Editing in Photoshop #1: Cropping and Levels

This blog post contains a guide to some basic photo editing techniques in Adobe Photoshop. First and foremost, remember that not all photos need editing. If a photo looks great, leave it alone!

Straightening a crooked image

In general, try to hold your camera straight, and when possible, steady it by leaning it on a sturdy surface. If you have accidentally taken a crooked photo however, you can straighten it in Photoshop. Here are some examples: Photo credit: Betty Photo credit: Lizzy

How to Straighten a Crooked Image in Photoshop

  1. In your layers palette on the lower right side of the screen, double click the background layer. Rename it.
  2. View -> Rulers
    view_rulers
  3. Rulers will show up on the top and left side of the screen.
    Click anywhere in the ruler area and drag toward the photo to create a guide.
    guide_Adding_instructions
  4. Adjust the guide so it is next to an object with a straight edge that is currently slanted.
    You will use this guide as your reference. (In the example below, I have added a vertical guide to compare to the street light, and a horizontal guide to compare to the horizon line.)
    Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.26.01 PM
  5. Edit -> Transform -> Rotate
  6. Rotate the image until the edge of your object is parallel to your guide. Then press the “enter” key. Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.26.48 PM
  7. Select the crop tool from the tools palette on the left side of the screen. crop_tool
  8. Drag your crop tool to select the area you want to keep.
    Press the “enter” key once you have successfully evened out the edges of your image.
    Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.27.11 PM

Cropping Distracting Objects Out of an Image

You can also use the crop tool to cut out distracting objects in the background and make the focal point stand out more. Notice how much stronger the image on the right is, because I have focused the attention on Robert by cropping out the distracting elements around him:
IMG_2444_bw IMG_2444edited

Important Note #1: Whenever you edit an image, save a version of the image with a new name by going to the top of the screen and selecting File -> Save As, and naming it something that makes sense. For example, if the original image was named “Flower123,” and you cropped the image, name the edited version “Flower123_cropped.”

Important Note #2: Not every image needs to be cropped! If an image looks great already, leave it alone.

How to Increase Contrast by Adjusting Levels

  1. Image -> Adjustments -> Levels
  2. Look at the image that pops up. If your image has sufficient contrast, the “mountain range” will extend to the edge of the window. If your image looks similar to this, you do not need to adjust the levels, and can close out of the window:
    levels_no_adjustment

    If your “mountain range” of values does not extend to the edges of the window (such as the example below), you will click on the left cursor and drag it to the beginning of the left side of the mountain. You will then click on the right cursor and drag it to the beginning of the right side of the mountain. You will be able to preview what you are doing as long as the “preview” box is checked. levels_before_and_after
    When you have adjusted your levels, click ok.

Today we will:

  • Edit our favorite photos.
  • Create a new blog post with before and after images of any photos we edited today.
    Michele’s blog post has a great example of how to show before and after images side by side.
  • If you are not sure if an image can be improved with editing, but want to include it in your final collection of 10 photos, post it to your blog today with a note asking whether it would be best to edit it or leave it alone.
Advertisements

Editing in Photoshop #1: Cropping and Levels

 

 

This blog post contains a guide to some basic photo editing techniques in Adobe Photoshop. First and foremost, remember that not all photos need editing. If a photo looks great, leave it alone!

Straightening a crooked image

In general, try to hold your camera straight, and when possible, steady it by leaning it on a sturdy surface. If you have accidentally taken a crooked photo however, you can straighten it in Photoshop. Here are some examples: Photo credit: Betty Photo credit: Lizzy

How to Straighten a Crooked Image in Photoshop

  1. In your layers palette on the lower right side of the screen, double click the background layer. Rename it.
  2. View -> Rulers
    view_rulers
  3. Rulers will show up on the top and left side of the screen.
    Click anywhere in the ruler area and drag toward the photo to create a guide.
    guide_Adding_instructions
  4. Adjust the guide so it is next to an object with a straight edge that is currently slanted.
    You will use this guide as your reference. (In the example below, I have added a vertical guide to compare to the street light, and a horizontal guide to compare to the horizon line.)
    Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.26.01 PM
  5. Edit -> Transform -> Rotate
  6. Rotate the image until the edge of your object is parallel to your guide. Then press the “enter” key. Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.26.48 PM
  7. Select the crop tool from the tools palette on the left side of the screen. crop_tool
  8. Drag your crop tool to select the area you want to keep.
    Press the “enter” key once you have successfully evened out the edges of your image.
    Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.27.11 PM

Cropping Distracting Objects Out of an Image

You can also use the crop tool to cut out distracting objects in the background and make the focal point stand out more. Notice how much stronger the image on the right is, because I have focused the attention on Robert by cropping out the distracting elements around him:
IMG_2444_bw IMG_2444edited

Important Note #1: Whenever you edit an image, save a version of the image with a new name by going to the top of the screen and selecting File -> Save As, and naming it something that makes sense. For example, if the original image was named “Flower123,” and you cropped the image, name the edited version “Flower123_cropped.”

Important Note #2: Not every image needs to be cropped! If an image looks great already, leave it alone.

How to Increase Contrast by Adjusting Levels

  1. Image -> Adjustments -> Levels
  2. Look at the image that pops up. If your image has sufficient contrast, the “mountain range” will extend to the edge of the window. If your image looks similar to this, you do not need to adjust the levels, and can close out of the window:
    levels_no_adjustment

    If your “mountain range” of values does not extend to the edges of the window (such as the example below), you will click on the left cursor and drag it to the beginning of the left side of the mountain. You will then click on the right cursor and drag it to the beginning of the right side of the mountain. You will be able to preview what you are doing as long as the “preview” box is checked. levels_before_and_after
    When you have adjusted your levels, click ok.

Today we will:

  • Edit our favorite photos.
  • Create a new blog post with before and after images of any photos we edited today.
    Michele’s blog post has a great example of how to show before and after images side by side.
  • If you are not sure if an image can be improved with editing, but want to include it in your final collection of 10 photos, post it to your blog today with a note asking whether it would be best to edit it or leave it alone.

Photographic Storytelling Project Checkpoint

dogs_bookWe will wrap up this project by the end of the week. Today we will stay inside, inventory the photos we have taken for our project, refine our project concept (if necessary), and plan the photos we will need to take during the next two classes to finish our project. Since this class struggled with the project proposal assignment, today’s blog post will replace that grade, so make sure you complete all the required part of today’s assignment and post them to the blog. Check your folders to make sure you have been getting credit for each class, and read the comments from Ms. Lawson.

Today’s Assignment:

Part 1: Gathering your best photos. Post the best 20 you have taken for this project to your blog. Then ask your classmates and Ms. Lawson for feedback.

Part 2: Analyzing how your photos tell a story and relate to a particular theme. Answer the following questions:

  • What story or character(s) will you portray with your project?
  • How will the environment contribute to the image? Where will you need to go?
  • What props or costumes will you use?
  • Who will you photograph? What will their body language portray?
  • How do the photos you have taken so far work with this theme?
  • What are some photos you need to take to finish your collection? Where should we go to take these photos?

Here are some Media 3 Projects that are well on their way to success:

No idea where you’re going with this project? Follow Fran’s lead, post what you’ve got, be honest, and we’ll come up with a plan.

Today we will:

  • Post our best 20 photos we have taken for this project to our blog
  • Get feedback on these photos from our classmates and Ms. Lawson
  • Answer the questions in this blog post to analyze how well your photos relate to your intended theme, adjust your project concept if necessary, and brainstorm any remaining photos you will need to take during the next two classes (include models, props, and location)

Photographic Storytelling: Favorite Student Photos

Here are some of my favorite photos taken the past few classes. How has the photographer created a clear storyline in each photo?

Media 2

Media 3

Today we will:

  • continue taking photos for our storytelling with portraiture project
  • create a new blog post with the following:
    • the best photos taken today
    • a paragraph describing your concept, what photos you have so far for your concept, and what photos you will need to take over the next few classes to round out your series of ten photos

Social Reportage: Dorothea Lange & Lewis Hine

The social changes of the late 19th century were largely at the expense of the working class and the poor. Documentary photographers Dorothea Lange and Lewis Hine helped raise awareness of disenfranchised populations. As we continue our portraiture unit, take a few minutes to analyze how Dorothea Lange and Lewis Hine captured powerful stories in their portraits.

DOROTHEA LANGE (1895-1965)

Dorothea Lange was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange’s photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography. Her photograph, Migrant Mother, is the most famous of the FSA photographs. Lange had promised not to publish the photo and use it only to obtain food. Food was indeed rushed to the camp when bureaucrats saw the images, but two of the pictures were published, and one of them become iconic almost overnight. View more of Dorothea Lange’s work at The History Place and the Museum of Modern Art.

LEWIS HINE (1874-1940)

Though Lewis Hine was a sociologist by trade, his photographs of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island led to a commission from the reforming National Child Labor Committee. Often working undercover or with a false identity, Hine undertook a photographic survey of child labor from 1908-1918, which produced a monumentally damning body of 5,000 images. Hine supported every image with full details of the child, his or her working conditions, and even wages. By 1919, he was receiving recognition as a photographer as well as a reformer, but continued working for government agencies. Sadly, by the late 1930s, his contribution to society was no longer valued and he spent his last days homeless and on welfare. Even his prints were not wanted and were turned down by MoMA. Luckily, the George Eastman house, the world’s oldest photography museum, took them in. See more of Lewis Hine’s work at The History Place and The Getty.

Today we will:

  • Continue taking portraits for our Storytelling with Black & White Portraiture project
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • the best photos you took today
    • a few sentences explaining what went well, as what as what challenges you still face regarding portrait photography

Photographic Storytelling Day 2

Today’s Essential Question: How can I combine models, props/costumes, and environment work together to create an interesting story?

Here are some of my favorite photos taken last class.

Human Subjects:

Plastic Subjects:

Today we will:

  • Take more pictures for our storytelling with black & white portraiture project
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • the best photos we took today
    • a few sentences describing what went well and what you find challenging about portrait photography
  • Clear the memory cards, take the batteries out of the cameras, insert them into a charger, plug the charger into an outlet, and put the camera back in the bag.

Photography Day 1

Today we will begin shooting portraits of people outside. Here are some photos taken by the Media 3 students. How do the models, props/costumes, and environment work together to create an interesting story?

McKenzie: Photos of Friends with Flowers that Represent their Personalities

Quamae: The Elusive American Teenager

6176680608_img_1252

Today we will:

  • Take the first pictures for our storytelling with black & white portraiture project
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • the best photos we took today
    • a few sentences describing what went well and what you find challenging about portrait photography
  • Clear the memory cards, take the batteries out of the cameras, insert them into a charger, plug the charger into an outlet, and put the camera back in the bag.