I believe that every blogger should know how to edit photos for their blog – the magic happens post-production! Unfortunately I’m not good enough at photography to create photos without editing, but I will eventually get there. Mostly every photo that I take for my blog is edited until I can get the right equipment.
I found out quickly this past week that the sun will not wait for you to take your pictures, and unfortunately was unable to get the type of pictures that I wanted. So, I opted to take dingy and muted photos, throw them into Photoshop CS5, and edit them to my heart’s content.
Here’s an example:
The software that I use for my photo-editing and digital art is the Adobe CS5 Creative Suite. More specifically, I use Adobe Photoshop CS5 which is what I will be using during this how-to. Of course this how-to will work best if you have the Adobe CS5 Creative Suite, but this should translate well into other programs.
Step One: Auto Color, Contrast, & Tone
Initially, I start off my photo editing by messing with the Auto Level, Auto Contrast, and Auto Tone controls, to see what exactly needs adjusting. Normally when I am trying to get a white background for my photos, I use those Auto controls to take care of the majority of the editing, and then go in to edit them the rest of the way. In Adobe Photoshop CS5, go to Image>Auto Tone/Auto Contrast/Auto Color. This will automatically adjust your image according to how Photoshop thinks it should be edited.
Step Two: Levels
Levels are incredibly important when editing a photo. When editing photos for MIsaacsArt.com, I tend to go on the bright side with moderate saturation. I feel that I am more visually consistent in terms of the look on my blog by using bright white and vivid colors.
After manipulating the image initially with the Auto controls, I then move into Levels via Image>Adjustments>Levels. Levels refer to the white, black, and midtone of an image based upon what is display in the image. Generally, the histogram in the Levels window will span from the black slider to the white slider, meaning that you can move both inward to begin editing the levels of the image. In Adobe Photoshop CS5, you can preview your changes if you tick the preview option.
Step Three: Contrast
After adjusting the levels, I then move into adjusting contrast to bring out the vivid and bold colors, and to make the black and white values bold. To access the contrast function, go to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast. A small screen will pop up, allowing you to edit the brightness and contrast of the photo your are editing. If the image seems dingy or muddy, brightness and contrast can eliminate that.
Step Four: Saving for the Web
So, now that you are finished editing your photo, you’re ready to save it for the web! Even though in this day and age the internet is faster and easier to use, you still don’t want your readers to wait forever for the images to load.
You’ll want to save the photos for web and devices via File>Save for Web and Devices…
Once you start up the dialog box for Save for Web & Devices, select the 4-up tab. This essentially brings up four boxes that contain different qualities of your photo, allowing you to see the visual differences in the quality ratings.
For your site, you’ll want to select JPEG/JPG as your image type and adjust the quality. A few years ago, I thought that 100% quality was the best thing to go for, but in all actuality, 80% looks exactly the same and has a lower file size, so it’s a win-win situation!
One thing to note is that as you adjust the image quality, the specifications of your photo will change. Essentially the goal is to find the perfect balance between load time, the quality of the image, and the size of the image.
WHEW! That was a mouth-full! I hope that this small how-to/tutorial was helpful in terms of editing and saving your photos for your blog! This same information can also help with your portfolio images if you have to make small edits; one thing that I learned in my Professional Practices course is that when you are taking photos of your artwork, you do not want to edit them in Photoshop. Sometimes it is inevitable, but try to not to rely on photo-editing, otherwise the image is no longer a photograph of your work because it had been digitally edited.
So, would there be anything else that you would like me to touch base on? Feel free to comment below!