Monday, February 24, 2014

adventures in photoshop

I don't know what has taken me so long, but this weekend I hopped on the Photoshop train.  It's funny, when I started blogging, I had no idea about anything photography related.  My focus was solely on what I was making and snapping a completed picture was purely an afterthought.  Taking pictures of quilts splayed out in the hallway or kitchen in poor lighting wasn't anything I batted an eye at and had no concept of editing those icky pictures to at least make the colors look true to life.

As I started reading more blogs, I got the hint that taking good pictures was just as important when it came to blogging!  Duh, nobody wants to look at cruddy dull poorly lit photos that weren't doing my quilts and projects any justice.  I started making every effort to take pictures outside, or at least in front of a window for the most natural light.  Shockingly this helped immensely!  Then I upgraded my camera to a Nikon DSLR, which also made eons of a difference.  It was tricky to get the hang of, but with the help of online tutorials I now grasp the basics of what all those buttons and dials do, and even make an attempt to shoot in manual mode!

I have toyed multiple times with purchasing Photoshop to edit my pictures, but have managed ok with using online editing software like PicMonkey, that is until starting to snap pictures of the baby.  PicMonkey did a decent job on editing stationary objects, like quilty photoshoots, where I really just needed to balance the colors or adjust exposure, but for trying to edit people, it just wasn't cutting it.  

Enter Photoshop.  I bit the bullet and spent the $99 on Photoshop Elements and really am kicking myself that I've held out so long.

PicMonkey Collage

Its been a few days since I've shared a Nora picture, so I'll share a few from her (and her buddy Sophie the giraffe's) 4 month pictures we took yesterday.  I will be the first to say that when I opened my first picture in Photoshop I was completely overwhelmed and didn't know where to start.  I promptly closed the program down, and started googling "photoshop for beginners" which yielded about a bajillion tutorials, so I decided to just start learning things one task at a time as I needed to know them.  I then searched for "how to lighten photos in photoshop" and this was much much more manageable.  I was shocked that in just a few key strokes there was such a difference between my original photo and the edited one!

PicMonkey Collage

I'm definitely still learning, but I'm now itching to go back and lighten and brighten all the pictures I can get my hands on!

  PicMonkey Collage

I just started playing around with some quilty pictures, and am using the same couple of techniques I used with these pictures.  If you have any sites or tutorials with regards to photoshop for newbies, I'd love to hear about them!

What about you, do you edit your photos?  If so what sort of program do you use?


  1. I can't get over how cute the baby is! But I'll try to focus. I am completely overwhelmed by any kind of new technology and I just use Ribbet online to edit photos. I really want to upgrade to a DSLR but I'm wondering how much difference it would make from my current camera. Years ago I took good photos with a 35mm manual camera but now all the buttons and menus on digital cameras overwhelm me. But taking good photos is important so I know I need to step up my game. Thanks for showing your before and after shots...again, what a cute baby!

  2. Okay, if you can get hold of the Scott Kelby books, he does some fab walkthroughs of techniques to process photos nicely.

    The best tip I can give you if you want to manipulate these, is to change your photo output from .JPG to .NEF. A jpeg will degrade with every edit that you make to it and save it, as it is what's known as a 'lossy' technique, so every time you edit and save, it loses more information, which becomes more obvious the bigger you try and make a photo to print out. A .nef file is what is known as RAW format, and it effectively a digital negative. When you open one of those in Photoshop, you'll get a RAW processor window that will open first, where you can adjust the exposure, white balance and all number of other things without degrading or affecting the original image. (As an aside, always work on a copy of your original jpegs, never the original, as you can't go back!)

    If you're a bit nervous about switching, I know my Canons have a JPG + RAW option, so you get both kinds of photo to compare, and I imagine Nikon have the same kind of option.

  3. Great job Jess and the baby is so sweet!

  4. Beautiful girl and beautiful pictures! Can you share how you lightened them? I am scared of photoshop. ;)