Using digital magic to edit photographs: LAPC

I like using digital magic to bring out the best in my photographs before I post them. I use Corel PaintShop Pro, a less expensive alternative to Photoshop.

Clean up an image

This is a slide I kept in my tent during fieldwork and tiny spots of mold had grown on it. They couldn’t be removed physically so I used a digital scratch remover and cloning tool to erase them.

Edting with digital magic
Steens Mountain, Oregon (Unedited)
Purple mountain majesties Steens Mountain, Oregon
Steens Mountain, Oregon

Crop an image

I took this picture of a pair of burrowing owls at the High Desert Museum. There was a lot of glare on the window of their enclosure. I cropped the photo, and in the edited version, they look like they’re in a natural setting.

Editing with digital magic
Burrowing owls, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon (Unedited)
With two you can share wisdom. Burrowing owls at High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon 2016
Burrowing owls, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon

Use sepia tone

You can use this effect to hearken back to another time and to eliminate colorful distractions. The interesting shapes and structures stand out in monotone.

Editing with digital magic
Fort Rock Blacksmith, Oregon (Unedited)
Fort Rock Blacksmith sepia tone
Fort Rock Blacksmith, Oregon

Put pictures into a Time Machine

You can mimic photo developing techniques from the past. The edited picture, with its saturated colors, is shown as if it were developed in 1960.

Editing with digital magic
Sod House Ranch, Malheur NWR, Oregon (Unedited)
Sod House Ranch, Malheur NWR, Oregon 9April2016
Sod House Ranch, Malheur NWR, Oregon

Use infrared

You can highlight details with tones that are the opposite of reality. For example, a black tux and furry gloves in a portrait of me as a lion in a previous post show up as light colored. Infrared can also create soft halo effects along edges. I think it’s my favorite effect because it creates otherworldly images.

Editing with digital magic
Prickly pear cactus, Bend, Oregon (Unedited)
Cactus in infrared
Prickly pear cactus, Bend, Oregon

Enhance the subject with a rotating, or mirror, image

The original photo of fall leaves had good color, but it didn’t have great composition. When I applied a little digital magic, I was surprised and impressed by the results.

Editing with digital magic
Vine maple in the fall, Mount Hood, Oregon (Unedited)
The tree people of autumn
Vine maple in the fall, Mount Hood, Oregon

If you experiment with photographic effects, you too may be pleasantly surprised by what you come up with.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – From Forgettable to Favorite

24 thoughts on “Using digital magic to edit photographs: LAPC

  1. Oh so well done Siobhan! You’ve illustrated how editing can make magic when used appropriately. I haven’t really done any infrared work but I always like the effect in others’ images. I also loved the owls and the blacksmith shop. I have some old western shots from my niece’s wedding in Colorado that I may try this with. Thanks for sharing your edits and the thoughts behind them.

    • Thank you, Tina! I remember in the old days you had to be extra careful when developing infrared film. No light. It’s fun, and easier, to play around with some of the digital editing options. 😀

  2. Great tips, thanks!

    It’s ridiculous how much time I spent editing/playing with my photos, although I’ve never seen or heard of the infrared option. I use Photoshop Elements. I’ll have to see if it has that option.

    • You’re welcome, Rebecca! Infrared produces images that are often sort of mystical. Hope you have the option to experiment with it. It’s great for snow pictures.

    • Thanks! I tried the Fort Rock shot in black and white too but like the sepia better. Infrared has a way of softening things while making them more clear at the same time.

      • Yes, I don’t think it would work so well in B&W – sepia is good for old farm buildings and machinery etc. To me, B&W suits bleak landscapes and urban shots best. Having said that, I’ve seen some brilliant flower shots in B&W! Everything is worth an experiment or two 🙂

  3. An interesting point you make there. The colour prints that we were so used to in the past all used a specific chemical process setting that the manufacturer specified. That gave those saturated colours. Changing the setting changed the picture; I knew a lab or two which would do that. So even in those days there could have been the same tweaking that we do today, only it was hard to set up a chemistry lab at home.

    • Yes, it was more difficult to process film back then. I had a home darkroom for a while, but you didn’t always get the results you planned. It’s much easier now.

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