The old adage used to be, 'The camera never lies!'
These days, with the introduction of digital photography, photo manipulation has reached the masses. It used to be if you wanted to manipulate a photograph, you had to have your own darkroom and know your way around chemicals. Now all you need is a digital camera and a computer. There are numerous software packages out there to help you to manipulate your photos. Some like Photoscape and Gimp are free to download and use, others such as Adobe Photoshop you can pay almost a £1000 for.
So why would you want to change your photographs, aren't they good enough as they are you say. Well there is no substitute for taking a good photograph to start with. Training your eye to get the right composition for the picture. Using your camera settings to your advantage to create that perfect picture is always what we should be striving for.
But, what if you take a picture thinking it is ok, but when you get home it hasn't turned out as you wanted it to. If you took it in your garden you could possibly go back out and take the picture again. If it was taken while you were on holiday then its not so easy.
Take this photo for example.
It was taken in Bilbao in northern Spain. I'm not going to be able to go back to take the picture again so how can I make it better?
One of the things wrong with it, was it was underexposed. So, using a photo editing package, I adjusted the exposure slightly and tweaked the shadow/highlight setting a little. It now appears much crisper and less washed out. One of the other neat little tricks many of these packages allow you to do, is straighten the horizon. Obviously when I took the first picture I was leaning to one side and took a wonky picture. Using the editing software though this has now been straightened.
Photo editing can be used for much heavier editing of your photos as well. Take this last example. It is exactly the same photo as the first one but with many differences due to post editing.
First the ugly building on the left has gone and it has been replaces with some trees. Second the row of bins in front of the building have been deleted and third the traffic on the road in front of the building has gone too.
The techniques to accomplish these changes require a lot more time and effort to do but the results can be rewarding when you get them right.
Getting it right first time when we take photographs is what we should be striving for, but don't be afraid to try out these packages if that all important photo doesn't quite turn out as you expected. Try them out just for a bit of fun too, you never know, they may lead your photos in a whole new exciting direction.