I received a photo from one of my clients today, wondering if I had any "magic" to fix a photo she wanted to post. It was taken by a friend at an event. The friend was obviously not a professional photographer, and I'm obviously not a professional photo editor. The photo was a bit dark.
Well, I didn't have any "magic," per se, but I did have a little trick up my sleeve that you can use, too, to fix many amateur portrait-photos that have too much shadow or too much sunlight. Instead of using my friend's photo, I've chosen one of my cat to use as an example. I TSA'd my bunny last time, so this time, we'll fix the cat. Oops - bad choice of words (sorry, Kitty). What I mean is, this time we'll edit the cat's photo.
In this case, I took a photo in bright sunlight, of my cat, who was in the shade, and the photo was too light. So I opened the photo in a photo editor (in this case, Microsoft Office Picture Manager - but this can be done in Photoshop, Gimp, or almost any photo editor - except MS Paint). Find the option to edit brightness and contrast, then adjust the midtones.
In this, case, lighting the midtones to about -35 did a better job of featuring my Kitty's beautiful features and eyes. Play around with the setting, going up and down, to see what looks best. When you're happy, be sure to hit "save as" and re-name the photo if you want to keep your original. Here's the before and after.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.