Friday, July 31, 2009

don't give up on your photos!

i've been helping one of my fabulous seniors from youth group with her senior project on photography. last night, we had an editing session where i got to show off some fun tricks in photoshop, but we mainly focused on picnik's features. picnik has lots of free basic features and then offers their premium features at a real decent price. i love using them for my blog post pictures and adding text or graphics, but their filters are also really good for boosting colors, converting to black and white, or adding film grain or vignettes to the photos.

the big thing we talked about is changing the way you view your photos or photo-taking environments. we often assume that we want it to be a bright sunny day, but harsh shadows on the face and squinty eyes can ruin a good photo. i would rather have an overcast day and then brighten in post-processing without worrying about the shadows. example below--with the geese. jessica said, "it was about to rain and it's just such a blah photo." not anymore!

we also used cropping to help focus the picture. we talked about composition and the rule of thirds and using a purposeful crop to choose the subject. black and white also brings out the details. i'm a HUGE fan of black and white.

i love what we did with this one. straighten the horizon line, first of all, but then make a purposeful crop to focus on the water, saturate the blues and reds, and put the subject off center outside of the rule of thirds. just awesome.
and then taking those ideas to human subjects. saturate, brighten and boost the contrast, help focus the portrait to waist up with a good crop, and then use blemish tools to retouch the face. i like slightly off-center subjects for my portraits, especially one with this textured background.

picasa is also a great free program that offers basic editing tools and helps organize your photos as well. you download picasa to your computer instead of loading your pictures on a website, so for some people, it's easier to work.

there is so much out there for editing, and as good as your pictures may be SOOC (straight out of camera) they can be so much better with a few little tweaks! i love editing pictures now and am always looking for some new (free) photoshop actions to try or styles to imitate. as much as i love discovering my own style, i learn a lot by trying to recreate other photographers' work.

so give it a shot. take the photo where the facial expression is just right, but maybe you wish it was a little brighter, the colors popped a little bit more--or maybe it's the opposite--the picture is overblown and washed out. make a few tweaks and have your regular old photo become a work of art :)
(all photos by jessica--isn't she great?)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds to me like she's going to get an A on her Senior Project! I'd say she's had a definite learning stretch. You're awesome for being a mentor and actually ensuring that she has a true learning experience. We need more mentors like that! I wish I could see her presentation...I'm sure it'll be awesome! Great job Jessica!!