When it comes to editing photographs, it can be all too easy to immediately imagine horror scenes - or similar - of the mystical Photoshop, and shy away completely in favour of raw, uncut, 'natural talent' images. But why should our most precious and valuable moments be left untouched when there is simply too much shadow or not enough brightness?
Believe it or not, Photoshop isn't the be all and end all. One of my earlier discoveries when I wanted to get to grips with image correction once and for all was the French program, PhotoFiltre. A free download from their website, PhotoFiltre is my go-to program when I want to brighten up an image, turn it into black-and-white for photo card projects, and even add text for creating poster artwork.Brightening an image
As a blogger, I take hundreds of photographs on a near-daily basis, and true to human nature, they're not all perfect, in fact, up until the clocks moved forward, it was next to impossible to capture a brightly lit image.
To brighten up a dull image, open your photograph in PhotoFiltre. Duplicate the image by holding CTRL+U (see Photo 1), this way you don't risk losing your original image. See those icons above your photograph? Click 'Auto Brightness' and 'Auto Contrast' and PhotoFiltre will detect what needs to be adjusted in your image.
Not enough? Look at adjusting the gamma levels of your photograph.
Click 'Adjust' on the main window and scroll down to 'Gamma Correct'. This is one of my favourite, more subtle tools for adjusting the brightness of an image. A click or two is all you need for a perfect photograph (see Photo 2).
Finish by clicking the 'Sharpen' button to refine the edges in your photograph, save, and your photograph is picture-perfect.Sepia effect images
One of the most popular adjustments to a photograph is the sepia toned image. Designed to look vintage and processed, sepia tones are perfect to add to a photograph and framed for a thoughtful gift.
Open the image and duplicate it (CTRL+U). Click 'Filter' on the main window and select 'Color' in the dropdown menu. Simply click 'Sepia' and your photo is transformed to a dramatic 1940's-esque image. To add to the effect, you could add shadows by clicking 'Adjust' and 'Add shadows', or even repeat the 'Sepia' tone step.Andy Warhol style
The most popular style of edited photo is notably the Andy Warhol, postmodern style: juxtaposing the same image on repeat and editing the colour sounds notoriously difficult, but PhotoFiltre even makes this infamous art style easy at the click of a few buttons.
Open your image. Select the entire image by using the 'Selection tool' and hitting CTRL+A on your keyboard. Copy (CTRL+C) the image, click 'Edit' on the menu and select 'Paste special' and then 'Assemble'. Assemble the image to the right, and repeat twice for four images in the areas desired (see Photo 3).
Now you need to select each of the four images separately with the 'Selection tool' again. Once one is selected, click 'Adjust' again and scroll to 'Swap RGB colour'. This tool gives you a one-click option to swap colour channels and is perfect for the postmodern style. Repeat with different colours for the remaining images, and you've created a print-ready photo project (see Photo 4).