Not for Purists: Or Simple Retouching

No boundaries in this shot!
E-fence removed, quick and easy.
Alrighty then, Chari brought to my attention that she found the electrical tape in the background of my action shot a distraction, which is an important point to keep in mind. Pay attention to what's behind your subject if at all possible. That way people don't have telephone poles growing out of their heads and things like that. Ideally we would set up all our shots with a perfect unobtrusive background, following the rule of thirds, and create a stupendous statement every time we pick up a camera. And we should eat vegetables every day too. Not happening, right?? 😉 If it's just not possible to avoid having some background distraction in your photos, with a good photo-editing program you can fix the problem. Some distractions are bigger than others, and require more skills and better tools, such as Photoshop Elements, (which is worth waaay more than its cost, and can even make ex-boyfriends disappear) but little ones like this electric fence just required a few minutes in Picasa, Google's free program. I just clicked on retouch, chose a brush size, and started clicking on the offensive white tape. When the little brush removed the white with a little wiggling, I clicked again. Poof, no fence, one click at a time! Then I clicked on apply and export, and Picasa resized the file to a size more appropriate to posting on the web than the original 4288x4288 size. The nice thing is that it's a separate file because Picasa automatically saves your edits separately instead of changing your original. Which brings me to one of the most important things you need to always do when photo editing: Copy your pictures when you open them in any photo-editing program, and only work on the duplicate. Ever! Always! Save your 'keeper' originals in a backup location. Everyone messes up sometime, and poof! Your original is gone. No going back. It's all over but the crying. Another very important thing to remember is that when you work with jpeg files, which are the ones that are usually seen on the web, they lose a little information every time you open them to edit. Not every time you view them, but every time you open them in an editing program to work on them. Jpeg is a 'lossy' program. It loses information, but it is a nice small compact file size. If you are going to work on something a bunch of times, it's better to save it as a Tiff, or if you have a photoshop product, a PSD, which will keep all your layers separate. Tiff and PSD are a lot bigger files for the same picture, and they don't lose information when you close and save them, so they're ideal to use until you get to the point of saving a copy to send to friends or post on the web. That said, Picasa does not give you the ability to fine tune file size the way Photoshop does. Remember, it's free, not perfect. 😉 I know I doused you in quite a bit of info here, but once you get in there and play around a little, you will have a ton of fun fixing pictures you thought were toast.  And here's our work of art, retouched.

5 Replies to “Not for Purists: Or Simple Retouching”

    1. LOL, you know, the funny thing is that I’m not sure if I like it or not… the white boundary racing by sort of added an element of speed… Eh. Now I have both! 😉

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