Basics of image editing

Basics of image editing

Even if you can conjure up the computer from a bad photo no beautiful picture with the post, it is still possible to create a fantastic photo of a well-received. Basic image processing steps such as noise reduction, cropping choose Brightness & Contrast, or Sharpen can help. The sooner you deal with the issue of image processing, the better. Even as in the actual shooting you will be here by frequent practice always adept in dealing with the "digital darkroom". I want to give on this page first basic knowledge, appropriate programs and some essential information that can facilitate decision started.

Digression at the beginning: The RAW format in image editing
If you ask higher demands on the subject of image processing from the outset, you should start now, in RAW format for taking pictures. Instead of being compressed and already processed by the camera JPEG image, your photo in a special raw data format is stored unedited on the memory card. All processing steps are then to 100% in your hands and you have full control in the digital image processing. Nor can correct shadows and highlights to a greater extent and more effectively remove noise. The format, however, is very large (about 30MB per photo) and accordingly memory hungry. Those who wish to concentrate on photography and image editing very discreetly used, the effort with the use of the RAW format may be over the top.

The dreaded noise
Especially for cameras with a small sensor you have from a certain ISO value problems with the unpopular image noise. But even expensive SLRs with large full-frame sensor are at a certain point no longer able to keep the noise at a tolerable. If it now comes to computer image processing, the increase of, for example can Brightness & Contrast let the noise still are more visible than it already is.

Basics of image editing
Noise a full frame camera - at extreme values ​​of ISO 12500 and of later brightening is reached the limit, even with large sensors.
Therefore, it is advisable, as a first step of image processing, pre-noise reduction. This applies of course only for photographs where image noise really is a problem - so when shooting at high ISO or a long exposure of a few seconds. Most standard image editing programs offer a quite satisfactory performance, with which the noise is minimized. I've been using in many cases the internal functions for noise reduction in Adobe Lightroom. Because I'll do almost all other processing steps in this program and my photo collection manage, it is very convenient integrated into my workflow. This saves time and nerves and is sufficient in most cases also. Who does not, however, satisfied with the flexibility and quality of the internal filter of his program, need to look at special tools such as Noise Ninja or Neat Image once. But its operation requires some practice and experience and can overwhelm beginners quickly. And should you overdo it with the noise reduction already not. Because everyone Noise Reduction Filter - whatever the program - not only removes the noise, but sometimes important image details. You have the best compromise between too much and too little will find here always. This requires some practice.

Crop and Straighten photos
The fact is that prior to the initiation you should think about what image detail is chosen. A photo with a picture Section poorly chosen can be transformed by image processing is extremely rare in a really great photo. However, good photos can gain some quality by cutting in some cases even more. This applies particularly to small corrections like removing disturbing picture elements on the screen by a narrowing of the image detail. Such details are easily overlooked when taking pictures. It also happens very often that the image was not exactly being recorded.

Basics of image editing
By correcting the angle can be corrected the horizon.
A (albeit only slightly) sloping horizon with eg a landscape shot is felt quickly as disturbing. In such cases, affects a small digital post miracle. This processing step can be implemented easily in virtually any program. But you should also be here on guard. Too much trimming automatically reduces the resolution of the image. At some point, and in conjunction with high image noise, the quality of the image suffers considerably. So you can not conjure up here and turn a bad photo into a good. Less is often more here

Contrast, saturation and brightness
If you have the impression that the pictures make a little dull, dull and unexciting act, then it may be due to too little contrast and saturation. In image editor of your choice to the appropriate regulators bring more experiments here "splash of color" to. Controls for contrast and saturation should also be used cautiously here. Too much contrast, or saturation makes the colors quickly seem artificial and exaggerated. If you stand in front of the problem that, for example, only the greens are too weak, so you can (among other things, Lightroom or Photoshop Elements) also draw the color-selective saturation in many programs. With these functions, it is possible, for example, only to raise the greens. The then has the advantage that other colors in the image that are not to be oversaturated already strong enough.

Basics of image editing
Slight corrections of brightness, contrast and saturation in Lighroom. Picture from: Maja Dumat - CC BY 2.0
It also happens frequently that a photo was taken under or overexposed. Here can help to adapt the brightness settings. In Lightroom, for example, there are in addition to the same controls for the brightness and exposure, the regulator for shadows and highlights. Particularly in connection with the RAW format can be here due to the high dynamic range of this format also exceeded moderate or correct underexposed areas of the image. So, it is also very high-contrast subjects still get to grips with. At some point, but you can also here nothing "save" - ​​"blown-out" white (overexposed) or black (underexposed) areas of the image then can not be recovered. Here only the camera before the shutter is pressed helps adjust properly.

What software should you use?
Who has so far hardly dealt with the subject image editing and would venture only first steps, is well advised with freeware programs such as Gimp. Even the free image viewer IrfanView offers some rudimentary functions for image processing. These freeware programs very large projects can already be processed. Also for home use and rapid project in between, they are perfectly adequate in most cases. Especially beginners can learn the excellent first steps in digital imaging with these free solutions. Detailed tips and tricks for. Instance in dealing with the freeware Gimp you can find on various sites on the Internet. The page provides example of a solid selection of various tutorials.

May it be something more? Lightroom and Elements for ambitious beginners
Otherwise, the top dog of the pixel-based image processing is still the company Adobe. Meanwhile tailored to photographers Lightroom program I can highly recommend. I work very pleased for several years with it and miss virtually no functions. The balancing act between professional functions and fast workflow manages Adobe masterfully. High Lightroom is also working on a professional level. In particular, the algorithms for noise reduction have made in recent years, in my opinion, significant progress and do not need to hide Neat Image and Noise Ninja before the specialists. Ambitious beginners I can also put Photoshop Elements to the heart. The program is the little sister of Adobe Photoshop, yet offers a but an extremely rich repertoire of features that are of particular interest to amateur photographers, for example, the Photomerge technology - in this case may be combined to form a perfect group picture the best designs from different recordings for example.. With this feature, Photoshop Elements could also in various test reports performing well (eg or Both Lightroom and Photoshop Elements also see themselves as full RAW converter. You can with these programs including your pictures edit the raw data format and use all advantages of this.
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