If you have a hobby of taking pictures, you understand how frustrating it can be when photographs don’t always turn out as you planned. Thankfully, there are many excellent post processing options available to help you edit out these imperfections.
Auto Adjusting Photographs
Most photo editing software programs have auto adjust settings that naturally detect and correct exposure, tint, brightness and in some cases, straightness. The auto adjust feature is not always the best option; however, it can work well for mild or moderate corrections . If a picture is very dark or very bright, manually adjustments may also be needed to get the desired look that you want.
Aside from auto adjust, most programs also have options for auto level, auto color (color enhance) and auto contrast. Leveling uses a neutral scale to automatically adjust a photo’s saturation, or color intensity. Contrast adjustments involve increasing or decreasing the separation between the lightest part of the image and the deepest part of the image.
Making Colors Brighter
There are few different way to make colors stand out more in pictures. First, you can try auto adjusting or auto leveling to see if they make a difference. If you still need to make your colors brighter or stand out more, you can make manual adjustments to the saturation and contrast. If you want to make a red background really pop behind a yellow subject, increasing the saturation manually will make each color stand out more. Adjusting the contrast will enhance the colors even further.
Most programs will also have a color balance and color curve option. These options give you more creative control over the styling of an image because you can make manual adjustments to individual colors using a slider. Color balance scales use cyan, red, magenta, green, yellow and blue adjustments. Be aware of the all of the color changes you are making to ensure that as you adjust one color, you do not distort another unwillingly. The majority of the time, the goal of color adjustments should be to maintain the integrity of the original subject photographed.
Brightness adjustments are another great tool to utilize when the overall color or tone of the image is not accurate. Sometimes camera flashes can be too intense, leaving an image whitewashed. Inversely, some pictures may be so dark that the subjects are hard to see. If you are planning on printing photographs out for a photo album or are planning on printing a photobook, it is better to err on the side of caution and make photos on the brighter side. Photo printers have a tendency to darken pictures during processing. When adjusting brightness, contrast may need to be adjusted as well in order to maintain all of the smaller details in the photo.
If you want to stylize your photos, it is best to do it before processing, because photo editing options are limited in photobook publishers interfaces and online print services. Many styling options are available, such as tone, vignetting, filter effects, antiquing and adding borders. Photo editing software programs allow you to change a color to black and white or sepia. Vignetting adds black shadows to the borders of photographs to give them a very elegant look. Filter effects apply artistic styling by changing the tone, contrast and saturation of photos and are often predetermined settings. With the click of a mouse you can also make a photo appear to be an antique.
Edit Pictures Before Starting a Photobook
Many free photo editing programs are available if purchasing Photoshop or Lightroom is out of the question. I recommend using GIMP or PhotoScape, because they have many of the same great features as their more expensive counterparts.
Make it a habit to enhance each photo before processing them. The picture quality really does make a difference, especially in photobooks. Publishers such as Blurb and Shutterfly print their books out on very high quality paper that can withstand and maintain picture integrity.