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Why should you edit your photos?

In my initial phase of digital photography, I was one of those who believe that editing an image is cheating the viewer. I took pride in my untouched photos and thought it was upto me to take a good shot each time I clicked the button and editing should not substitute my abilities as a photographer.

To some extent, I was correct. Technology should not, actually it can not, substitute my abilities as a photographer, however it can take my photos to a higher level. And if you thought touching your photos is 'cheating', consider having an orchestra at your command but you insist on using just the synthesizer! A digital photo is like creating music, a note here, a symphony there and you come up with a completely new tune. Similarly a little deeper tint, a little brightness and your photo can become a piece of art.

Composition is a very important aspect of taking a photo, one which can affect the perspective of your photo like no other. Sometimes it is not in your control to place your subject in the desired spot in the frame or you may not be able to keep yourself at the suitable distance from the subject. You take the photo and you find that there is a lot of unnecessary detail in the photo and your subject is getting almost obscured or at least it doesn't seem to be the 'subject' of the photo. Or most common example, you took a scenery but there are electric wires!

What do you do now?

Try 'cropping' your photo. In simple terms, remove the extra parts of the image from the sides. If your photo is sufficiently large, cropping the image will enlarge the subject and remaining parts of the image. Here is an example.


In this photo the stone pond is my subject, but there is so much more on top of the image that pond does not attract the attention immediately.

After cropping the photo becomes:


Now there is lot lesser clutter in this image.

Cropping is only one of the many ways you can edit the images. Almost all the photos of models/actors/actresses you see and drool over are touched up professionally in Photoshop. Professional photographers color-coordinate their photos to make those sceneries look like heaven or those wild-life shots come alive!

How to edit your images? Most photo-management softwares give you options to do simple editing of photos. I use Picasa which gives you one click touch-up in terms of brightness, contrast and lighting. Other actions like cropping and straightening too are very simple. You can even add effects in your photos. You can download it from here and install it.

If you don't want to install anything, you can do online image editing on Flickr.com.

This article should get you started with basic understanding of editing of your photos. Try playing with your images, you will definitely create something new and hopefully something better.

Comments

Tushar said…
Well said Asty Reay!
You hit on the mark about us the 'cheating' aspect. I suffered from this guilt fro some time. And like you, I have started using Picasa for the past few months. The resutls have been amazing. Using the "I am feeling lucky" option to edit improves your images dramatically. More so, if you are an amateur photographer. I have found the utilities like adding light very useful for images which have been taken in dim light and when I didn't want to use the flash.

Keep clicking.

Tushar

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