How to Fix Your Photos Using Free Editing Software

Happy Labor day everyone!
I'm back to share with you some quick tips when editing your family pictures. I am gearing these tips towards those of you who perhaps have a point and shoot camera or a DSLR and are just starting out as hobby photographers and who don’t have Photoshop or another editing software to edit your photos. Good news! You can fix your family pics for free! And I am going to show you how. First of all there is no editing program out there, not even Photoshop that will fix a bad picture. Let’s face it it’s not the price of the camera or the amount of money spent on an editing software that makes a good picture, it’s the skill and talent of the photographer. I started taking pictures of my family many years ago with just a simple point and shoot and as time went by I took courses to gain the skills needed to call myself a pro.  Are you ready? Here we go: Tip #1: Know how to compose the shot. There is a rule in photography and in art and it’s called the rule of thirds. This means that you want to have your subject, in this case, let’s say it’s your child in one of the areas where the lines intersect. The rule of thirds suggests that the eyes naturally go to certain points of interest in the photo and not to the center. It recognizes these points of interest and implies that if you place your subject right in these points of interest and play along with the viewer’s natural way of looking at an image, you may have created a well balanced shot which is more appealing to the eye. In other words, try not to center your subject.

{rule of thirds applied}

Tip#2: Try to take your pictures in good light. This means either early in the morning or at near dusk to get the best and softest light. Of course, if you’re on vacation you can’t say to the fam, “Let’s come back at dusk, guys.” When this happens you can usually place your subject in an open shade such as under an awning a tree that covers your subject completely or have them facing away from the sun as much as possible.
If your subject is backlit, that is if you are trying to capture the sunset plus your subject, you can always use your flash to light your subject and even out the shot. Try different angles to see what works best.
Now onto the editing J
I am partial to Pixlr. It’s easy to use and fun too! {plus it’s free}
Go to their website 

Open up the Pixlr editor {advanced}

Click on open image from computer to choose your picture.

This picture of the beautiful couple is very pretty with all the green and the railroad tracks but look to the right and see those ugly poles? We are going to get rid of them. Now you can always crop the photo, but when you go to print it you’ll run into problems and it will crop too close to the image of the couple.
I always try to leave a bit on both sides for cropping and printing.
Here I will introduce you to the clone stamp.
It’s that orange one that looks like a stamp. And the way it works is that you click and hold control while you click over the area you want to sample. Basically telling the program that you want to clone or copy that area over to where you will be dragging.
You can choose how big the “brush or stamp” is and the opacity etc, up at the top. Here I am going to choose a diffused stamp and I am going to select a pretty large one since I want to clone the sky.

Now I’ll hold down control and click on the sky and just “paint” over the ugly lamp posts.

See the lamp posts disappearing? Now be careful getting too close to the trees. You’ll have to “sample” the greenery to fill in the post there. Try to make it blend in as much as possible. If you mess up you can always hit control Z to undo and start again.

See the posts now? Almost done. If you zoom in on the image you can see a person way in the back of the tracks. You can just clone him out of the pic by adding some more greenery J
Now we want to sharpen the image up a bit.
Choose the blue cone/triangle. Next choose the opacity. I chose 68% up there on the slider. You don’t want to overdo it and make it look “crunchy”.

Now just mouse over the area you want to sharpen like the subjects themselves.
See how simple and fun this is?
You can even control the saturation and make your image black and white.

Simply click up at the top under Adjustments and move your saturation slider over to where you want it.
The most fun of all is when you save this and re-open it under the Pixlr-o-matic.
You’ll just have a blast here!
You can give your images a fun retro look.

Here I chose the Janine look.
Then give it a nice texture by clicking on the blue dashboard and selecting soft.

You can make your photos look super cool and fun for digital or regular scrapbooking.
Play around with it and I’d love to see what you come up with. Feel free to leave me links to your images in the comments section of my blog.

Here is my final edit of this image:

I hope you learned something new.
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Have a blessed day,

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