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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Photo Tips and Tricks - Part 3

Even in the world of social media and handy apps to help you along with uploading photos,  I shy away from relying on those types of photos as my copy.  You can download a photo right off Facebook or the internet but it's not going to be the best quality.

Instagram is an interesting photo program that Facebook recently purchased.  It can give a photo that nostalgic 1970s color photo effect.   I must admit to having plenty of photos with that effect in my own personal photo album from my childhood.  I don't need more plus I wouldn't want to apply that "effect" to photos found on my family tree.  That's just my personal preference plus those photos in my own personal album look that way because they are faded and old.

Preservation and, in some cases, restoration of an old photo is necessary.  That's where Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements comes in handy.  For me, I can pluck a photo off the internet, from an email or scan an old photo and, basically, make it look better.  I have zoomed, cropped, and retouched photos to my delight.  The basic functions included in Photoshop Elements make it fairly easy for anyone to enhance a photo.  The following was literally thumbnail in printed form found in my grandma's album.  It's amazing what zoom and resizing the photo can do.

Mary Borchers ------ Maria Luise Katharine Vienop, Circa 1900

Now actually fixing a photo, can be a little more involved.  My MIL asked my husband to see what he could do with an old photo of his great grandfather.  The photo was at least an 11 X 17 and had a rather large tear in it that crossed the portrait up to the check of his great grandfather.   What a shame this would be without Photoshop.

Armed with a plan and technology, my husband first tried to scan the photo but that did not produce a workable result.  Next,  he laid the photo flat under some large books for a week or so.   The photo would just curl up on it's own so this was a very necessary step in the process.  Once the photo was flat, he setup a make shift easel/stand for the photo rather than laying it horizontal.  He got the lighting up to his liking in our office and took some photos with our Nikon SLR Digital Camera.  This photo of a photo really did work but he was only half way there.

The final part of this process was to open this photo in Photoshop and repair the tear that was still showing.  Photoshop can work miracles for sure.  Suffice it to say that the photo no longer has a tear.

William Ross


Fixing and/or repairing a photo can be quite rewarding.  When you've only got a handful of old photos of ancestors, pulling out the best of each photo can be done so well with current technology.  I feel as though I've just touched on the tip of the iceberg in photo enhancement.  I am so fortunate to have these tools at my fingertips.

Compressing A Photo

Uploading to a website or emailing a photo may force you to downsize it a bit.  Good quality photos tend to be over 600 DPI and/or 1MB or larger.  Generally, websites will not allow this size photo to be uploaded because of space.  You may even run into issues trying to email an 8MB photo to someone.

To send a "right sized" photo or complete an upload when your hand is forced to do so, you will want to compress the photo.  Photoshop Elements allows you to adjust pixels and resize the photo plus change the quality level.  In the absence of a program like this, what does one use?   I have used the compression tool found in MS PowerPoint but that is geared toward the photo living within a PowerPoint presentation or project.

Additionally, I used to use a website known as Picnik.   What happened to Picnik?  Well, if you go to that website it does say that "The Picnik is over."  It refers you to Google+ (yes, Google Plus).  I have not explored this option.  I use Google products but have not gotten into the "Google Plus" mode.  Never fear though, you can find "online quick use" compression tools.  I just "Google" it.  No pun intended.

In the end, I still have a call out for photos of my family to relatives who may be just discovering the treasures that they have hidden in a drawer, box or storage somewhere.

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