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Your PC IS A Dakroom
If you have a PC with Windows Photo Gallery you have a digital darkroom.Years ago I was a serious photographer with several cameras, assorted lenses and a darkroom (aka a closet). Today I enjoy the simpler digit photography way of putting an idea to paper. The only thing I could do in a darkroom that I can’t do with my laptop is to burn and dodge prints (darken or lighten specific areas of a photo). I am sure that there is photo editing software on the market with that feature but I can do with out it.
I am assuming that you know how to download you images to your computer. If you don’t know how, read your camera owner’s manual and take the time to set it up. Once set up with the proper defaults, the transfer is a snap. For me the process is:
For 200 images the process takes 2 or 3 minutes. The images are loaded in to a predetermined folder for me to access at any time. I also delete the images off the camera so I never have to worry about “running out of film“.
The Only 3 Procedures You Need To Know
How It’s DoneUsing a photo I took for a webpage How to Make a Novelty Pencil, I will show you how to use all 3 editing techniques. I wrote this webpage while camping in the Oregon Cascade Mountains using solar power for laptop, camera etc.
For the photo I wanted natural diffused sunlight which means a shady area. I knew I would need to Adjust the Color. My Nikon L16 usually underexposes photos in this situation so I knew I would need to Adjust the Exposure. I wanted to take a lot of photos at different camera angles and change the backdrop colors to see which would look best so I didn’t concern myself with framing the image as I would Crop it later. I took over 160 photos to get the 3 images I eventually used for the webpage.
Working with Windows Photo Gallery [WPG] [Top}I go to the folder containing my transferred Nikon images. The Nikon transfer program automatically names the images. I usually rename and move the images I am working with 3 in this case) and then delete the entire transfer folder to remove the unwanted images (157 in this case). Once relocated I double click on the image I selected. A new window appears with the image and a tool bar of options. Use the rotate buttons at the bottom to turn the image if necessary.
If you need help WPG has a little circle with a ? in the upper right corner for a help menu.
The WPG gives you the option to undo any changes that you make along the way or to revert to the original image. However; I like to make a copy of the original, some times it is easier to find. When exiting WPG the program will automatically save your new image under the name originally selected.
Warning: Using the Revert Option will undo all of your work to that point not just your last action.
Selecting the “Fix” icon on the tool bar will get you started. A group of options will appear on the right side of your image.
Step 1: Cropping Step 2: Adjust Exposure Step 3: Color Adjustments
Auto Adjust [Top}This feature allows you to do a one click exposure and color adjustment. This will adjust to the standard for all images much like the drugstore photo lab did for your film negatives. I always start with this option to see what the standard looks like but 9 out of 10 times I undo the auto adjust and do it myself as described below. If you’re in a hurry or don’t know what needs fixing, this is an easy quick solution.
Cropping the Image [Top}Select Crop Picture from the menu options on the right. You will be asked for a proportion. The default is custom where any rectangular shape is fine. In the art world there are “standard” sizes for frames. Popular sizes are 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 and more. If you have a frame in mind or just like a particular shape you can select it in the dropdown menu. If you need to rotate the crop frame, click the Rotate option.
To size the image area, click your courser on the corner of the crop frame and drag it to the desired size. To reposition the crop frame click anywhere in the frame and drag it. When satisfied click Apply to crop the image. If you are unhappy with the result simply Undo the crop and begin again.
For my webpage I chose a square for this image.
Adjusting the Exposure [Top}Select Adjust Exposure from the menu options on the right. Two slide bars will be display for adjusting Brightness and Contrast. To use the slide bars click and drag the pointer left or right to attain the desired effect, OR click to the left or right of the pointer and the exposure will be adjusted in increments.
My image was dull and underexposed so I increased the brightness 2 clicks and the contrast 1 click.
Adjusting the Color [Top}Select Adjust Color from the menu options on the right. Three slide bars will be display for adjusting Color Temperature, Tint and Saturation. To use the slide bars click and drag the pointer left or right to attain the desired effect, OR click to the left or right of the pointer and the color will be adjusted in increments.
Three clicks to the right on the color temperature bar and one click to the right on the tint bar and the cup was white again.
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