April 20, 2010

Photo Editing - Inspiration and Tools

unedited, raw image

Are you ready for some photographic inspiration and information?  The picture shown above is straight out of the camera. This is going to be one of the rare exceptions when I post an image that I haven’t edited. If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I have been teaching myself digital editing for about two years. I first started off using Photoshop Elements 7 and then graduated to Photoshop CS4 last fall. Here is one piece of advice from little ol’ me: A digital image can always be improved with editing – even a great one. It is worth the time and trouble. Always. And besides, it’s just plain fun!

Now look at the image below that has been edited. Isn’t it better? The most obvious change is that it has been cropped. But that’s not the only tinkering. I also adjusted the brightness and contrast, sharpened it, and modified highlights and shadows.

edited image

And I just can’t leave well enough alone. I have to play with the image a little more! Here is another version, this time with a textured background overlay and a slight overall reduction in saturation.

edited mage, with textured background and saturation reduction

And here is a lovely painterly version of my new horse neighbor, using a purchased plug-in program for Photoshop.

edited image, with oil painting filter applied

I hope all of this has provided you with some inspiration. Photoshop Elements 8 (the latest version) is a powerful program that retails for less than $100. It has 99% of what a serious amateur photographer could ever want. But if that cost is too hefty for your pocketbook and you don’t want to put in the time commitment for learning it, then you can use a free online program. Vandelay Design recently compiled a list of 30 of the best online photo editing websites. I have tried several of these and found them easy to use. So check them out and start having some digital editing fun!


  1. Very interesting! That oil paint filter is cool. Thanks for the link, too. I'm going to check it out.

  2. You don't have to convince me of anything. I've been hooked on editing for a few years now. I only use photoshop elements 7 but it's got more than enough for me. By the way I love what you did in all of them and you sound like me with that "I can't leave well enough alone"...lol

  3. I love the changes and am trying desperately to learn elements 8. not too well.

  4. I have several photo editing programs, free and purchased, and I love playing around with them. Each horse picture is beautiful!!

  5. Hoping one day I might have time to play with photo images. Meanwhile I'll enjoy yours!

    Enjoying catching up here, always love to watch the progress on the cottage too! Glad you enjoyed the ixoras.

  6. It's amazing that you can take a perfectly lovely picture and make it more so! I think you're getting pretty good at this!

  7. Oh Donna! This is SO helpful! I've just loaded PS7...Still trying to get Into it!
    These are Gorgeous!!

  8. holy mackerel ! these are amazing Donna. i don't own any sort of photo program. only what came with my computers. and i only use the bare minimum on those -- like resizing, rotating,cropping, etc.
    the things you do are actually a bit intimating to me--- especially the cost of what i need to begin. (sigh) but-- seems like it's all worth the investment. and i do love to take photos.
    i wish i had a dollar for every roll of undeveloped film i have layin around here :((

    anyhow-- why am i bloggin in your box?
    i spose i should go :))

    btw-- my days are like yours-- not really boring, just a little routine... rut - like, perhaps.. not that yours are that... you get me right? maybe i just whine too much. things are gonna change soon though for me-- soon as the kid gets back to school. (sigh-again)

    ok-- i'm out--

    ps-- would you get back to me on the photo challenge? i want to enter-- but not sure what i need to do.. email a couple examples? please-- my scab. bwa-hahahahaah


Marty, here! Donna loves comments, and I faithfully pass them on to her. Thank you so much for visiting!