Best Photography Editing Tips

Every time I pick up a new photography or image editing tip I find myself thinking that I wish I would have known it back when I started.

I have learned the most from listening to others and the things that have helped them, so I thought it might be nice to put together a list of many of these tips. I asked members of the Digital Photography and Photo Editing group to share some of their best photography and editing tips. Following are their responses.

I think the best advice I can give to those taking/storing photos, is to take them with the best quality you can, and make sure you have a lot of storage space. I purposely went out and purchased an external hard drive, just so that I could take my photos with me wherever I went. As far as editing goes, I recommend taking the time to get to know Photoshop. Adobe offers great training material and superb support to help you do anything under the sun.

R. Ferris, Ontario Canada
Rockridge Arabians

For those folks who use a film scanner or flatbed scanner to acquire their digital images I have two simple recommendations that will give them consistent high quality results. First turn off all of the automatic functions in the scanner’s software. If the scanner decides what the correct color balance, for example, you will never be able to remove the color casts it has produced. Although, scanners have improved vastly it is still faster and easier to do your own image corrections.

Second, always scan at a resolution at least three times the resolution needed for your project. e.g. web destined images scan at roughly 300 dpi and for print at 900 dpi. Why you ask? Because the more pixels you have when you are removing scratches, dust spots, etc. the less noticeable the corrections will be in your final image.

Sally Kueker, Iowa
Zaneta Publication Design

One of the best pieces of photography advice I ever received was to back up from my subject, and to use my ZOOM! I have less problems with any distortion from trying to stand too close to take pictures, I get much more natural pictures when I’m photographing live subjects – especially children. I also get a lot less “background” in my pictures – instead they are filled with my subject and are much more interesting.

Another piece of good advice is to take MORE pictures. Change your angle, your zoom, your direction, and your lighting. With your digital camera, now you can just delete the ones that you don’t like, but you are much more likely to get that one “perfect” shot.

Tara Guy, Colorado
Rocky Mountain Baby

The best photography advice I have received thus far is to experiment taking photos from different angles. The change in perspective can have a tremendous outcome on your chosen subject matter and can make the difference between an ‘okay’ photograph and an awesome one!

Renée Dawson, Ontario, Canada
North Shore Business Services

One of the best tips I’ve received is from someone on the web. I sent him a picture and he resent it back to me which made it look cleaner. He used Neat Image. I use it most of the time. Other times I use PhotoShop. I also use Microsoft Office Picture Manager. I used to use Microsoft Photo Editor, but it doesn’t come with WinXP Pro.

Ellen J. Ingram, Rhode Island
Dyerville Area Residents

I’m always looking for ways to improve my photography of items for by bead art website. But no matter what I tried I was never happy with the results until one day I was with a group of people in a forum for beadwork, discussing the difficulties of photographing our work because of how the jewelry reflects light back and creates glare.

The tip there was to get or create a box that would diffuse the light. Though that was a really great tip, I’d already been using that and still wasn’t satisfied. But one of the ladies from that conversation happened to check out the beadwork on my website and emailed me on the side. She said it would look better if I could blend the edges of the photos into the background. Then she stepped me through how to do that using the Feather command in Adobe Photoshop. It made a huge difference on my site. Combining those two tips with what I have learned from Cricket, I am finally happy with the results I’m getting.

Anne Kinter, Michigan
Kintera Arts

I’ve seen a big difference in my photos since I started resizing in steps and sharpening in between instead of resizing and sharpening all at once. I also appreciated learning how to optimize my photos to speed up loading without losing quality.

Amy S. Nogar, Wisconsin
Zany Zebra Designs

One of the best tips I ever received was to use high resolutions photos and work down with them, using the sharpen and unsharpen mask to provide image enhancement. Resizing in increments no larger than 25% at a time also proved to be a very notable point. Also, saving the file in the .tiff format before modifying the image to protect the original image for future use was great information. These pointers extremely improved the quality of images on my web site.

Steve Lane, Maine
Maine Wastewater Control Association

I really appreciate the tutorials about using the sharp and unsharp masks in my photo editing software. Now my pictures look better when I reduce them to a size that is appropriate to use on my website. The tips on reducing pictures has also be very valuable in keeping the size of my pages down for quick loading.

Vila Cox, Idaho
Warped & Wonderful

For me, ANY tip is a great one as images/graphics are not my strong point! Two helpful tips I have received – first, not to use the auto thumbnail feature of fp but to create my own thumbnails. Second, is to put a 1px black border around my images. Makes them show up better on the page. Also to add a drop shadow to the images. Makes the image look much more professional.

Pat Geary, Virginia
Genealogy Web Creations

One of the MOST useful tips I’ve ever received for image editing was to work at the highest pixel resolution possible (pixel per inch), degrade to the required resolution (e.g., 72 ppi for computer monitors), then sharpen and unsharp mask before saving to the web. In my case, this allows me to save without image compression.

A second tip that I have is for folks who scan on a flatbed scanner rather than photograph their subjects. Scan at a higher resolution than that at which you will be doing your image editing. This way you can have a master copy on hand should you wish to start over with new modifications.

Patricia C. Vener, Connecticut
Lair of the Silver Dragon

One of the best tips I ever received was to increase the number of photos I take of a single scene or subject, using a number of different settings and angles to take the shot. This has greatly increased the odds of me getting the perfect shot I need for a specific project.

J. Cricket Walker

Small Business Marketing Consultant and Scenic Photographer
Copyright © 2006 J. Cricket Walker of Online Photography Magazine All Rights Reserved

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