Friday, May 14, 2010

Blowing The Lid Off Of Photo Editing

This is a very different post than any other I have written so far.  But one of the main reason's I began blogging was to learn more about photography, and I have been thrilled with what I have learned in such a short time.  

If you read blogs and marvel at the amazing photography, wishing you could do the same, you may not be aware of how much editing has improved the photo's you see.  

Of course, this is not the case on my blog.  I mean. . .  I never, ever, edit my photo's!  
Here on Bungalow'56 they are all placed directly from my camera onto the blog screen in the RAW.  Like this one of my daughter's Converse shoes for instance....
Sheesh, I just can't do it.  Nope... I can't.  I feel dirty. I'm afraid I'm a big ol' liar liar pants on fire.

So since I'm coming clean, here is a look at what can happen to a photo when you have a very basic photo editing program, as each edit took only a few minutes.  I managed to finish this post before finishing my chocolate bar.  Amazing really, because it was one of those teeny weeny 100 calorie, wisps of air kind of bars.  

I have been observing a Friday blog challenge on many of the photography blogs that I visit. Every Friday the Heart Faces Website issues a photo editing challenge.  This is my first kick at the can.  My toes hurt a little, but I think I came up with some interesting edits.

Each participant downloads the chosen picture (the same one for everyone) and tries their hand at taking a less than perfect shot and creating something special.  You can check out other photo edits of this shot at I Heart Faces Friday Fix Challenge I am always amazed at how each participant's own style shows through in their final photo's.  
I own a Mac and with it came a photo editing program called iPhoto.  It is the only program I have ever used. I understand it is quite basic compared to some of the photoshop programs available.  It is extremely user friendly and all that I need.

This first shot I simply used the automatic enhance feature and used this as a starting point.  I brightened the photo and played with the contrast and highlights and also the colour saturation. It is a clear and crisp picture with more vivid colours than the washed out original.  I also erased any facial blemishes that were visible. I think this takes the integrity of the first picture and just makes it better.
This shot used my original edit and switched to Black and White while playing once again with the contrast, and brightness.  I also worked with the colour and moved it up much more into the yellow shades, which really helped to brighten his face.  I also slightly blurred the edges and rotated him slightly.
This is another try, with a close up square crop.

I decided to play with the shot a bit.  I was frustrated with the high contrast the sunlight created, so tried cropping that portion of the picture out.  This is an antique effect available and I then lightened it and brought up the definition.  My program does not allow me to take specific areas of the photo to edit.  For instance I would have liked to whiten the teeth slightly as they tend to look on the yellow side with the Antique wash. 

I continued to play with this shot and I went for broke.  I played with the contrast, definition, and de-noise, to create a painted effect which I think if very interesting and unique. 
Isn't he just the cutest little guy you've ever seen?  He reminds me of an older version of the Gerber baby.  While this is a very stylized edit, it gives you an idea as to what changes can be made to a photo.

With a few slides of the cursor, a mediocre picture can be turned into whatever it is you want.
So there you have it,  the secret is out... Photo editing can transform pictures into something they were not originally.

What this challenge has made me realize is to not overlook a photo just because of a few faults.

It's not what you look at that matters. It's what you see.


and... if you want a chocolate bar, get a real chocolate bar, life is too short to live unfulfilled.
~ Dana

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  1. The first crop is just stunning... I LOVE it!

  2. wow! isn't that fun! i just go photoshop last week and am beginning to read my way through a classroom-in-a-book. it's amazing to me the way you can completely fix problems and change the picture. almost scary! but what a fun, creative process. thanks for sharing this post...i might have to join in as well to gain more experience and practice!

  3. Wow, I'm so impressed! I do literally no post processing on my photos, due to a combination of laziness and ineptitude. I know, it's very sad.

  4. I've got to get off my duff and join the rest of the world.

    *sigh* I'm such a loser.

  5. Your hilaroius! thanks for working on my photo!All of them turned out fantastic! And yes, a chocolate bar does sound mighty nice!!!

  6. Ooooooooh! I love it! Thanks for stopping by my blog as well. Your photography is also AMAZING! You can check mine out too at

    Have a wonderful day!

  7. OOOH!!! Interesting!!! This is cute!

  8. WOW! Impressive! I have an external hard-drive full of mediocre photos. Maybe I should post them all for you to edit! ;) Of course, if I had a MAC... I LOVE MACs and I'm stuck on a PC... sigh!

  9. I need such help when it comes to holding a camera and opertaing it effectively.

    I love that LAST shot - so freak awesome!

  10. That was supposed to be so freakin awesome. :) The coffee hasn't set in yet. :)

  11. Isn't fix-it Friday fun? Sometimes I think I enjoy the editing more than the picture taking.

  12. As I read this I was eating stale Easter Peeps (bunnies, actually). I have permission to get a new camera, so will look forward to trying some of your tricks! I love your photos, so will look to you for advice on good photography blogs as I'm learning about my fancy new camera--when I get it, that is!

  13. Dana, these turned out great! i am a mac girl, too!

  14. Yep, I'm an iPhoto gal too. Although I would love to try my hand at PhotoShop (the next time I have a spare $500 lying around...sheesh!)

    But I LOVE your photography. I think sometimes that you have your own personal light source following you around. I can't figure out how you get all those amazing shots indoors!

  15. I always feel so inadequate w/ my photographs but I don't edit yet. Thanks for explaining it!


  16. I'm glad you wrote this post. I still shoot with a point & shoot but I'm getting very frustrated with it, because I can't take indoor pictures w/o the flash w/o it coming out very blurry =( I'm going to get a DSLR, but obviously there are many choices! In the end, I think ANY DSLR is probably better than my current cam.

  17. Nice. This is an excellent source of information. I like your blog. Thanks for sharing this blog.


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