Digital Photo Editing Tips

Depending on the digital editing software you are going to use, the tools may vary, but most programs should have the same options with different names. I am familiar with photoshop, so the steps I will be referencing will be from this program. Remember that you can not fix a improperly taken photograph with a computer; you should do your best to get the picture taken correctly in the field and do minor adjustments with the computer.

Open the file that you want to work on; there are different methods you can use to do this. The option I use most is in photoshop;double click the grey background and this will bring up the open file browser. You can also go to file>open this will open up the browser as well. Also you can bring up the folder in windows and right click>open with>Photoshop this Will open photoshop and load the photograph for you. There are other methods available but these few should be sufficient to get you going.

With the file open, go to Image size and adjust the resolution and picture size. A picture to be used on the web, only, can get by with a 72 ppi and just size the photograph to fit whatever requirements you need for your web page. If printing this picture you should use between a 300-360 ppi this will give you a nice crisp looking photograph. When adjusting the ppi to this size will increase the size of the photograph Major, so you will need to decrease the size of your printable image to probably an 8×10, this can still be blown up slightly and no problems shrinking. If you use lower ppi it will lower the quality of the printed image, a 72 ppi will look very blocky and unacceptable. After you’re done with this you should save the file with a new name. We need to save frequently so if you run across a mistake you can go back to a previous save and not loose any of your progress.

When editing the image, we want it to the size we are going to use it at. When making adjustments they can become out of wack when resizing. After you have the image to correct size zoom it into 100% so you can see what you are working on and not making major mistakes to the image. When you do adjustments to an image of a smaller zoom you will not see the true adjustnents being made.

The first adjustment we should do is to adjust the colors to look more like what we saw, rather than what the camera saw. We do this by going to layers>new adjustment layer>levels. We use layers because it does not do any changes to the original picture and we can come back and adjust later just by clicking on the layer if we find an issue. With levels up click the drop down menu and go through each of the colors, we will start with green.

Take the sliders on each edge of the histogram and slide them over to the first sign of information. What this means is there is a flat line on the bottom of the histogram and as soon as there is any information above that line is where we want the slider to be. Go through and do this for blue and red also; what this does is tell the program where true black and white are, if you slide too far over then you will be deleting information and turning more of the colors into white or black. The final step is to go into all channels and the edges of the histogram should be touching the edge of the box. now adjust the center slider this is the gray slider to add contrast and make the photograph look proper.

The final step before you print is to adjust the sharpness. Like the options to open file there are many ways you can do this, be careful over sharpening can ruin your photograph and make it very unpleasant to look at. If you have a newer version of photoshop than using smart sharpen after flattening the image in layers, will give you the best turnout. If you are using an older version of photoshop there are so many ways to do this do some research and find what works for you best.