I personally love getting out my big girl camera and taking pictures to scrap later. I also love the creative freedom I have with RAW format pictures and my use of Adobe Photoshop to really bring a picture to life — pictures that may been taken in bad light, dull colors, a bit too much movement, etc. I don't think pictures have to be perfect. That's part of the whole story telling but I do like to make sure that the pictures I'm wanting to show off are the best they can be. Some just need a little more pizazz to make them POP off of the page — not much, just a little.
This is the picture I'm starting with. It's okay but not the first thing I would grab to scrap with. But with a bit of time, love and Photoshop editing I can make this picture pop a bit more and really be something I want to scrap.
Now nothing fancy with this photo, just my cat who follows me from window to window every time I'm outside. But with a few minutes of time I can crop, straighten, lighten and add an easy Photoshop action to the picture to make it more pleasing to my eye and I can now make it any size I want
depending on how I want it on my layout.
So what programs are out there to edit photos? Well, if you have the time and willingness to learn, I would suggest Photoshop. The monthly fee makes it more affordable for those that are a bit more serious about their photography or are into graphic designing. But this isn't a price point or experience point most want to be at.
There is also the option of Photoshop Elements which is more affordable, less daunting to learn, and more user friendly for those that don't need all the graphic designing or photo editing bells and whistles that Photoshop has. If you are considering if this is for you or not, you can always
try the program for free with a 30-day trial. This program is frequently on sale at Amazon or you can always buy an older version that will work for your needs.
There are great photo editing plug-ins for Elements, called actions, that make it easier to really make your photos pop with just the click of a button. For some of the actions that are out there, browse around these websites to really make your photos "wow" worthy. Some of the actions I'm familiar with are from Paint The Moon and My Four Hens
There are free Photoshop actions as well so don't feel like it will be a huge cost to you. But what about programs for editing pics on the computer at no cost. Well, there is GIMP which is a powerful free photo editing software. If you don't want to spend money, but want a bit of power to edit your photos, GIMP may be the way to go. Especially if you just want to do small edits (lighten, resize, adjust colors, add an overlay, etc.) This would be the easiest and cheapest option.
But Ann, you say, "I only use my phone." I understand that many today are solely using their phones for pictures. I find myself doing that more and more and have to force myself to get my big girl camera out. While I do edit all my phone pics in Photoshop, there are some apps that are
available for your phone that can do easy edits and get the most out of your photos.
I tried out four apps on my Droid and used the same photo to just try out basic results like cropping, lighting, warmth, etc. so you can get an idea of what you can do on your phone.
The original photo of one of my teen drivers.
1. Pic Monkey
This program I found to be the most limited of them all and I'll be deleting it from my phone. Of course I'm used to all the bells and whistles of Photoshop so keep that in mind. I would suggest, since its free, to simply download some programs and see what works for you. It wasn't difficult to figure out. As apps go, it was pretty easy to use. The results were okay although I found adding text quite annoying and just gave up.
This was my favorite and I'll be keeping it on my phone. It was very easy to use. I had a lot of options to work with as well as some photo filters if I chose to use them. I have my favorite filters that I use with the Instagram app but maybe I'll have to dig around and see what is available on phones for photo filters (but that would be another blog post.) :) Remember to check out YouTube for information and tutorials on how to use these programs.
3. Photoshop Express
Even though I'm a PC Photoshop user I found myself liking this less than Snapseed. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't some big thing that made me like this less. I guess it's just a personal preference. I could easily crop, lighten, adjust, reduce noise, etc. so it is a good program but it is all about what you
like best to work with.
I was totally eh on this one. Maybe because it kept wanting me to sign up to their sharing thing and ain't nobody got time for that. I also found the cropping tool to be a bit limited. It gave you only certain sizes to work with vs. me having free range ability. This wasn't my preferred one but it did an acceptable job on my photo with plenty of options to edit.
We put a lot of effort into creating our layouts and preserving our memories and as you can see there are plenty of options available for us to put more care into the photos we use on a project. We don't have to be limited to what we shot. We can easily edit photos to make them the focus of our pages and show a lot more detail about what is going on. Technology is a wonderful thing and has really stepped up the game in our memory keeping. So branch out, have some fun editing your photos, put some creativity into that process, and don't limit yourself to dark 5x7 pictures.