Posts Tagged ‘photo editing’

I am writing this post for one reason.

I’d just like the whole world to know how much I love Photoshop.

Among millions other things it helps me with every day, it is a real hero when it comes to correcting shadows.

Especially in food photography, eliminating the underexposed areas (aka shadows) and showing their true structure and color is a very precious thing. It makes the food so much more appetizing.

Just let me show you something…

This is the original picture from my recipe for Farfalle with Tomato-Cheese Sauce.

I like the picture, but not as much as…

… I like this one.

This picture has undergone one simple Photoshop procedure.

As a result, the most wonderful shade of red color I know has appeared. Mere looking at that color has strong therapeutic effect on me.

This is how to do it:

1. Open the photo is Photoshop (I am using Photoshop Elements 8).

2. Click EnhanceAdjust LightingShadows/Highlights in the upper bar.

3. A smaller window will pop up with the first (Lighten Shadows) slider dragged to 25 automatically.

You should already see that your picture has improved substantially. If you don’t see any change, make sure you have selected the Preview check box.

You can move the first slider left or right to find the right amount of correction.

4. If you are happy with the result, click OK.

And that’s it.

Just give it a try and enjoy the beautiful changes it brings.


(To learn more about my quest against shadows have a look at this.)



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Just recently I brought a story about the Photoshop Crop Tool and what gorgeous role it plays in my life.

Surprisingly, the story seems to be expanding into a series.

This is part two…


This is the original picture with no editing at all.

And this is my new crop.

Okay, I might be the only person on Earth who thinks so, but that line of ice-cream-licking heads – that’s too cute and funny.

I just love those ladies!

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Camera Model: Canon EOS 1000D (EOS Rebel XS)
Lens: Canon 18-55mm
Focal Length: 55 mm
F-number: 9.0
Shutter Speed: 1/3200
ISO: 400
Flash: None


The place where we’ve moved recently seems to be inhabited by people who love water.

I keep my eyes wide open to watch the folks since this kind of humans is completely new to me.

Water people.

To get from one place to another, they either use boats or ferries, and if they really need to travel by car, they definitely have their beloved water vehicles of various kinds in tow.

It’s amazing.

But when I think about it, it’s pretty understandable – I have never seen a place with such an amazing water network as here.

As a result, me and my boyfriend spend loads and loads of time just wandering around and taking pleasure in all that beauty.

The picture above is loot from one of our gorgeous trips around here.

I took it in the afternoon when it was still rather bright outside. The explanation as to why the picture is so dark is that I pointed the camera focus at the sun reflection. Trying to expose that crazy-bright spot correctly, the camera underexposed the rest of the image.

And I loved it.

(Though, I probably should be just quiet since I have this very faint memory of reading something about not pointing the camera at the sun. So you may as well not listen to me at all.)

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I have something to admit.

There are only few things in this world that I love more than this photo editing technique.

I know, it sounds strange, but right now that is exactly what I feel.

Tomorrow everything might change, especially if I find a new, amazing technique that will fill my heart with joy.

But today I feel like applying a vignette to all the photos that I’ve ever made.

Please, somebody, come and stop me.

This is what my picture looked like before.

It is a lovely tomato from my Mom’s garden. Actually, that’s what my diet consists of mostly these days.

And this is the same picture after I applied the vignette effect.

Adding a vignette to an image basically involves adding a subtle (or not so subtle) edge effect to it.

A popular vignette technique involves darkening the edges of your image which gives the image a slight border and helps keep the viewer’s eye in the photo.

In other words, the darkened edges make your subject stand out.

Well, who wouldn’t love that?

Let me explain this technique in particular steps – they are very, very easy.

NOTE: I am using Photoshop Elements 8 here (but I suppose that this method works fine with any photo editing program that supports layers and adjusting opacity).


1. Open your image in the photo editing program using FILE -> OPEN… .

2. Open a new layer using LAYER -> NEW -> LAYER.

3. There are 3 subsequent steps here:

  • 1. In the right-hand layer palette, make sure you click on the top (newly added) layer (it should be darkened now).
  • 2. In the left-hand tools palette, click the Elliptical Marquee Tool (if the Rectangular Marquee Tool is preset then right-click on your mouse and choose the elliptical shape, though it’s actually up to you which shape you choose).

    Also, have a look at how the ‘feathering’ is set in the upper bar. I had it set to 14. It will determine how strong and defined the border of the vignette will be.

  • 3. Click and drag over the picture to create an oval shape.


4. Click SELECT -> INVERSE to invert your selection so the border area is selected .

You will see ‘marching ants’ around your picture now.


5. I am describing another three subsequent steps here:

  • 1. Make sure that the foreground color is set to black (if not then just click the letter ‘D’ on your keyboard).
  • 2. In the left-hand tools palette, click the bucket tool.
  • 3. Click anywhere on the border area to fill it with black.


6. Now click SELECT -> DESELECT.


7. And finally, in the layer palette, adjust the opacity of the border layer to any value you like.

(Though I didn’t do that myself now – at this point, if you find the border too hard – you can also choose FILTER -> BLUR -> GAUSSIAN BLUR and use a high radius value to blur the edge of the border and soften it.)

8. Click LAYER -> FLATTEN IMAGE and then save your new picture.


I like it!

Hm, what do you think…will you give it a try?

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Sometimes I find myself in the mood… to put this world into a different angle.

Sometimes I’m in the mood to take vengeance on this world by sucking all color out of it.

There you go…

Sometimes my mood is not so harsh and I give this world a slight ‘vintage’ chance.

And sometimes I get just amazed by how much power I have over this world…

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This needs to be said first – THIS IS NOT ME!

This is a very good friend of mine, my high-school classmate, the greatest girl ever, Miz B.

I love her very, very much and there are tons of gorgeous memories that will never be left behind.

Recently I have noticed this original picture on her Facebook profile.

And it’d left a lasting thought in my mind.

Although I liked the picture I had this feeling that there was something missing.

I liked their poses and the expressions in their eyes (the contentment in hers and every existing feeling in his).

And I liked the tree branch…

But wait, what about that gray film covering the whole picture?

Could I do something about that?

Although I am not a professional I am deep in love with photography …

… so I opened the picture in my photo editing software called GIMP (which is free, by the way, and it is very similar to Photoshop).

First, I decided to adjust the contrast …

You ugly gray film – BE GONE!

This is one of my most favorite tricks – ramping up the contrast.

It makes photos look so much more professional.

OK, the white dress is a bit overexposed now, but I think it transfers the picture out into the artistic dimension.


Then I thought that the pic could use a bit more color …

So I went to “Hue-Saturation”, chose “Colors” and lifted the green up to 40 and the yellow to 29 …

It made the day look sunnier than it really was.

It wasn’t sunny at all actually.

What about a bit more sharpness (“Filters” -> “Enhance” -> “Unsharp Mask”)?

Yeah, that has helped, just compare their faces or the flowers.

At this point I thought that the pic could be a bit lighter.

So I clicked “Colors” -> “Color Curves” and lifted the curve a bit.

Who likes dark pictures?

Not us!

And now onto the skin.

I used the “Smudge Tool” here (you can find it on the left panel).

With the tool opacity reduced a bit, I smudged their foreheads (have you noticed the strange looking vein-like thing on her forehead?), cheeks, her neck and his hands to remove all the unnecessary shadows or wrinkles.

Nobody needs those.

I think it’s made her look  much prettier.

And him too – he’s lost much of that scared expression.

(And I added a bit more color here again to make it a tad more lively.)

And now, what if we put them into even more focus.

Have you ever heard of darkened edges?

I love them!

If you’d like to create something like that then make a new layer (“Layer” -> “New Layer”) and fill it with black.

Then add a white layer mask (“Layer” -> “Mask” -> “Add Layer Mask”).

With the mask chosen (clicked), click the “Ellipse Select Tool” on the left panel and create the ellipse.

Now fill the selection with black (with the “Bucket Fill Tool” from the left panel).

This sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it?

I myself don’t know what exactly I am doing here right now, but it just works somehow.

I clicked “Select” -> “None”.

And since I wanted the layer to look a bit blurred I clicked “Filters” -> “Blur” -> “Gaussian Blur” and blurred the layer.

Then I used this powerful thing called the “Layer Opacity” (upper part of the right panel) which basically allows you to faint the effect you’ve just created on your new layer.

I reduced it from 100% to 44 %.

Well, I think this could be just enough for today.

And here it is before again …

… and after.

Before and After.

(Miz B loved it – she said she looked much prettier in the new picture and it all looked very much 3D.)

The End

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I just can’t get enough of it – playing with GIMP I mean.

It’s great.

Just see for yourselves.


This is the original picture.

I took it in a little Hungarian town called Esztergom.

In case you wondered what that could represent, it is a part of a gorgeous fountain. It looked absolutely stunning.

Nevertheless, the picture obviously needed some adjustments.

So I cropped it to improve the composition, ramped up the contrast, sharpened it a bit, adjusted color balance, blurred the background and added soft glow.


And here we go!

It is dreamy and takes me away to the sweet land of fantasy.



And another one before…


… and after.

Wow, I love this one too.

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