The unedited shot looks unremarkable to me. But I spent literally one or two minutes on pp and got to the final result above. A good return on investment in my view. :)
- picasa (free)
- www.picnik.com (basic is free, premium is $25/yr), and/or
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 (came free with a wacom digital tablet).
PP programs can help you with
For the shot above I benefited from all three uses.
BACKGROUND INFO - WHITE BALANCE
White balance (wb) is the color cast of the light in the picture. Extreme examples: Incandescent lamps cast yellow light. Sodium parking lot lights cast greenish light. Fixing white balance means making the color cast neutral or changing it actively.
Most of the time, your camera's automatic white balance does an ok job of neutralizing wb. But in this regard, DSLRs don't seem to do as well vs. point and shoot cameras. There are many ways to make sure that wb is correct when you take the shot but I'll write about that next time. This entry is only about pp.
It's a guide for exposure. If the pixels are in the leftmost or rightmost column, then the picture does not show any detail in those pixels except to show them as pure black (leftmost) or pure white, red, green, or blue (rightmost).
ACTUAL EXAMPLE OF BASIC POSTPROCESSING
Steps for PP in picnik:
1. Go to picnik.com, and upload the picture from your computer or from an online album. Move your mouse over the picture and click on the down arrow on the bottom right and select edit.
2. correct the white balance.
- click on colors
- if there's a white or gray part of your picture, you can click on neutral picker and select that part.
- adjust color temperature. Generally people look better in slightly warm-looking light. Flash is also slightly bluish so you generally have to warm up the image a bit if you used flash (as I did here). Here I set temperature to 19, which is less warm than the result above.
- adjust saturation. I prefer saturated colors. Here I increased to 4.
- click ok
3. correct the exposure.
- click exposure
- click on advanced
- adjust the highlights and observe the histogram. Here I moved it to 28. The histogram shows that the sky gets blown out but that's ok. There's no detail there anyway.
- click local contrast and adjust. I really like this effect because it makes the subject look more three-dimensional. I tend to move it as high as I can without the image looking strange, then I back off a bit. Here I adjusted to 16%.
- click ok.
4. crop if necessary.
- click on crop
- click on "no constraints" and change it to the ratio you want. Here I picked golden ratio.
- adjust the crop. To follow the rule of thirds, keep the points of interest near the intersections of the lines.
- click ok.
5. save your work.
- click "save & share"
- if saving to an album, choose whether to replace the old file or save as a new one. Here I saved as a new file.
- click on save
That's it. You're done.
DID YOU GET VALUE FROM THIS?
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