Wednesday, January 11, 2017

why photos always deserve a second glance [edit & cropping is your friend]

after trying to get a nice family photo on christmas, and failed because my kid was refusing to oblige my one request, and the weather was freezing, my daughter was dressed as moana, and my husband had a migraine, I wanted some photos of everly and I for new year's eve [the mr. was working]. when I first looked at my camera, I was a little disappointed.  it seemed like I couldn't get a decent photo of ev and I no matter how hard I tried. my slip was showing, our feet were cut off, and the lighting wasn't great since it was late in the afternoon.  but then, I looked a little closer...

her face, our cuddles, and my hair, okay, these have some serious potential.

being able to take amazing photos is a gift. I am by no means saying I'm in the league of professional photographers with this post.  instead, I wanted to share a few tips that everyone, no matter their camera level or ability, can use to make their photos even better.

right now, we live in an age where everyone is sharing their photos, and quickly, one can see that there is a real difference among pictures.  some of my favorite instagrammers use amazing cameras to help them curate a perfect feed. however, many use plenty of iPhone photos that still have the wow factor. and for the most part, the difference is editing.
here's the same image, before editing... a little less frame-worthy
many times, there are parts of an amazing picture that take away from the image itself, making it seem mediocre at first glance.  in this case, a dirty driveway is not really adding to the look I'm going for.  the showing slip and weird knee placement also isn't helping.

easy solution, step 1 - crop your photos.  I find it easiest to crop my photos within whatever photo app or program I'm using for editing. as you become better at taking photos, you will start to automatically crop your shot so you can omit this step. however, sometimes you give your camera to a stranger on vacation to take a non-selfie family photo, and you are left with something that wasn't exactly taken the way you had hoped.

so here were my steps from, oh, ok, to LOVE, share, frame-

here's the original:
here's the cropped version:
*always get rid of unwanted sights [dirty driveways, etc.]
here's the final version:
*edited using A Color Story app on my iphone [this filter is called Sharp - 97% intensity]
I included this one, not because it is my favorite, but because it was Everly's
I think she likes her pose, and I guess my eyes being closed is okay, 
the more I look at it
it was the one photo I printed that she insisted go on the mantle at home

other thoughts:
I do take photos with my Sony A6000 almost ALL of the time.  it is a small DSLR camera that allows me to have it in my purse almost always.  it also has the wi-fi feature that lets me directly take the photos from my camera to my phone.  I find that I like editing photos the most from my phone, it just seems less daunting.  if you are already taking photos with your smart phone, then you are ready for the next step. 

there are SO many amazing photo editing apps, in fact, probably too many.  I like to focus my attention on one at a time.  over the years, I've tried countless apps, but right now, my allegiance is with The Color Story app.  many of my favorite filters are in their free 'essentials' pack that comes with the initial download.  I've purchased other filter packs in the past year, but the ones that I'm sharing here today are 100% free!  editing photos is a complete personal preference.  I also go through phases and trends with how I edit my photos, it is just part of the fun! remember, almost all photo editing apps allow you to reduce the intensity of the filter, which almost always needs to be done.  for these images, I only lessened the intensity by a small percentage.  even instagram allows you to lessen the impact of the filter - I normally find a filter at 100% to be a little too much for my liking. again, personal preference.  there are many factors to take into account with the original photo's qualities that will alter how you edit it, again, play around and have fun.  

and to my amazing mom who took these photos - thank you.  I appreciate that you didn't strangle me when I suggested you look through the view finder when the display screen wasn't popping up - I know photography isn't your favorite hobby, but you helped prove a point here.  and you gave me some of my favorite photos of us ever - thank you!!!

*cropped photos were done after the fact, I never 'save' a cropped, unedited photo.  any slight differences between images are due to this, not the editing step itself.

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