Monday, January 25, 2010

Making Photos Look Better

Today was one of those days - the kind that just follows their own course entirely without any regard to what one was hoping to accomplish or the items on one's never ending To Do List.  It started when the Bubs went down for a nap and I had a few free moments to myself.  Instead of sticking to the schedule I had planned the night before, I decided to 'quickly' hop onto Google to find a few ideas for Valentine's Day.  And just as the internet has a habit of doing to a person, before I knew it, one thing led to another, and I didn't get to anything related to Valentine's Day at all.  Rather, I found myself in a hundred different places and ended up reading a very helpful post that contained some great tips on how to make photographs look better. 

It must be noted that one of my guilty pleasures is reading Photography Blogs.  The common theme with the particular blogs I read is that the photographers are all, for the most part, mothers, who have chosen photography as a career path.  I am in awe of the photography they produce and wish that my photographs would come out looking anywhere in the vaguest region of that good.  I realize that photography is a career for them, and that they have mastered the fine art of it, but oh, how I wish I could make my photographs come even just a little bit close to the superbness that they are creating. 

But, alas, I just do not have any particular interest in learning photography.  I just want the seemingly countless photographs that I take of the children to look great.  At least some of them.  I know that is like saying: "I want my meals to look and taste like Julia Child's, but I don't want to follow a recipe."  My husband has tried to show me how to shoot on manuel and adjust the ISO and some other things, the names of which I can never remember, but I admit that I am just a lost cause.  And so whenever I pick up the camera I just flip the switch to Program Mode and hope for the best. 

So I was excited when I came across this post on the "new to me" blog - Beyond Snapshots.  While I understand that you have to start with a technically correct and basically good photograph in order to get to an even better photograph in post production, and that it is pretty impossible to transform a bad photograph into anything other than possibly a minimally less bad photograph - I decided to snap a quick pic of my Bub and go through the steps listed in the post to see if I could at least add the slightest of improvements.

Although it is far from anything I see on my favorite photo blogs, I was happy with the results and I think it is as much as I can hope for unless I step it up a notch and actually listen to my husband's words of wisdom. 

Hopefully this will help out some other moms out there that like to snap a hundred photos of their kids every second and are hoping to be able to tweak some of their fav's before printing and framing. 

As a side note:  it must be noted that my computer is quite old (as is my version of photoshop) - so this might actually look quite terrible on anyone else's computer screen (!) but I hope it provides you with the same inspiration I got from reading the post over at Beyond Snapshots and that you have fun playing around with different settings until you find something you are happy with!

Whenever I whip out the camera, Bubs always goes into super ham mode and pulls the funniest of faces - usually he scrunched up his nose, squeezes his eyes shut and lifts up his chin!  Here I caught him in the middle of doing all three...

So my day turned out to be just perfect, even if I didn't accomplish anything I was hoping to, and learning some new things is always a good thing.  My next step might even be ACTIONS!

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