Lesson 82: Halloween Tadaa

Today, we’re going to use the editing capabilities of Tadaa once more.  In honor of Halloween, I thought I would work with a holiday-appropriate image.

The original photo taken with my iPhone 5S presents several challenges.  First, it was taken with lots of distracting background.  Second, it’s so bright, it destroys the Halloween mood.

Using Tadaa, I was able to take the image from a quick grab shot to something that has more impact.  Here’s what I did (see Lesson 82 for instructions on how to open a photo for editing in Tadaa):

Your Assignment:  Give the Tilt-Shift edit tool a try.  Do you have a photo that could be improved by blurring the stuff around the main subject?  This is a good choice for controlling the portion of the image that’s in focus.  Don’t forget to hit Save when you’re all done editing!

Lesson 47: Blooming Snapseed

Today, I randomly chose a photo and edited it in Snapseed to demonstrate 3 things:

  1. Using some of the tools in Snapseed we haven’t used in earlier lessons
  2. You can edit yourself in circles
  3. Editing doesn’t necessarily make a photo better.

Here is the original photo next to my resulting photo after editing:

In the process, I used the Grunge, Vintage, Details, Retrolux, Drama, and Tune Image tools.  There are several reasons why it probably isn’t a good idea to use this many editing tools on one photo.

First, while there are several claims on the web that Snapseed is “non-destructive,” meaning the resolution of your photo is not compromised by the editing process, I am not convinced.  It’s very difficult to tell what is photo degradation vs editing effects both visually and from a file size perspective.  I tried saving each version of the photo between steps and found that the file size got progressively smaller until I added a texture and then the file size increased.  So, I am going with the assumption that data loss from the original image occurs each time you apply an editing tool, although some editing tools apply extra data.

Second, Applying edits in different orders creates different results.  Working from left to right applying the same edits created a very different photo.  Here are the two different edits side-by-side:

Some edits seem to “undo” previous edits by applying, for example, a different texture to the photo.  In the end, there are a nearly infinite ways in which you can change the photo.  But, the question is:  should you change the photo?

In this case, the main issue with the original photo is that the focus is behind some of the unopened petals in the center.  Neither edit fixed this problem.  If I wanted to improve the photo, I would try sharpening it to see if I could get the center petals in focus.  Interestingly, one of my interim edits did result in a sharper image than the original:

I would still prefer to have had the original photo with the focus I wanted.  Focus is one of the things it’s hard to fix after the fact.

Your Assignment:  Pick a photo that maybe isn’t so interesting.  Open it in Snapseed and try the various tools.  For the steps I took editing the photos, refer to the instructions below.  Try the different tools in Snapseed in different orders to see which order seems to work best for you.  Here are the instructions for the first edit:

Lesson 45: Post Processing or Photo Manipulation?

In Lesson 40, we took a badly lit photo of my dog sitting on my husband and did some basic editing to shift the attention from the bright background to my intended subjects using Snapseed.  These are the original and post-processed versions side-by-side:

I mentioned in Lesson 40 that post-processing is usually considered the digital equivalent of developing film.  However, you can also do an extreme amount of editing and end up with something that doesn’t look like a photo at all.  This is usually called digital manipulation or graphic art, but when editing crosses from post-processing to “manipulation” is largely subjective and hotly debated.

Since it really doesn’t matter what you call it, we’re not going to argue about it.  I’m just going to show you an example of more extreme editing that produces a completely different look from what I actually saw when I took the photo.

I used Snapseed to do a similar editing process as in Lesson 40, but I took my changes to the extreme.  I also used heavy sharpening to create an effect that makes my husband and dog look more like a drawing than a photo.

Here are the steps I used in this edit.  Note that there is a clever tip included on copying and pasting selective adjustments that comes in very handy.

Let’s look at the original photo, the previsously post-processed version, and today’s extreme edit side-by-side:

Personally, I am a bit of a traditionalist.  I like photos to look like photos or to not at all look like photos.  More abstract subjects work for me in extreme editing modes, but I am not fond of this look for human or animal subjects.  Maybe someday it will wear me down and I’ll start to like it–in the meantime, I always think of images of Elvis on black velvet when I do these types of edits.  🙂

Your Assignment:  Start with a photo that has something a bit off in it like a too-bright background and poorly lit subject.  See if you can use this series of edits (and/or throw in some of your own) to create something that looks really cool.  Or, perhaps, makes you, too, think of Elvis on black velvet.  Do you like this look?  It’s OK if you do.  🙂  That’s the important point–discovering what is possible and what appeals to you.