Quite often the image that comes off your digital camera leaves a bit to be desired. But with a little knowledge, confidence and good computer software, those photos can be turned into striking images through editing and cropping.
It’s happened to even the best photographers. You have taken the time to set up a great photo, but when you download it just doesn’t impress like you hoped. All is not lost, however. By using cropping and editing techniques that anyone can master, those ordinary images can be turned into masterpieces and photos you considered deleting can be salvaged.
Firstly, it’s a good idea not to delete anything off the camera itself. Today’s memory cards have oodles of room so images can be kept until you get an opportunity to download them onto your computer. And because the screens on digital cameras can be quite small, it’s worth waiting to see the images on a larger screen before making any decisions. So be brave and resist the temptation to cull images until you download.
It’s also worth considering getting hold of good quality photo editing software. Companies such as the makers of Canon cameras will include software to download images from your camera to your computer which will have some editing and cropping functionality. It’s great for the basics but not for those of you who want to get creative.
There are plenty of freeware programs available on the internet but chances are they will not have the range of features software you have to buy boasts, such as Photoshop. There are options for all budgets, so shop around for what is going to suit you best.
There are some great ways you can improve your images using these programs. Some software may have all of these, others only a few.
This is basically zooming in on the best part of the photo and discarding what you don’t want. It’s great for getting rid of unsightly elements in the background, or focusing on the action, such as in a sports photo. Just remember, cropping will make the image smaller so you will need to take that into account if planning on producing prints. It may also affect the resolution, so keep that in mind too.
Black and white:
It’s hard to believe that no so long ago all images were black and white - colour was a real treat. Now the reverse applies. Most photo editing programs have a simple tool that turns colour images into black and white, and the results can be impressive. Try it on a wedding photo or if your kids are having a dress-up day where they go to school in period costume. The results are sure to amaze.
How often have you taken a great photo only to download it and notice everyone has glowing red orbs where their pupils once were? A lot of photo editing programs have a red-eye removal tool that is as simple as select and click. So don’t discard those red-eye images and resist the temptation to leave family and friends looking as if they possessed by the devil – it’s not hard to fix.
Some photo editing software will feature a special effects palette that can have a funky, weird or even obscure result on images. There are effects such as blurring, pixilation, rendering, sketching and distorting which will achieve very different results. Don’t be scared to experiment.
Most importantly, if you are going to edit pictures, make sure you save a copy of the original image. The last thing you want is to go to work on a picture and discover the results are not what you hoped for and there is no raw image to fall back on.