Photo Editing Tips: Questions and Answers

Here’s your post, Jennifer :)!

When people ask me questions about photo editing it makes me happy and scared at the same time. Happy, because it means that some of my pursuit of photography knowledge must be paying off, otherwise nobody would ask me for advice. But also scared because I never want to give wrong/bad advice and I know that I still have so much to learn!

That said, I am glad to share my techniques if it will help someone get the results they’re looking for! I recently had some questions in the blog comments that I’d like to answer in this post in case they might help somebody else too :). If you ever have any questions of your own, please feel free to email me or leave a comment and I will do the best I can to help out!

Question #1: Are you doing any editing for the eyes, skin, etc…???

I have found that most of the time I can get great looking eyes and skin just by editing the overall photo for lighting, color,  sharpness etc. I try to avoid editing JUST the eyes apart from the rest of the face, because it tends to end up looking unnatural. The exceptions to this are: removing red-eye or other redness, removing crumbs or anything that is not normally part of the eyes or skin, “opening” the eyes of someone who blinked, and sometimes removing dark shadows or glare if they are really harsh. Below is the before and after of a photo of Gabe that turned out to have great eyes after I edited the overall photo. I didn’t have to anything to his eyes specifically.

Here is the larger size of the final image so you can see the eyes better:

By-the-way, this photo was taken with my point-and-shoot digital camera, not the Canon DSLR :).

Question #2: Do you have a recommendation for a book or website that has been particularly helpful to you with regard to understanding your camera and/or photo editing???

This is a tough one, because I have been trying to learn about photography and photo editing for several years now, so everything I do is a combination of things from many sources. I have learned a lot by searching for photography articles and tutorials online and participating in online scrapbooking forums (which are great for free advice, online classes, photography challenges and blogs of photographers). If you’re not a scrapbooker there are also photography forums to check out. I took a four-hour photography class which was great for asking specific questions. As for as photo editing, I have taken a few helpful video courses – these are great for hands-on learning at your own pace. My favorites were from where I had a free 30-day membership after registering my Adobe software. The other ones were by Julieanne Kost and Daniel Giordan which were given to me by a friends. There are usually some free tutorials on the Canon and Adobe websites to check out too!

Update (2012): Since I wrote this article, I have joined an online forum called “Clickin’ Moms” which has tons of great tutorials. It is mostly for pro photographers, but it has been very helpful to me as a hobbyist too. Through the forum I met a photographer who met up with me last summer for a mentoring session, which was very helpful!

Question #3: Do you have a certain Canon Picture Style that you find you have a preference for and what is that setting???

Nope! After taking that photography class, I have been using the “P mode” (program mode) for almost every photo (update – I now use manual mode). The instructors urged us to “get out of auto mode” in order to force ourselves to learn how to use the camera. It has been quite a learning process – with more failure than success, BUT I am learning more about my camera settings than I ever did when I relied on auto mode. The only times I use auto mode or picture styles lately is if I need to quickly take a photo and I have no time to stop and think about it or if I am in a really strange lighting situation and I need my camera to just decide what to do for me ;).

Question #4: And lastly, do you shoot in manual mode???

Update: I now shoot in manual mode – hooray! It really helped to have someone explain things to me one-on-one last summer :).

Hope this helps!! Here are some links to some of my other blog posts about photography:

My Favorite Photography Tips

My Photoshop Editing Process

Wildflower Photography Workshop

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5 responses to “Photo Editing Tips: Questions and Answers

  1. Sara Cunningham November 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Hey Jess! Great post! I wanted to share THE most helpful website. If you (and your readers) have never checked out the Pioneer Woman and her blog, you DEFINITELY need to! I had a HUGE lightbulb moment when I read her blog post on shooting in manual (written by a guest blogger – Miz Booshay). I LOVE this woman and all of her contributors. A normal person, who loves photogtraphy and has a gift to teach in REAL terms so most people TOTALLY get it. I had been trying to shoot in manual for months and after reading her post, it all made perfect sense. I have been shooting almost entirely in manual for over a year (I throw it into P mode when I am in a BIG hurry, but usually get frustrated and switch back to M). LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having so much control over my images!! (check out the photography tab, although they are ALL fabulous!)

    • Jess November 4, 2010 at 6:56 am

      Thanks Sara!

      What a motivational comment :). I hadn’t been to Pioneer Woman’s site in a few years – WOW she has really added a lot (it was great before, but now it’s even better)! Now I need to just push myself to jump to the next level :). Thanks for the link and the great reminder about an old favorite website which has so much fun stuff besides just photography too!

  2. Jennifer Duncan November 2, 2010 at 7:17 am

    I just wanted to say “Thank You!” for taking the time to write this all out. You’re doing a great job with photography and photo editing. Ever since Carter entered my world, I have become so much more interested in both of these topics. My photography has improved so much over the past year, but I don’t know a whole lot about editing my pictures. I’m trying to learn this side of my hobby, but it’s hard to find the time when you’re the mother of a young child(ren). :)

    • Jess November 4, 2010 at 6:58 am

      I know what you mean about it being hard to find time with the little ones! On the one hand, I want to be spending all my time with them and taking great photos of them while they are still babies, but on the other hand, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for learning to use my camera :)!

  3. Pingback: Photography Tips and 50% Off Photo Books « Scrapbook Ideas

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