Photo Resizing & Retouching
I would like to expand on what Jay mentioned about picture editing and resizing in particular. I have been on for MSW for a number of years now and a familiar question throughout that time was ‘How do I resize my photo’s for posting on the site?”
I could not understand the amount of responses saying to buy this or download this or you need this freeware etc. I think that alone would put people off posting their photos.
What are you options;
Okay you are not interested in photography but want to resize for posting. If using a PC all versions of Windows as far as I am aware comes with ‘Microsoft Paint’. This was all I used for many years until earlier this year. Fire it up, open your picture and click resize. Job done.
I would select changes by pixel and make sure the keep aspect ratio is ticked to simplify and would select 800x600 for general stuff or I didn’t want people looking to closely. If it was something I was proud of or really detailed I would go 1600x1200 the maximum MSW allows.
Microsoft Picture Manager
Aagain comes included with Windows. I would use this to tweek the white balance. You may notice a lot of my build log photos had something white in them usually the corner of a white sheet of paper sticking in the frame somewhere. This is so I could click on the paper to tell the program this is supposed to be ‘white’ so it (or I ) had a reference. I might do a whole post on White Balance at some time.
There you go, two free options you already have (sorry Mac users I know nothing of your options) without downloading, paying for etc.
“But Slog I am interested in furthering my photography and interested in photo editing”. Okay here are few options. I am no expert in any of them but here is my thoughts.
Advanced very expensive and in my opinion not worth it for photo editing. Yes it is powerful but only if you want to lose a few pounds from the cover model of ‘Vogue’ or clean up her complexion or remove unsightly tattoos etc. Even add in or remove people. The learning curve on this is long and steep.
If you really want to get into heavy manipulation a similar program which is free is GIMP.
This is aimed at photo retouching and is a fantastic program. I started using this when I started DSLR earlier this year. A fraction of the cost of PS but is designed around photo editing workflows for professionals. I use it to tweek the exposure slightly, recover details in shadow areas or go the opposite for a contrasty black and white. Lift up or reduce colours. Sort white balance etc. As jay said increase the saturation of everything or specific colours. Straighten buildings and horizons sort perspective etc etc. Strange but apart from cropping for composition I don’t use it for cropping the picture size?!!??
It is relatively quick to pick up the basics. As you can see I am fairly biased to towards LR. There are similar free ones out there such as Google Picasa but I have no experience of these.
There are many options of software out there but these are a few I am aware of and have comments on.
I might add, as a few people on this and different threads have said is to shoot the maximum size your camera will allow whether it is JPG or RAW (or both). The more information that is recorded the more editing can be done with it. Yes the file sizes are big but it doesn’t cost anything other than memory space which is ridiculously cheap now.
If you just want to just resize save your time, download quota and money and use the free software you most likely already have.
If you want to edit your photos to correct/tweek colours, exposure, contrast etc use Lightroom or try a free one like Picasa.
If you want to totally manipulate photos like having sharks jumping at helicopters beside the Golden Gate bridge (please don’t post the photo of this anyone, we have all seen it!) then throw your money at Photoshop or try GIMP for free.