I’ve posted separate articles about the five digital photography tweaks I use most of the time. Each article tried to explain how to use either PaintShop Pro (PSP) or GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) to accomplish the tweaks. But each of those posts explained a single tweak. This article will tie them all together.
As mentioned in the first post on digital photography tweaks, always make a copy of your original image file and work on that copy. With each change you make to a digital image, you lose some of the original data your camera captured. Leveling and cropping an image remove pixels from the edges. Modifying the lighting and color of an image change the pixels in a way that can’t be recovered. Resizing an image reduces the number of pixels and changes the ones that are left.
The order of tweaks is important. Leveling and cropping don’t change the pixels that are left. I recommend using those tweaks first. Lighting and color changes modify the pixels in the image instead of removing them. These tweaks should be done after leveling or cropping. Resizing an image takes the total of the pixels in the image and shrinks it, while kind of averaging for all the pixels that are lost. It’s much more complicated than that, but resizing should be the last tweak you use.
Here’s a picture of a chipmunk. If you know that’s what the picture is about, you can see it. If not you’ll probably wonder why I took a picture of a garbage can on the porch of an unfinished shack. Let’s apply all five tweaks to this image to see if we can improve it.
To save space and bandwidth I resized each of these images before adding them to the article. But as suggested, I didn’t resize the final picture itself, until the very end. Here’s the image after leveling.
The next image is after cropping out the shack and garbage can so the focus of the image is the chipmunk.
The day was overcast so this next image has been lightened and the contrast increased a little. It brings the chipmunk out of the shadows.
The colors could use a little help so I’ve increased the color saturation a little in this image.
Finally, to make the image look a little sharper I resized it to 800X600 pixels. The focus isn’t great, but it’s a nice picture of a chipmunk trying to escape the notice of my dogs. You won’t notice effect of the resize until you click on the images in the article to view them at full size.
Not every picture you take will require all five of these tweaks. Choose the ones that can make an improvement in an image and have fun working with them. Remember, as long as you don’t change the original image file, you can always get back to the initial picture you took.
I encourage you to explore all the other things you can do with PSP and GIMP. These five tweaks just scratch the surface of what can be done. If you have any specific things you’d like to know how to do, place a request in the comments section and I’ll be glad to help you.