Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Advice on Photoing

I bet you didn't know that 'Photoing' was a word. It is my short-cut word for photographing. I don't think you will find it in Merriam-Webster now but Merriam does adopt new words from time to time so if you'll take up the cause and add 'photoing' to your vocabulary maybe we can get it included in the dictionary in a few years.

But what this blog is really about is an email I had from Isla Gringo. He suggested that I should do a series of blogs on "How to take a good picture for your blog." Oh my, that is a huge undertaking. Just go to Amazon.com and search for 'How To' photography books. You have lots of choices. So much has been written on that subject and I'm sure that it is much better than what I could do. One of my blogger friends, George Barr regularly writes in his blog, Behind the Lens, about finding images, composition and post processing. George has even put it all together in a book, Take Your Photography to the Next Level. I don't think I can improve on what George has to say.

Isla Gringo also mentioned that he had Photoshop but it was so hard to understand that he didn't use it. Ah....Now here is a place that I might be able to offer a suggestion. If you are going to use Photoshop then you need a tutorial and a good bit of time for the learning curve. My favorite down-to-earth, easy-to-use tutorial is Scott Kelby's, The Adobe Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers. If you are going to use Photoshop then you are committing to paying the Photoshop 'tax' of $200 every 18 months for the latest up-grade.

I don't think most bloggers want to commit so much time and money to images for their blog. But I think that doing some post processing on some of the blog images I see could improve them a lot. A lot of them need just a little more contrast and a bit of sharpening, maybe a little lightening or darkening or even some cropping if you aren't a died-in-wool full-frame guy. I still say that cropping is not a mortal sin! I'd like to suggest that those of you who want to improve your pictures but don't want to spend the time and money to Photoshop, take a look at Picasa. Take a look at the Getting Started Guide. Doesn't look too hard does it? It is a free download.

Okay, now that you have a way to edit your photos, don't go overboard. A little bit of editing goes a long way. Just because you can invert colors doesn't mean that you should!

So that's my advice on Photoing. Just go photoing and have fun. The more you shoot the more you learn.

This image was made at the Feria Sunday evening. It has nothing to do with the blog entry except I was just photoing and having fun.


Jonna said...

Thanks for posting the link to Behind the Lens, I am enjoying his ideas.

Many years ago I took some classes and spent a lot of time in Photoshop, it was PS4. I learned some convenient tricks and I became comfortable with how it works and what I can do with it. It was very useful when I inherited a lot of old photos of my grandmother and her home as I was able to scan them and bring them back. I haven't expanded that though in many years so I only occasionally pay my PS tax and I'm still using CS. I'm curious about Apple's new photo editing software but unless I have the time to study it, it's not worth giving up the familiar. For now, I have common Actions in PS and ways I process pics that work for me quickly. It takes time to use that program in a way that makes it worth the cost. If starting now, I'd just buy PS Elements.

Nancy said...

Thanks for the link, Billie. I am frustrated with my little point and shoot camera (although it does what it is supposed to...) I just want more control, so I am planning on buying a new camera and will need to learn more about photoing when I get it.

Paul and I have used Photoshop for years, we quit upgrading at 6.0 since it does what we need. I also use a copy of Elements that was included in a computer purchase and it works great for cropping, enhancements and resizing photos for the web.

Thanks again.

Billie said...

Jonna, About 4 years ago I taught several friends how to use Elements which I thought was a simplified version of PS. Two years ago I bought one of my sons a copy of Elements. They have really changed the program. Now there is a learning curve for me in Elements although I think I do pretty good with PS. So I d/led Picasa for him and that was really all he needed to be able to send me pixs of the grandboys.

Jonna said...

You are right, Billie, I haven't looked at Elements in years. This comes at a good time as I just gave my Olympus 4040 to a local friend. He needs a way to reduce and do some simple manipulations on pictures so he can email them, also cheap or free is very good. I told him I'd look around, I think you've solved it for me and him. Thanks, I'm off to look at Picassa.

Billie said...

JOnna, let me know if you think Picasa will work for him.

Marlene Sherwin said...

picasa is very user friendly and it is free. I use it always.

Islagringo said...

Thanks for the plug and for the advice. I've been tinkering around with Picassa but haven't published anything yet.

I have noticed that my pictures look somewhat different once they are posted to Blogger. Take the first picture in today's post. On my computer, that picture is not dark and I can see detail, even the pattern in the carpet leading up that ramp. So I guess we have to consider that our quality changes a bit on published photos.

Billie said...

Wayne, is your camera set up to shoot in sRGB or Adobe? That can make a big difference. I don't know that much about Picasa but if the program converts the color space from Adobe to sRGB the colors will be less saturated and a bit darker. One thing that I do is usually lighten an image just a smidge before I finish it for posting on the web.

Since I always shoot with the possibility of printing I shoot in the larger color space of Adobe but then convert in PS to sRGB when I process an image for the web.

pitchertaker said...

There are any number of free editing programs out there, but if you are a serious photographer (as you know Billie,p being you are one) there is no sub for PhotoShop. CS3offers many wonderful features for folks like us -- I couldn't live without it. Now they've announced CS4. ARGGGGGGGGGG! One of the less expensive programs that a lot of people like is PaintShop Pro.