Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Quick Adjustment To Improve Your Digital Photos

From my experience, digital cameras are notorious for rendering photos with color temperatures on the colder side - especially if you use auto white balance. This isn't to say that every photo you take with a digital camera will look like it was taken in the coldest winter in the arctic circle, but the image may not look as inviting as it did when taken when a steely gray/blue cast permeates the scene.

This can be addressed with a quick and simple color balance adjustment to warm up the color tones. Using The GIMP program (free, open source and available cross-platform) simply go to the colors menu and then choose color balance. You will be greeted with which ranges to adjust and three adjustment sliders: Cyan/Red, Magenta/Green and Yellow/Blue.

For most images you don't need to do much, a simple +5 on the Cyan/Red scale and a -5 on the Yellow/Blue scale done with the Midtones option selected is just enough to do the trick.

For illustrative purposes I have an old photo taken of my old cat with my first decent digital camera, a Minolta Dimage S304. The first image is the untouched photo from the camera, followed by one done on Midtones only with a +10, 0, -10 on the scales and the last one with a +5, 0, -5 adjustment done all all three range adjustments.


+10, 0, -10 - Midtones Only

+5, 0, -5 Shadows, Midtones and Highlights

As you can see, it doesn't take much to positively change the final image. And if you are new to digital development, this is a great place to start that will improve many photos all the while not being difficult.



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