Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oooh, Dang.

I have been playing with Photoshop CS3 -- I have twenty days left of a thirty day free trial. I downloaded some actions from Pioneer Woman -- I love that blog, by the way -- and have been trying to figure them and CS3 out, and partially succeeding. But upgrading from Photoshop Elements 4.0 will run me $550. Ouch. I don't have $550 laying around, and there are many other things that are far more important to spend that money on...

So I was messing around with Elements, which I can upgrade to the current version for $80. I am finding that using CS3 has given me some insights into using Elements. (I know I need to get a book about digital photography -- any suggestions, Marilyn? Didn't you recently buy some books on this subject? Any you really like?)

Here's the photo I started with. Possibly straight out of the camera, or perhaps SOOC via a slight tweaking with Picasa2. Dunno.

Problems with this photo: It has a grayish haze. The right side of the photo needs to disappear -- the flower is too close to dead center, and the left background is more interesting.

Things I really like about this photo: The sunlight shining through some of the petals. The focus -- yay! The focus is the reason I was so desperate to buy a digital SLR -- I wanted to be able to get shots where only the subject was in focus. In this shot, the flower and bud below it are in focus, the unopened buds to the left are less out of focus than the background. Depth! Ta Da! Also, I like the way the flower is so much brighter than the background.

With Picasa, I can crop it, bump up the saturation, add a glow, adjust the contrast, and in this case, use the focal B&W button to emphasize the flower and make the background fade into the...well...background.

I like it better than the original. And ten days ago, before I downloaded the trial of CS3, I would have been happy with it, except for maybe the focal B&W. Not sure I like that...

Yup. I like it better without the focal B&W...

Here's the same photo after I messed around with Elements...

Pretty similar...although the background of the Elements photo is a darker and a deeper green, and I could do the edge burn thing to darken the edges. Plus the Elements program is more fun, because you have more control over the changes you make, and there are many more changes to play with. There are lots of filters that create images like that cutout Seattle skyline I posted a couple days ago.

I may upgrade my Elements program for now (you know, that might be a great anniversary present, Mark...), and I have eight months to decide if I want to blow my Christmas and birthday money on CS3...

So...what do you guys use? Any digital photo programs you love or hate?


  1. I use CS2. I find that 80% of the work I do is done by about 20% of the software. I could probably do everything I normally need to do in Elements.

  2. Ooh, I'm going to have to start playing around a bit with my pictures soon. Sounds like fun!

  3. I use ACDsee for pentax.. that is the program that came with my camera..

    I like picassa but I dont fiddle with the photos too much. 99% of the photos that you see on my blog I have only adjusted the exposure slightly..

    My camera is broken .. I am into Day 5 of cameralessness



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