Today I'd like to talk about photo editing and how to crop our photos using WINDOWS LIVE PHOTO GALLERY so that you can get the best out of each and every photo composition. Of course, any photo editing program will have cropping capabilities, so if you're working from a Mac find the program that came with it and you can follow along. If you're at all like me, you may have a hard time (even a very hard time) keeping the camera from shaking or holding it steady for the shot, especially when zoomed in very close. As often as I possibly can I do use the tripod because of it. If you have similar problems with it, it would be an excellent investment to purchase a tripod. I think you can get one for, maybe, 40.00, possibly less that would work just fine if you're not using a full size DSLR and some of the higher priced ones will hold the heavier DSLR's just fine. If you're worried about it toppling over, most of the better ones have a hook in the center where you can weight it down to avoid that. I think most of those following these tutorials may be using the new point and shoot cameras and those would do fine on the tripod without breaking the bank.
But, let's begin with the tutorial on photo editing. I found a short video on Youtube that would help those who aren't familiar with WINDOWS LIVE PHOTO GALLERY. There are some other videos as well if you need more help, or, feel free to ask me any questions you have as I'm more than happy to help you!
The first element we'll look at is cropping. I rarely frame a shot that I use right out of the camera, or, after loading into the computer because I don't do a lot of landscape shots. And, in fact, because I do so much micro/macro, that when I compose my composition before pressing the shutter, I tend to zoom out just a bit and leave myself some room to crop it. When you're doing macro photography, you run the risk of zooming in too far and you have no room to crop it because the composition doesn't allow it. Many times cropping covers a multitude of sins!
I hope you're already being more conscious of background distractions and either moving your entire body, or, making slight adjustments with the camera one way or the other to eliminate them. This editing program is "not" photoshop and you can't take wide swaths of mess-ups out of the photo, so, keep that in mind. I don't even own Photoshop because it's now so expensive that only professionals can afford it and I don't really have the patience to learn an entirely new computer program, which is what it would take.
So, why would you want to edit your photos? Well, there's actually many reasons, the first being that with just a few tweeks you can bring out more contrast, fix some slight over-exposures, or, bring in more highlights or shadows. And then there's cropping, which I think is the single most important editing tool you're likely to use if everything else is just right. Cropping can bring the photo forward and eliminate some minor distractions. It can also shift the point of interest to one side or the other if you'd rather not have the subject dead center. You'd also want to crop the photo for printing the finished product. If you've noticed when printing different sizes, such as 4x6, or, 5x7, etc., many times part of your photo will get chopped off and will be out of balance or off center from your original. If you had the main subject to the left a bit, when printing different sizes, it may get shifted to a position that detracts from the original. When I'm resizing a photo or editing it, I always work from a copy and keep the originals in a separate folder and leave them completely unchanged! Edit only those copies you've put in a separate folder and you can crop them for the different size prints in order to preserve the format for whichever size you've chosen for printing. I'll demonstrate that a little further on. So, first let's look at cropping our compositions. I've got some examples of my photos of the before and after's that I've done and I'll use the "copy" to show you how I took it from the original to the finished composition.
If you don't have the Windows Live Photo Gallery program (or an equivalent) you can download it here: http://windows-live-photo-gall...
Otherwise, whichever program came pre-loaded with your computer will work just fine!
This is a photo I took while visiting Bob Selman at BLUE RIDGE DAYLILIES this Summer. If you're anywhere near the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC I highly recommend a visit to his daylily farm! The landscaping is absolutely gorgeous and the plants you receive from Bob are among the very best daylilies I've ever purchased!
In this photo, there's a telephone pole on the right hand side that I thought was a bit distracting, so, I wanted to see if the composition would improve if I cropped it out.
So, I decided I did like it better and then I cropped some of the trees that were in shadow at the top and that resulted in bringing the whole composition forward a bit.
In the next one, there were several elements of it that I wanted to lessen by cropping it just a bit. There was a big patch of worn grass and the black weed barrier was very noticeable. The few power lines weren't that bad, but, since I was cropping it anyway....
I think that cropping helped a great deal in cleaning it up, but, I wanted to see if I'd gain anything by cropping the front bear spot out a bit, so, I did. Below is the final editing for that photo.
The last thing I did was to slide the histogram to the right just a hair and that brought in a touch more contrast in the overall composition.
I see that Dave and the Gang have begun the photo contest again this year and I want to wish everyone the best of luck with your entries!!!