Post Processing Your Images

 

While some photos look great right out of the camera, many can be enhanced by adjusting the contrast, brightness or color along with a little sharpening. This “post processing” is usually done on a computer using Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or one of the many other photo editing software packages on the market.

Most photo editing programs allow you to make the most common adjustments, but if you take your photography seriously you should consider purchasing one that offers the ability to “stitch together” several images to create panoramas and copy portions of one photo into another. Here are a few other features to look for as well:

  • “Selection Tools” that allow you to make adjustments to selected parts of an image while leaving the rest of it unchanged. For example, if you’re working on a photo of a man with his back to the sun, his face and body will likely be very dark and featureless while the rest of the image looks fine. By using a selection tool to isolate him from the rest of the image, you can brighten the man up quite a bit without making everything else any brighter.
     
  • A “Clone Stamp Tool” will allow you to remove an unwanted item from a picture. For example, let’s say you have taken a beautiful photo of a famous landmark but there is an ugly street sign that detracts from the image. You can use the Clone Stamp tool to copy another section of the image over the sign making it look like it was never there in the first place!
     
  • Post processing software that uses “layers” allows you to make adjustments to an image and save individual adjustments in separate files, leaving the original image unchanged. Then, if you later change your mind about a specific adjustment, you can simply delete that layer and all other changes will be retained.
     
  • An “Autofix” feature will let you click just one button to instruct the software to analyze the image and make a number of adjustments automatically. If you’re unhappy with the way the image turned out, you can either undo the “autofix” completely or fine-tune the automatic adjustments manually.

Conclusion:

Owning a quality image editing software package won’t make you a better photographer, but a little post processing can often turn a poor picture into a good one and a good picture into a great one!