Tuesday, September 15, 2009

tips & tricks | favorite websites for post processing



i have been talking about the importance of post processing. if you have an interest in photography or are looking to create more professional looking shots, then this is a must. now you might be thinking "i don't have photoshop! i don't know how to do any processing!" here is some help to get you started:

you need to have photo editing software. the newest professional version of photoshop CS4, at upwards of $1500, will probably be out of your reach. the good news is you don't need it! photoshop has a very user friendly 'home version' called elements which you can often find for around $100. here is the site if you want to download a free trial:

another option is the google program picasa. i have heard good things about picasa and it is free!

another option is to check to see if your printer or camera came with any editing software - you might be surprised!

now that you have some software, the next step is learning what to do with it. here are some great websites to help you get going:

jodi at mcp has the best advice around! she also sells amazing actions and tutorials for using photoshop once you reach that point. here is an extrememly useful post full of tips and tricks to get you started...

i have posted the link for 'i love photography' before. not only will you find some great advice about taking photographs but you will also find heaps of advice for post processing, both with photoshop and other programs. it is free to join!

type the name of your editing software (photoshop elements, picasa, etc.) into the search box and see a list of a number of free and very useful video tutorials. i use this option all of the time!

if you have photoshop elements and you would like to try out some actions - you will find some great free ones here, along with some great tutorials and advice. (actions are preset steps you load into photoshop - with a click of the button you can create amazing black and whites, colour portraits etc.)

if you do have an interest in learning some post processing techniques and would like some more specific information or have questions you would like answered, please send me a message! i would love to help, and i guarantee that your question will help others as well =)

tips & tricks | post processing

post processing (or pp'ing) refers to the steps you take once you uploaded your photos onto your computer. you might be thinking "what steps? i just print my photos!" if you would like to kick your photos up to the level of professional shots, or make them look more like portraits and less like snap shots, then post processing is a must.

i have included a couple of sets of shots here as an example of the importance of post processing. the first shot is what we call 'straight out of camera' (or 'sooc'). the second shot has been processed (by me!) in photoshop CS4. you can see quite clearly the difference that post processing makes.



if you have had a professional photo session with a photographer (me or someone else) you may wonder why the cost of prints is so much more than what you would pay if you went to your local walmart/big w. the reason is that you are paying for the expertise of that photographer to process the sooc shots and have them printed by reputable professional printer. if you take your sooc shots down to the local walmart/big w, the computers there will do some basic pp'ing, and they will be printed on photo paper, but i guarantee you that they will not look as fantastic as they would if you ordered your prints from your photographer!

(as an aside, i recently had some of my edited shots printed at one of those quick & cheap stores and i was not impressed with the quality at all - it is worth finding a professional printer in your town that you trust with your images!)

to give you an idea of some of the steps involved in pp'ing; this is what i do to every shot i edit:
-defog digital image & apply noiseware filter
-check/adjust white balance
-check/adjust exposure
-check/adjust highlights, midtones & shadows
-touch up skin, eyes, and and any clothing/background that isn't quite perfect
-convert photo to black & white or enhance/'pop' colour
-sharpen and crop for printing, keeping in mind rule-of-thirds and other compositional elements

so, you can rely on those computers at walmart/big w to do this all for you, or you can take your photographs to the next level and learn to do these steps yourself! stay tuned for some great tips to get you started.

of course, you always have the option of ordering your prints from me. remember, i can take your favorite digital photographs and turn them into something really special... =)

sneak peek | craig family

while i was in my hometown of kelowna, canada, i had the great honour and pleasure of photographing my very best friend and her family. thank you to the craigs for sharing a morning outside with me and to sweet little peyton and ashlyn, especially, for being such good girls =)