Greetings and welcome to the next StillCamBags Masterclass – Online Image Editing, editing with Layers.
In this edition I will be discussing the benefits of online photo editing, considering of course that as a traveller you don’t want to be taking a full laptop with you.
So, when you hit the local internet cafe what are your choices, well surprisingly there are lots to choose from.
All of the below sites are free for sign up, work on any Operating System (which means that you can take your laptop to the internet cafe and do it there – if you have it), and on any browser.
The best thing about these online tools (apart from the fact that they are free)(for added features there is a premium login you can purchase), is that you can automatically share with your favourite sharing site (flickr / Facebook / photo bucket / picasa), or after you have finished your edit, you can save it back to your laptop.
I think that with any photography, you have to think of your audience, do you upload EVERY image from you trip to Blenheim Palace (where Winston Churchill grew up), or do you cull it to those that are truly able to tell the story of your vist there, the latter is the better choice.
A few things to remember when editing your images.
1. Consider a light to medium sharpen of the image
2. Crop out the extra parts of the image, so that it is more focused on the subject that you have photographed, this does not apply for panoramic or landscape images, or when you are trying to show the whole building or where people are – like at Stonehenge.
3. If the online photo editing site allows you, add in a duplicate layer – this will then allow you to tweak the image.
About layers in digital photography – the idea behind it is that you can lay one photo on top of the other, the useful thing about this is that you can make the photos transparent and allow them to show through, this is the essence of layers. It is the single most powerful tool used to edit images.
To further explain layers, say you have taken a photo of your travel group, with the sun behind them and forgotten to use a flash. This will give your subjects dark faces.
SCB QuickTip: Always use a flash, even in sunny conditions and always think of where the current available light is when you are shooting.
To fix this, create a duplicate layer of the same image. Then select the faces of the group using the lasso tool (or its equal) and then lighten that selection. This will lighten only their faces and not blow out the colour / brightness of the whole image.
Once you have mastered using layers, you will find ways of applying it to almost every image that you have taken.
4. Once you have applied Layers / Sharpening and Crop to your images, save them in a format that makes it easy to share – this is generally .jpg. Also consider the file size, the smaller the file the faster it is to upload to your favourite sharing site.
Here is the process for the enhancement of the above image in Picnik. Note that this site does not use layers, instead a process called ‘ destructive image adjustment’.
Flash up Picnik, and load your image, in this case I have had to rotate the image. This a very simple procedure in the side pallet toolbar on the left.
Next I have cropped out the horizon as I really dont want the setting sun to be a feature of this image. You can clearly see that the crop tool gives you the rule of thirds (remembering that where the lines intersect is where our eyes are drawn). In this case, the foreground is perfectly centered and the background and the sun light on the water draw your eyes upward.
Next I have applied some exposure adjustments. This will be entirely up to you, and if you have an idea of what you want to achieve, it will save you spending more time editing, and more time out there shooting ! In this case, I wanted to bring up the colour of the sun reflected in the Compass.
Finally, when you are finished you save. In this case I have saved back to my Computer. Picnik gives you the option to save to Picasa / Twitter / Flickr / Facebook / Photobucket and the ability to email your images.
And here is the final image.
Please feel free to comment or ask questions of the Author and look out for more Travel Photography information and Happy Shooting !