Raising a confident, self-assured child is incredibly difficult today. As parents we should be doing everything in our power to make sure our children know that they matter.
One often overlooked and yet obvious way of giving our children a sense of importance and pride in the family is to display family photos. If a picture really is worth a thousand words, imagine how wonderful your child feels when they see their own portraits displayed around the home! If all your family pictures are on your cellphone, or a USB drive stashed in a drawer somewhere, what message do you suppose that gives your child about their importance and role in the family? Our little ones are precious little people who need reinforcement when it comes to self-confidence.
Some Psychologists and experts also recommend displaying photos next to your child’s bed, so it can be the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they see to start their day.
If this isn't motivation enough to print your photos, I don't know what is.
I just realized it’s been a while since I last blogged! Hopefully you’ve had plenty of time to practice using the compositions rules in your photos!
Now that you know your camera inside out and backwards, and can take the photo that you want, it’s time to discuss basic editing. There are plenty of free and not free editors out there. The industry standard is Photoshop and/or Lightroom but you certainly don’t have to purchase those in order to tweak your photos. Gimp is popular although I’ve never used it myself, another free alternative is Picmonkey. Obviously the methods will vary with editor, so my goal here is to suggest things to look for to improve your photos, not necessarily how to do it in each editor. Luckily most programs are pretty user friendly.
Exposure and Contrast
I always strive to get it right in camera, but sometimes it needs slight adjustment. In this case I did lighten it slightly (have a look at the "before" photo above). I also like to blacken any blacks and brighten whites if required at this point. Most editors have highlight and shadow sliders to accomplish this.
I’ve noticed when I take photos in a hurry (like action shots at my children’s various sports games) they are sometimes crooked. Pick a line that should be horizontal or vertical as a guide. In this photo the post was not exactly vertical, and the ground was slightly slanted.
Sometimes to make a photo more pleasing, or to get rid of some background distractions easily, cropping is necessary. Here I cropped to get rid of the hand on the left of the photo, and to make my daughter more of the focal point of the photo.
This is a difficult one without a calibrated computer monitor, but we’ll assume our monitors are perfect. Do the colours look correct? I usually check the whites of eyes or teeth, or any other neutral colours in the picture. If they have a blue or yellow tinge for example they should be adjusted.
This is really personal taste, what sort of look you want for your photo. Saturation can be adjusted up or down, although I would caution against over saturating. You may want to see how it looks in black and white also!
If your lens has any dust on it, you may see spots on your photo. They are easily cloned or healed out. The same technique can be used to remove distracting elements. In this photo I didn't see anything I needed to remove. Some photographers may have removed the coaches from the background, or the stray arm on the right, but I think they add to the story of the photo.
That’s it! Your photo is now perfect! Congratulations! Now it is ready to be shared and printed!