Bad Pics Fixed Quick: How to Fix Lousy Digital Pictures

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9780789732095: Bad Pics Fixed Quick: How to Fix Lousy Digital Pictures

Millions of Americans own digital cameras. Millions of Americans also struggle with producing great quality photos from their digital cameras. With a "try this, then this" approach, Bad Pics Fixed Quick: How to Fix Lousy Digital Pictures is a clear, easy-to-follow instructional guide on how to turn your digital camera nightmares into nearly-flawless pictures that you're not afraid to print. The book's primary focus is on using Adobe Photoshop Elements software, but it does give you advice and tips that are applicable to any image editing software. You made a big investment when you purchased your digital camera. Make it a worthwhile one by learning how to get the most out of it with Bad Pics Fixed Quick!

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Michael Miller has written more than 50 nonfiction books over the past 15 years. His books for Que include Bargain Hunter's Guide to Online Shopping, Absolute Beginner's Guide to Computer Basics, and Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay. He is known for his casual, easy-to-read writing style and his ability to explain a wide variety of complex topics to an everyday audience.

You can email Mr. Miller directly at badpics@molehillgroup.com. His Web site is located at http://www.molehillgroup.com.


 

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

Introduction

Just because you have a nifty new digital camera doesn't mean that all your pictures will turn out perfect. It's all too easy to snap a photo that is too bright, too dark, off-center, tilted, or too far away from the subject. And your subjects won't always be perfect, either; the people you photograph will have bad hair days, facial blemishes, yellow teeth, and bad skin. No matter how good your camera is, you always end up taking your share of bad pictures.

In the old pre-digital days, a bad picture was a bad picture—there was nothing you could do about it, except throw the bad ones out. But with digital photography, things are different. When you transfer your pictures to your computer, you can use a digital editing program—such as Photoshop Elements—to work on your pictures and edit the mistakes. Don't like the color? Fix it. Don't like the background? Change it. Don't like that pimple on the subject's forehead? Remove it.

Bad pictures can now be fixed.

Of course, professional photographers have been editing digital photos for years. Talk to any pro photographer, and you'll find that he spends hours and hours at his computer every day, brushing away blemishes, correcting color, and otherwise fixing problem photos. Every pro photographer knows that while it takes just a second to snap a picture, it might take half an hour or more on the computer to make the photo look perfect, digitally.

The problem with that, obviously, is that you're not a professional photographer, and you don't want to spend all that time fixing your digital photos. You want to fix your problems, yes, but you want to do it the fast and easy way. You want a one-button solution, if it's available, or at the very least one that takes just a few minutes to do. You want a quick fix for your bad pics.

Fortunately, you don't have to learn highly technical procedures to fix most digital photo problems, nor do you have to invest in an expensive or hard-to-use professional software program, such as Adobe Photoshop CS. Nope, all you need to fix your pics is a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements (which costs less than $100) and someone to show you the one-button solutions and easy fixes—which is what I do in this book.

Bad Pics Fixed Quick won't burden you with the long and involved techniques used by professional photographers—you neither want to spend that much time fixing your pictures, nor do you need 100% perfection. All you want is to make your bad digital photos look presentable, so that's what I'll show you. The techniques presented in this book are easy to do, don't take much time, and don't require any technical skills to speak of. Click a button here, pull down a menu there, and that's about it. You'll be surprised what you can achieve when you know the right tricks. Bad pictures really can be fixed quick!

Each chapter in this book addresses a specific type of problem—your photo is too dark or too light, or the color is off; that sort of common problem. You'll find an example of the problem at hand, and then I'll show you several ways to fix what's wrong. I start each chapter with the easiest solution to the problem; then I show you other approaches you can take—just in case the easy solution doesn't do the job. If the first method doesn't work, undo your changes and try the second, slightly more complex, method. If that one doesn't work, undo your changes again and try the third method. Hopefully, the one-button solution will do the trick; if not, just keep trying the various techniques until you're satisfied with the results.

Now, chances are any professional photographers reading this book won't like it; some might even look down their noses at the techniques I present here. But this book isn't written for professional photographers. It's written for you, the average consumer with a point-and-click digital camera and not much time or patience to fix what went wrong. Follow my instructions and you'll have your problem photos fixed in much less time than the pros spend, and your results will look so good, only a trained professional can tell difference!

How This Book Is Organized

Bad Pics Fixed Quick leads you step-by-step through fixing some of the most common photo problems you'll encounter. The book is organized into five major sections:

  • Part I, "How to Use Photoshop Elements to Fix Your Pictures"—This part presents a brief overview of those features of the Elements program you'll be using to fix your bad pics.

  • Part II, "How to Fix Pictures That Are Too Big or Too Small"—This part shows you how to shrink your pictures for the Web or enlarge them for printing, as well as how to crop them to zoom in on the most important parts.

  • Part III, "How to Fix General Picture Problems"—This part presents easy fixes to some of the most common problems with digital photographs—tilted pictures, pictures that are too dark or too light, bad color, and pictures that are either too blurry or too grainy.

  • Part IV, "How to Fix Otherwise Perfect Pictures of Imperfect People"—This part focuses on retouching the people in your pictures—eliminating red eye, getting rid of circles under the eyes, softening wrinkles, removing blemishes, whitening yellow teeth, getting rid of braces, taming unruly hair, and smoothing skin tone and color. You'll even learn how to make a plain face more glamorous with a 5-minute digital makeover!

  • Part V, "How to Fix Really Bad Pictures"—This part tackles some of the tougher problems, including changing the color of an object, changing backgrounds, removing unwanted objects (and people!) from your photos, reducing glare and flare, and restoring scratched and faded prints. You'll even learn how to turn a really bad color photo into a good black-and-white one!

What You Need to Use This Book

To use the techniques presented in this book, you need a personal computer and a copy of the Photoshop Elements program; either the PC or Mac version is fine. This book is written for version 3.0 of the software; if you're using an older version of the program, I recommend that you upgrade to the latest version. The new features make fixing your pictures that much easier. No special technical expertise is required.

Naturally, you also need some digital photographs. Any picture taken by a digital camera will work, as will photo prints you scan into digital files with a scanner.

Conventions Used in This Book

I hope that this book is easy enough to figure out on its own, without requiring its own instruction manual. As you read through the pages, however, it helps to know precisely how I've presented specific types of information.

Menu Commands

Many of the tools and controls in Photoshop Elements are accessed via a series of pull-down menus. You use your mouse to pull down a menu and then select an option from that menu. This sort of operation is indicated like this throughout the book:

Menu Option 1 > Menu Option 2 > Menu Option 3

All you have to do is follow the instructions in order, using your mouse to click each item in turn. When submenus are tacked onto the main menu, just keep clicking the selections until you come to the last one. For example, the instruction Enhance > Adjust Color > Hue/Saturation means to pull down the Enhance menu, select the Adjust Color option, and then select the Hue/Saturation option. It's easy.

Shortcut Key Combinations

Some Elements commands can be accessed directly from the computer keyboard, typically by pressing two keys at the same time. These two-key combinations are called shortcut keys and are shown as the key names joined with a plus sign (+).

For example, Ctrl+D indicates that you should press the D key while holding down the Ctrl key. If there are different shortcut keys, the Windows keyboard combination is shown first followed by the Mac shortcut.

Special Elements

This book also includes a few special elements that provide additional information not included in the basic text. These elements are designed to supplement the text to make your learning faster, easier, and more efficient.

Note - A note is designed to provide information that is generally useful but not specifically necessary for what you're doing at the moment. Some notes are like extended tips—interesting, but not essential.

Caution - A caution tells you to beware of a potentially tricky action or situation. Pay attention—or suffer the consequences!

Tip - A tip is a piece of advice—a little trick, actually—that helps you perform a task more efficiently.

Let Me Know What You Think

I always love to hear from readers. If you want to contact me, feel free to email me at badpics@molehillgroup.com. I can't promise that I'll answer every message, but I do promise that I'll read each one!

If you want to learn more about me and any new books I have cooking, check out my Molehill Group Web site at www.molehillgroup.com. This is also where you'll find any corrections or clarifications to this book, which I'll post as necessary.


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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