When you are taking photographs whether it be with a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, a small point-and-shoot or a mobile phone, there are some basic tips that you can follow to create great images.
However, even the best photographers sometimes miss the mark and the digital photo doesn’t quite match up to your expectations. Perhaps on screen the colours seem a little dull; or, the composition is off-balance a bit; or, the horizon isn’t straight; or, the photo looks a bit too light or dark.
However, there is great news. There is some fantastic software available that can help you to create some great images.
There are many software editing packages available to you. Often folk ask me which software I use. The answer is not that straight forward. I use a variety of pieces of software such as Adobe Lightroom; Adobe Photoshop; the Topaz suite of software; Creative Kit and Luminar by a software house called Skylum.
I am now going to cover some of the basics of editing to help you get started.
Editing software can improve images, but, where possible it is best to capture the images in camera. There are guidelines that will help you to improve your pictures.
Compose the image in your camera. Leave space around the image for cropping at a later time. But it does well to keep in mind the following as you start taking images:
1. Keep it Simple
Isolate your subject. Make it the centre of attention in the frame.
2. Get Close
A common mistake is that folk stand too far away from the subject. Enlarging the subject at a later stage reduces quality of an image. Try to fill the frame with your subject.
3. Horizontal or Vertical
Think about whether your image will look better on a horizontal or vertical plane. Experiment with the shot. But, also bear in mind where you are going to use the image. A horizontal image is normally far better when it is going to be used on social media or a website.
4. Avoid Centering
Use the Rule of Thirds when framing your image in your camera. The majority of cameras and phones offer you the option of viewing the photograph in a grid. The frame is split into thirds horizontally and vertically. Try and position the subject onto one of the horizontal lines. For example, the eyes for a portrait look good if they are positioned on the top horizontal line. Whereas, for a landscape the horizon can be positioned on the top or bottom horizontal line.
5. Leading Lines
A photograph can use can benefit hugely from converging lines, such as fences, hedges, rivers or paths, moving off to the distance, in order to give a sense of depth. This technique leads the eye into the frame. Think of a road going off into the distance. The lines of the road converge to a vanishing point in order to create a sense of depth and draw the eye toward the horizon.
Remember that all of the above are guidelines. As a Time-Lord I have won awards when breaking many of these guidelines in some of my photography.
RAW v JPG
But, if you did not get it right in your camera, that’s where your skill in photo editing software can help.
Remember, where you can, shoot in RAW format as this gives you far more options when editing images regarding colour, hue, saturations, lighting conditions, tones and more.
In order to help you in learning how to get to grips with some great software, Luminar by Skylum, I will be posting a series of videos, with the first one being published on Monday March 23rd, to help you to get underway.
Live long and prosper and may THE force be with you at this time.