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Basic Photo Editing on a Computer
 

 
INTRODUCTION TO BASIC DIGITAL PHOTO EDITING
 
An introductory class to show the student some basic photo editing skills. If a higher level class with more technical details is desired, it is recommended to seek out the classes available through the Community Center or at the local public and private high schools and colleges.
 
 
GETTING STARTED
 
1) What is needed:
 
A) Photographs digitized into files by your local photo lab, and stored onto any of the following media: Flexible Diskette, DVD or CD’s. If you have a digital camera, the lab can make photos from the camera memory card and put them on a DVD or CD for you, or if you know how, you can download the digital camera files directly into photo files on your computer from the camera Memory card.
 
B) A computer system capable of doing photo editing, which means, a Windows or Macintosh operating system, a fast CPU processor, 1 to 2 Gigabytes of memory, a 350 to 500 Gigabyte Hard Disc Drive, a floppy disk drive, and a CD Read/Write Drive. Optionally, you can purchase a Photo Scanner to scan the photos into digital files on your computer. If you would like to print your own photographs, then you would, also, need a photo quality printer, such as, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, or Canon products. You would also need media supplies, such as, Black and Colored Inkjet Cartridges, and glossy or matte photo quality paper to print on. For more storage, a DVD R/W Drive.
 
C) Photo Editing Software, such as: Kodak, Canon, Nikon software supplied with your camera purchase, Adobe Photoshop Elements, or any other Photo Editing Application that you are familiar with. For basic photo editing, most any basic photo editor application will work just fine. For advanced photo editing, use Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Photoshop. There are many free basic photo editors as web pages on the internet, such as Picaso from Google, Photo Express from Adobe, and on many on line Photo labs, such as Shutterfly, Snapfish, Kodak, Ritz Photo, etc.
 
D) Reference Books on how to use the above software applications. Most of the applications include the reference books; but, for more detailed and expanded information, it is a good idea to purchase additional books from your local book store or online from Amazon.com. Also, subscribing to a photography magazine, such as, Popular Photography, Shutterfly, Outdoor Photography, Photo PC, Digital PC, etc. can provide a lot of information and keep you up to date on the latest products. Another good source of photographic information can be found by searching Photography Internet Web Sites. www.amazon.com on the internet.

 
2) Basic Photo Editing:
 
A) Turn on your computer and start your Photo Editor Application.
 
B) Put your photo Memory Card or media, such as, CD or DVD into the computer Card Reader or CD/DVD drive. Optionally, you can use a photo scanner to scan in your negatives or slides of photos. Newer computers will accept your camera memory cards.
 
C) From your photo editor, open and select, or acquire a photo file from your computer and load it into your photo editor application. If needed, Rotate and Crop your photo for best composition.
 
D) Use the enhance mode to adjust the brightness and contrast of your photo.
 
E) Use the enhance mode to adjust the color, hue, and saturation.
 
F) If needed, use the Filters/Sharpen mode to sharpen your photo.
 
G) Use the File/Save As command and change the file name, so as not to destroy the original file.

 
3) Printing your Image:
 
A) Use the Resize command to change the image size for printing, usually 250dpi to 300dpi is best for printing images. Some applications allow you to pick the printed image size from a menu; otherwise, you must specify the image size of the print. Note: To get a good paper print-out, the file size should be between 1 to 10 Megabytes, depending on the size of the print-out. The bigger the picture to be printed, the larger the file size needs to be. Prior to printing, if the photo needs sharpening, use the sharpen command.
 
B) Use the File Preview command to see what your printed image will look like. If no changes are needed, then use the File Print command to print the image. Make sure that you have some Photo Paper loaded in the printer paper tray before printing. Common sizes are 4x6, 5x7, and 8x10 inches.
 
C) Use the File/Save As command and change the file name, so as not to destroy the original file.

 
4) Emailing your Image:
 
A) Use the Resize command to change the image size for email, usually 72 to 96dpi is best for viewing on a computer screen. Also, 400Vx600H ppi or 600Vx400H pixels per inch (ppi) is a good size for email or posting your images on a web page.
 
B) Use the File/Save As command and change the file name, so as not to destroy the original file. Save As a jpeg or gif file extension, and set the file compression so that the file size is no bigger than 30 to 150 kilobytes. Bigger file sizes are possible, but they will slow down the computers and take a long time to load. Note: This size file is only good for viewing on the computer, it does not make a good print out on paper.
 
C) From your Web Browser Email application, you can type your email message and attach or insert your jpeg photo file. When completed, you can then email your email message with the attached photo image.

 
5) Advanced Features:
 
Advanced features are beyond the scope of this class, but include the ability to fix and restore damaged photos, such as, fixing red-eye, scratches, blemishes, spots, fading, etc. One can also paint-out/clone-out unwanted objects in a photo. Photos can be combined into a collage or panorama picture. Creative special effects can be obtained using any of the many filters available. Pictures can be layered and manipulated to combine many photos effects into one. These are only a few of the many things that can be done to manipulate and enhance your photos. If you are interested in doing this type of photo editing, I would recommend taking an advanced class, reading books and magazines on the subject, joining a photo club, or getting a mentor. The Internet has many photographic sites with a wealth of information out there, and most are free. There are many Photo Editing applications that available from basic to advanced, some are free, some are included with a camera purchase, but advanced applications like Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Professional Photoshop can cost from $50 to $700 Dollars. Most books and Photo Editor software can be found at www.amazon.com. 
 


 
CONCLUSION
 
Consider your needs and your abilities before purchasing any hardware or software. Basic Editing does not require the most expensive equipment. If you choose not to purchase your own equipment, you can still get your camera photo files printed and saved to CD’s or DVD’s, and or printed at your local photography store or lab. If you would like to try your hand at photo editing, the San Ramon Senior Center has computers to use that have photo editing software on them. If you have or are going to purchase your own equipment, do your home work and find out what will work best for you. The Senior Center has classes and docents that can help you, as well as the Community Center, and the Diablo Valley Community College. If your are a self learner, then books, magazines, or online classes, such as on www.lynda.com are good sources to find photography information on the internet.