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Internet Brothers: Helpware for the Cybercommunity - Touching Up Photographs

 

Contrast and Sharp

After the housecleaning, then we adjust the color, brightness and contrast of our photos. There are highly specialized ways of doing this in Photoshop, but for us amateurs the methods used are easy and effective. To adjust the color, we use the "adjust variations" window. This shows nine miniature versions of the photo with various color corrections so you can decide what you're after. Simply pick the one that looks best and click on it. Be sure to do this with all four of the options available; shadows, mid tones, highlights and saturation. Most times adding just a touch of one color or the other to the mid tones is all that is necessary. Then in the brightness/contrast window we'll darken, brighten, or add contrast as necessary. Usually just a little is enough; the scanning software typically gives us an image that is nearly right to begin with.

Groucho Mask Next, and we're almost done, it's time to sharpen the image. We use the Unsharp Mask filter for this. You can set varying degrees of sharpening. Too much will make the photo look phony. We typically use a sharpening value of between 70 and 100. This brings out some details that might have been lost in the scanning process. After sharpening, we might notice more dust that we couldn't see before, so we use the smudge tool or the dust filter to take care of it.

 

Final Formatting

Last, we adjust the image size and save it. This is where you need to plan ahead. Are you planning to get a huge monitor sometime in the future? Then save the images as large as you have room for on your hard disk. (We usually save our photos at 72 dpi screen resolution [75 dpi for Windows] at a size of about 10x14 inches.) Do you expect to print the images on a high quality printer? If so, save them big and at high resolution.

Format Types Generally, we save our photos in jpeg format since it compresses the file size without much loss of image detail. However, if you plan to print the images later, save them in an uncompressed format such as tiff. The slight loss of detail in compressed jpg's isn't noticeable on screen but when printing a full page photo, you might notice. Never save in gif format unless you're putting the photos on the web, as gif files reduce your photo to 256 colors; an extreme loss of quality.

Keep the original prints and you can always go back and scan them again if you haven't saved them in the format you'll need in the future. Of course if your dog gets hold of them and chews them up, you'll be glad you saved the computer images at the largest size and highest resolution possible. Have these tips been helpful to you? Share some of your own ideas with us from the comments page or with the email icon. By the way, if you would like to see a large size image of the sunset photograph on the previous page, click here.

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