This time, I would like to introduce you to basic photo editing and I will be working with scans of printed photos and digital images.
To make your photos look their best on the screen, the images should be bright, clear and as close to the actual colors as possible.There are a number of different editing tools used here.
They also need to make the best use of the screen surface and they should have as little unnecessary background as possible. To accomplish this, you will use a technique called cropping.
Each time you change something in the photograph, you are losing some information. If you make too many changes, you could end up with a much lower quality than you expected, so be sure you are always working from a copy of the original scan and that you used the highest resolution possible when scanning.
The order of adjustments for basic editing that we will use are:
1. White Balance – Photos can take on a yellow, blue or greenish hue among others. An example would be the camera was set for sunlight, but you used indoor lighting and no flash, resulting in a yellowish hue to the photo.
2. Exposure – Compensating for a photo the is too bright or too dark or has detail lost in shadows.
3. Contrast – Proper contrast can give the image more of a three dimensional feel and may enhance color saturation as well.
4. Framing – This is where we will crop the photo to highlight the subject and best fit the screen.
Different software will vary in how the adjustments are made and there are also a wide variety of free editing tools with varying degrees of results. The goal here is to show you how the photos will look when a few minor editing tweaks are done.
Let’s begin with white balance. The photo below left was taken indoors under fluorescent light with the camera set at sunlight. I adjusted the color sliders in Photoshop to get a more realistic coloration of the digital photo I took of a painting on my wall. Some software will give you automatic adjustments and some will be a manual process. Unless your monitor has been properly calibrated for color, something that looks realistic will be fine.
Exposure is the next item on the list. Contrast is often adjusted in combination with Exposure. The first pair of pictures demonstrates that a photo that is just too dark can only be adjusted to certain limits of the software. The second set shows an image that was below normal exposure, but still easily fixed. Contrast was adjusted slightly.
Framing is our final basic editing element. The photos used in your slide show should be as consistent as possible in size and shape. The two common video output formats are 4:3 which is the same as older monitors and TV’s. It is 1/3 wider than tall. Older 4X6 photos you may be working with are actually 50% wider than tall, so expect to take a bit off the sides. The other is 16:9 or widescreen which we are almost all familiar with. You see it or an approximation of it everywhere from flat screen TV’s to iPhones.
Some programs like ProShow Gold for PC will let you choose which format your slide show will output to.
The set of photos below shows the basic steps, high res scan, white balance and color correction followed by cropping the photo. The snow is a more natural color and we have moved the visual interest of the photo to the forefront. We could have taken it a bit further and had the skier on the right almost fill the frame top to bottom.
So what about pictures that are taken in a portrait format? There are times that the total length of a portrait photo must be used to give the full story. Try to use a couple of them one after the other so you are not switching back repeatedly from wide to narrow formats. There are some that you can crop to give you the desired image width.
Check in again for the next segment – Part 3, Putting Your Show Together – Organization
With a great deal of time and energy, perhaps even money to purchase professional software, you can achieve great results by tackling your slide show yourself. Wedding professionals you are already dealing with have the expertise and tools to deliver outstanding results with only a small effort on your part. Whenever possible, consider hiring a professional that will create an experience that make your guests say Wow!, that was awesome!