I absolutely love photos. I love using them to document all the fun we have as a familiy. I love using them in my decor. I just love trying to create artistic shots. Like many, I don't have the best digital camera yet (still saving for that) but still want to be able to get a unique and artistic shot. Thanks to this fabulous digital age we live in, when can get those magical shots by using some photo editing.
I know "Photoshop" is the "it" in editing, but life is just so busy that I haven't had time to take a course in it (that'll come with getting my nice camera!) In the meantime, here are some FREE dummy programs that I love to use because of how simple they are.
First up, is Picnik. This program is so easy to use. You upload any photo from your computer files and start playing with it. You can resize, crop, sharpen, fix the exposure or saturation. Then they have lots of effects you can add. When you're done changing your photo, save it to you computer and print it out wherever you print your digital photos (I love Costco around here!)
Here are some examples of what I did to a few photos:
Oh, don't we feel like this after some of the days we have? This little guy was just worn out from a fun day. Look at those knees and the dirt on the face! For this photo, I used the soften, vignette and color effects.
For this one, I first cropped it a bit, added a very subtle matte and then used the Orton Effect to crank up the colors in it. I wanted the grass to be really vibrant. Love it!
I already loved this shot I took in a Portugal Castle, but I wanted it a bit more artistic. I played subtly with the exposure and saturation, then added a weak vignette, softened it a bit and ran it through cross process to make those yellow, red and green colors pop. That sounds so professional and hard, but it's so easy to use in the Picnik program. You just select the effect and slide a button until you get the level you want. Play with it! You'll love it!
This next photo editing program is a Japanese one that makes your photos look like something from the late 1800's. It makes them sepia toned with all the scratches and wrinkles of age. It can be found here. If it comes up in Japanese, don't worry! There's an English button to change the instructions over. Like Picnik, you upload a photo, it changes it over to the old style, and you save it to your computer so you can order a print from Costco or wherever.
I took this shot in Italy and used this editor to change it into something you might find on a vintage postcard.
I ran this one through both editing programs so I could add a black vignette and change the sepia tone.
I picked a few favorites and framed them for our master bedroom:
The next Editing program that is really easy to use is Picasa. They have quite a few of the same effects and tools that Picnik has, but also some unique ones. I just experimented with it's collage program. I saw and idea for making an architectural word collage here.
You can upload some free photos of letters and numbers found from signs and buildings. You then upload your saved letters to the collage program and creat a fun art collage. I did ours to say "Beusfamily.1993"
After I got the collage the way I wanted, I saved it to our computer, went to Costco online and ordered a $5 enlargement of it. A couple of hours later I threw it into a frame I had and Voila- easy art!
Wouldn't these make a fun family Christmas gift or a wedding gift for the art-deprived newlyweds? What about making each letter a 16 x 20 enlargement, frame them to spell out your child's name and hang on their wall? Hmmm....I just might do that one in my little guys room....
While you might not have the best camera yet, the magic of digital editing can really save those shots and create some stunning art for your home. Have fun!
FYI: all of my family shots and travel shots were just taken with my digital point in shoot, which is a Canon PowerShot SX120