Friday, 21 December 2012

Taking and editing quilt photographs

I almost always edit my photos before sharing them; whether here, on Flickr, facebook, or just emailing them to friends and family. Although I work to take good photos, some simple editing helps to show things in their best light (literally!) and can make them more true to life. I generally use the editing to correct colours, fix the light levels, and sometimes sharpen the image a bit, so that what you see is as accurate as possible.

(Crowing - before editing)

I have a good, but not especially fancy camera - it's an Olympus e620 (a DSLR). I upgraded nearly 2 years ago because my old camera could never photograph a quilt well - it simply couldn't focus accurately both in the centre and at the binding. It drove me batty. So my choice camera was largely driven by my desire to fix that. I'd fully expected to come home with another Canon, or maybe Nikon, but the quality of Olympus lenses, combined with some other technical stuff I've long forgotten easily swayed me. And I confess I mostly use it on the auto/part auto settings.

(Crowing - cropped, black/white levels adjusted, image sharpened, colours brightened/corrected)

The various programs I've been using to edit photos (an old version of Photoshop, Microsoft Office Picture manager and Paint - sometimes all 3 on one photo!) have helped combat most of the issues with lighting, colour, focus and even some distortion, but I still wasn't quite happy.

(Waving - before editing)

A while back, Photoshop refused to open on my old computer, so I started looking around, and downloaded a 30-day trial of the new version of Photshop Elements (11). I've been playing with it. I have to remember some differences between the versions (and I was never an expert; I've really just figured out a few things with a little assistance and trial-and-error, and know I've not touched the sides of what the software is capable of) but already I've discovered what appear to be new features, such as being able to adjust for perspective. And I've found ways of doing most of the things I used to use. My trial is about to end, and I know I have no option now but to bite the bullet and buy the software!

(Waving - cropped, colours corrected and brightened, image sharpened, black/white levels adjusted, image straightened)

The examples shown are photos of 2 of my own quilts, before and after I edited them. The changes are nothing drastic, but the end result is much better, and much more accurate.

By the way, I have no affiliation with any of the companies or products mentioned, and get nothing for this post, I'm just sharing my thoughts.


celkalee said...

The difference in each quilt after adjustments is very obvious to me. thanks for the explanations.

Vicki W said...

Kim Klassen Cafe has an excellent "skinny" Photoshop Elements class. I had used PE for a long time but learned a lot in her e-class.

Heather said...

I do the same type of editing when required. Same with my knitting and crochet photos. It can be so difficult to get the colours true. I use the Olympus Camedia Master. Got it with a camera years ago and then when I bought my new laptop, upgraded to what I found on their website. It does everything I need. If I need something special, I get son to do the photo and fix it. He's studying photography at college and has wonderful equipment and soft ware.

Barb said...

Sigh - I need to learn Photoshop Elements, but the older I get, it just seems there isn't quite enough time in the day to get everything accomplished that I'd like to. Thanks for the info. I love both of these quilts - excellent!

Linda H. said...

I'm camera-shopping myself. I'd thought to go with a DSLR (Canon Rebel), but the more I consider it, the more I think I'd be unhappy lugging a camera like that with me on vacations and/or to visit family. Sure, I can appreciate the DSLR features, but the convenience of a point-and-shoot is of greater importance to me. I've been considering one of the numerous Canon Powershot cameras. I know enough to realize that ISO, zoom, MP and image stabilization are important features. I'm hoping to get some expert advice before deciding which is best. There's so much to know, especially when one wants to take really good quilt pictures, and won't be using computer editing features to enhance photos. Thanks for your perspective. Merry Christmas to you and your family!