Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blog Picture Edits

Yesterday, I chatted about my self-proclaimed rules for taking pictures for this ol' blog. Today, I'm going to show you the minor edits I do to them so they look their best when they reach your computer monitor.

For all my picture and design stuff I use Gimp, a free download-able program that can do anything. Ok, I don't actually know that it can do anything...but it can do so much that I don't understand that it seems like everything. I'm waiting for it to perk me coffee. Pretty sure its possible.

Anyway, I showed you once how I make blog buttons in Gimp. I also do my photo editing with this program. I'm going to use some pictures from this stop in our Nova Scotia tour to demonstrate the edits.

First step is to open up your desired picture in Gimp. Then, under the “Image” tab at the top, click on “scale image.”

This window will pop up:

I make my blog pictures 600x450 pixels. That is a good size for my blog, but you can adjust it to whatever size you would like.

I never use to size my pictures, (just uploaded them straight from the camera) until I unknowingly filled my free space in Picasa, where all the pictures from my blog were secretly being stored. In the panic that ensued, someone told me that if your pictures are under a certain size, it doesn’t count toward your free space. I’m not sure what size they have to be, but I do know I haven’t had a problem since. Phew!

Here is our pictures after scaling, with no editing:

 Next, under the “Colors” tab, go to “Brightness-Contrast.”

This window will pop up:

I set both levels at 10, which makes for a great picture-pick-me-up 99% of the time. The other 1% is when I have an extremely dark or bright shot...then I play around with the levels until it looks better. But as a general rule, 10 and 10 is a good number.

Now, the picture looks like this:

 I do just one more edit to make the image top-notch (or at least as top-notch as its gonna get). Go back to the “Color” tab and click on “curves.”

Here is the default setting:

And here is the minuscule amount that I tweak it. I just grab that line in the center and drag it up slightly.

I can’t explain how that makes a different, but it does make the image just a tad sharper.

The last thing that I sometimes do is watermark my photos with my blog name. I generally only do this if a) I have time, or b) it is a picture that might get snagged for Pinterest or anything else. I don’t mind sharing my picts on the www, but I’d like a little credit or at least traffic from it, thankyouverymuch.

Here are the settings I use for the text. This is all found on the toolbox menu in Gimp.

I played around with the font and stuff quite a bit (even changed the color on every photo so it would blend in more) but this setting seems to work well and be subtle enough for every photo. You could go with just black or grey if you wanted to be even more neutral, but who doesn’t like a pop of turquoise?

Here is the "before" one more time, so you can see the difference up close and personal:

It is not a huge difference (especially since everything in the picture is reading very bluish) but it is a bit brighter and sharper, which can make it much more eye-appealing.

Here are a couple more befores and afters so you can see the difference:







This may seem like a complicated regime of stuff on each picture, but I have it down to a science with the push of a few buttons. I normally edit blog pictures while pushing the Super Lucky Button. :)

Now lets chat picture editing. Do you do any to your blog picts before hitting the publish button? What do you think is a good size/format for blog pictures? As a reader, what do you like to see in blog pictures when you visit a site?


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