But with the semester in full swing, I'm tutoring as many hours as I can handle to supplement our grad student income, and can't really spend much time on projects when I'm spending any free time tutoring. I had kind of thought if I made some money with BlogHer I would tutor less and DIY/blog more. Anyhow, water under the bridge, and I'm still doing some projects as time permits because I find it relaxing to have a creative side of life! I'm planning to keep to my recent level of about two-three posts/projects a week. I wish I could do more, but better to be realistic and sustainable :)
I've also been thinking that one reason I started with DIY projects was ways to add value to our home for when we rent/sell. I've been doing more smaller projects lately, but I plan to highlight value-adding projects throughout this fall/winter, like weatherproofing tips, our bathtub remodel, etc.
Anyhow. I've been thinking for awhile that I wanted to tell you about my favorite photo editor and how much I love it!! I'm not great at making my photos look perfect yet, but I'm definitely better than when I started. My goal is to make the photos look like real life, captured a bit artistically.
A lot of bloggers I know use photoshop to edit their photos. First of all I am rather too
I'm going to show you how I edit a photo for my blog. This is useful not just for project photos, of course - it's wonderful for people photos, kitten photos, anything! So, click Start Editing, Upload Photos, browse to your photo in the dialog that pops up, and away we go.
I do any rotation that I need first - so with this photo I'd click Rotate > [clockwise arrow] > Apply.
Next I crop the photo if I want to, by clicking Crop. I usually choose Original Proportions from the drop-down menu in the Crop box, to keep my photos looking standardized. Then I drag the corners of the crop box on my photo, and click Apply when I like it. Basically I want to center my image as I want it, and get rid of any distracting 'fringe' elements at the edges of my photo. In this case, I want to crop out the bookcase edge that's showing on the right side.
Notice that there are also handy Undo/Redo buttons in the upper right corner!
Now comes the real fun. First I usually click that big Auto-Fix button and see if I like it (I click Undo if I don't like it). Then I click Exposure and try the Auto-Exposure button (again, Undo if it's too harsh). In this case, the auto buttons don't do much, so then in the Exposure box, I pull the slider to the right on Exposure to get rid of the wall shadows, and then a bit on Shadows to heighten the objects' depth. I also like the Highlights slider, but that wouldn't work in this photo because it's that big shadow on the wall I want to downplay.
Ahh. You can really see the difference that made with the mercury glass vase. It looks much more like real life now.
Indoor photos, especially in the evening or with a lot of beige in the photo, can look too beige/red in the photo. To fix this, I choose Colors and move the Temperature a bit to the left (blue) end of the scale. This photo's not bad because the camera picked up the blue shade, but I still do it a little because the beige walls always skew slightly red.
The colors in photos can also look a little washed out, especially when I heighten the exposure. To compensate, I often use a little color boosting. See how we've been working in the Basic Edits section of the Edit tab, reading the location across the top of the editor? Now I'm going to click over to the Effects tab.
While Basic Edits contains all the main edits typical for a photo, Effects has a fun, comprehensive selection of more artistic adjustments! You can specialize the focus, do black and white or sepia effects, cross process for some artistic hippiness, and a ton more. Remember the Undo button is easy access so you can try out everything and go back to what you had before.
For now I just want the Boost, so I click on Boost, which heightens all the colours. The default boost is usually wayyyy too much, so I move the Strength slider to the left till it just compensates for any wash-out. Click Apply when happy with it.
There's way more awesomeness than I can really talk about on this page. Cross Process is really fun with people photos or to give it a vintage/urban feel. Sometimes I use a little Soften on the kittehs to capture their soft fur, or Focal Soften if I'm doing an object closeup and want to heighten the focus on my object. Changing the focus to one part of your photo won't look realistic unless the objects in your photo are different distances from the camera.
That's about all I do for project photos, unless I'm adding text (on the Text tab) or arrows/circles/etc (on the Stickers tab). But if I'm doing a photo of people, I do sometimes use the Touch-Up tab because it's too much fun! You can whiten teeth, get rid of shininess on glasses, smooth out-of-place hairs, even airbrush and craziness.
Here I'll show you the Clone tool, used to get rid of something small you don't want in the photo. So click on the Touch-Up tab (in the navigation bar across the top of the editor), and scroll down to the bottom of the tools to find Clone.
I usually zoom in to where I want to fix something, too, with that handy Zoom tool on the bottom right. Click the big mountains to zoom in, small mountains to zoom out. You can move around in the zoomed-in photo by dragging the box in the mini-photo that appears above the Zoom tool.
The Clone tool is hard to explain but easy to understand after you use it a couple times. Basically you click on a source point, where you want to smart-copy from, and then click and drag where you want to smart-paste. The source point and destination point are relative - you're not always copying from the same place each time you paste, but instead from the distance/position relative to your destination point.
Here I'll use it to get rid of those little paint scratches on the front of the table. I wouldn't usually do this on a project photo (kind of cheating, right?) but I want to show you the coolness.
In the above photo I'm applying my first clone. This feature works best if you do several little clones, clicking Apply and then Clone again in between to get a new source point.
Of course the more patient you are the better it gets, too. Here's a version I spent about 30 seconds cleaning up:
You can see a little ripple in the bottom edge of the table, but it's not really going to show in the big picture so it's good enough for me. :)
Save & Share
And that's it! Click on the Save & Share tab to name your photo, choose how big you want it (I just move the JPG Compression Quality - you only need more than 1MB if you're going to use it as your desktop background or print the photo. If I'm going to print it, I keep it the largest possible size. For the blog or for Facebook I use about a size 6-7. That way the photos upload a lot faster for me, and load the page a lot faster for you!
Done. How to make your photos look bea-youu-tiful with almost no effort!
Now you know all my secrets.
|Yup, I just made this collage with Ribbet, picking the text colour from the lampshade!|
I would love to hear from you too! Do you edit photos? What photo editor do you use? Does anyone remember Picnik, the photo editor Ribbet came from? Do you prefer photoshop? What do you think the future of photo editors looks like? Does anyone else love the flexibility of editing on the web like I do??