photographer, professional or amateur, must develop it, although process is a better word. Rich Legg, at the link above, displays the same image with and without enhancement.

I use Picasa, a free program. I have an open software version of Photoshop, but I do not have the time to learn it. Picasa is easy. Using it, the photographer can enhance the colors, change the brightness, darken the shadows, sharpen the image, and a few of the more popular photo editing tools. Even if you are only trying to reach your family and friends with images of your children, take the time to enhance your photos. You'll notice the difference, and you family will appreciate the effort.


jmb said...

Mostly I use PhotoStudio which came with my Canon camera, but I don't do too much changing (well I trim madly) because I never really know what to do. I always recognize other people's great photos but somehow can't see the woods from the trees in my own. I would like to be able to fix certain things and not others. Like do something to the background but leave the main focus thing alone for example.

I am trying to justify buying Photoshop Elements but it would be just another thing to learn and until I develop the "eye" it would be a waste of money. I've never looked at Picasa, I just know they host my photos for the blog.

I'll check out your links now.

Sarabeth said...

JMB, you have a pretty good eye for subjects. Some of the photos you have of that soapstone sculpture are breathtaking with the shadows. Try the GIMP software. There is a blurring tool. I've at least learned how to use that.

Other things you can do are to increase the highlights and adjust the contrast. I find that with most of my photos taken with my Canon camera, using the saturation tool is key to having brighter, more vibrant photos.

Steve Buser said...

I share you love of Picasa and use it quite a bit. Of late I usually start processing a photo in Picasa and then move over to Gimp. I find the sharpening tool in Picasa is too over done and has no flexibility.

Sarabeth said...

Steve, that is very true about the Sharpening tool in Picasa. If I weren't spending a good amount of time being a mommy and a writer, I would learn the GIMP processes better.

Mommy Bits said...

I use PhotoShop 7 and LOVE it. It is truly amazing how a slight cropping or just an adjustment to the brightness can impact the look and feel or your photo.

Darrin said...

I also use photoshop 7 and have for a few years. There's still TONS of stuff I don't know how to do, but it's fun to mess around with when I find the time.