Happy New Year to everyone! I thought it would be nice to have something to read over, what is hopefully, vacation for you all.
For this week’s free photo editing software tip, I took a look into PhotoScape. At first i was not sure what to think of Photoscape. It looked to have a lot packed into one program, and mostly things that would most likely be above a beginner. Photoscape is jam packed with features but the Editor is the bread and butter of this program. When I got to the Editor I realized why this program was recommended to me by my peers.
Like the two software reviewed before it, Photoscape, offers some nice auto correction tools. This may be all you need.
- Auto Level – With the click of the button you can correct the color levels of your photographs. Typically, this will make your colors appear their true color.
- Auto Contrast – With one simple click, the contrast and mixture of your colors is corrected.
- Sharpen – This will sharpen the focus of fuzzy/blurry areas in your photos. Be careful not to use too much of this tool, or your photo will start to look like a cartoon and will come out extra grainy.
I also found the “Bright,Color” fairly useful. For the beginner, you may get carried away delving into this manual tool, much like I first did. It is convenient because it does offer an auto brighten function, which allows to you to chose from a range of low levels to higher brightness levels. This button also offers manual tools that affect the brightness and coloring. Once you play around with this, you will get the hang of it.
Below is a Living Room shot from a DIY’er that I edited in PhotoScape. It may be a little on the bright side (personal preference), but it gives you a great idea of what you are capable of doing.
Things look a little dim.
Things are looking a little better and brighter these days!
In my opinion, Photoscape, while not for the beginner in most aspects, has taken the cake for best free photo editing software. As I just mentioned, the con of Photoscape is that the organization and photo management tools are not as straight forward as some of the other programs I have looked at.
Check out PhotoScape and tell me what you think. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly will be back next week due to some site maintenance we’ve been completing this week. We’ll be celebrating the start of the New Year with some absolutely stunning photographs– the best of 2009!!
Have a very Happy New Year and we’ll see you back here next week!
For this week’s Wall of Shame and Wall of Fame, we’re taking a look at whose photos made the naughty list and whose made it on the nice list
Enjoy and have a very Happy Holiday!!
Sound off! Tell us which of these (top, center, or bottom) you think is the worst and why. We’ll tally up the votes and we’ll post the worst photos of the month at the end of each month!
Sound off! Tell us which of these (top, center, or bottom) you think is the best and why! We’ll tally up the votes and will post the best photographs of the month at the end of each month!
This week on my free photo editing software tip, I thought I’d take a look at the free site Photoshop.com, which is Adobe’s attempt at a free photography management and editing tool. You can access the website from anywhere that you have internet access, making it conveniently portable. You do have to sign up for an account with the site but the sign up process is pretty quick and painless.
After getting set up, you will find the upload tool on the My Library screen. Here is where you would upload the images you would like to edit. When you get your image pulled up, below you will find the “Edit” tab. There are 3 Categories of Edit tools: Basic, Adjustments, and Advanced. Just like with Picasa, the Advanced tools are used to make more flashy/artistic edits.
The Basic category will do for most edits one will need. Here you will find the Crop/Straighten tool, the Auto correction tool, and the exposure tool, among other options. The Adjustments include Highlight, Fill Light and the Sharpen tools.
The cool thing about this site is that for most edit options that you select, the site presents you with multiple versions of the edit, typically 5 or 6. This is an interesting concept because it allows for subjectivity. Some people tend to like images cooler (more blue) and others prefer warmer (more red/yellow-ish).
- The crop and resizing tool worked easily. The Crop tool was nice, in that, there was no restriction on the give and take of cropping out parts of the image. Some tools that have a crop option only allow you to crop so much of the photo.
- The “auto-correct” can also be useful. It does most of the work for you.
- The Exposure button is pretty nifty. It acts like the exposure dial on your camera. Plus, the site offers you 6 exposure options; three of the exposure are darker and three are lighter than the original.
- There is also a resize tool that offers some template sizes or allows you to custom size the photograph. This comes in handy when you need to size your photos to put up on the web, which there is a template selection for website sized photos.
- The Highlights and Fill Light can brighten up some of your darker exposures. Be careful not to go overboar
Here are two photographs, from a DIYer, that I edited using Photohop.com.
This is the original. It appears dark and look at those dust spots.
TaDa! The kitchen is now ready to be cooked in!
You can barely see this beautiful bedroom.
Voila! Now you can see.
There is one thing I failed to mention that I think is my favorite option on the site. The “View Original” button allows you to go back to your original image and compare that to what you have edited thus far. At any point you click that button it will flash the original photo, letting you see what great work you have done!
Overall, for free software, Adobe did well. It’s definitely no Photoshop. It is nice that this tool is online. The photos are available for access anywhere (you have internet access) at anytime. The downside to being online is that it’s a little slower than a desktop app would be since it’s not hosted on your machine; therefore performance is based on your internet connection.
Check out Photoshop.com and tell me what you think.
Also, be sure to check out our new Photography Tips of the Week (tips that will help your photos stay off of the Wall of Shame! )!
WALL OF SHAME
Sound off! Tell us which of these (top, center or bottom) you think is the best and why. We’ll tally up the votes and will post the best photographs of the month at the end of each month!
This week we chose to do an overview of Picasa, the Google based free photo editing software. Picasa is better known as a photo organization software than it is an editing tool; however, Picasa offers some great editing functions for the amateur editor or the editor with basic needs!
There are 3 main editing categories: Basic Fixes, Tuning and Effects. Basic Fixes and Tuning is what I suggest most agents will need, while effects may make photos look cool/flashy, they might not be for real estate photography. Basic Fixes include functions such as Crop, Straighten, Auto Contrast, Auto Color, and the coup de gras, “I’m Feeling Lucky.” The Tuning Tab allows you to adjust the Highlights, the Fill Light and Shadow Depth.
• Crop allows you to crop out unwanted areas in your photos, especially for getting rid of anything on the edges of your photos that might be extra junk or eye sores. On the “Export” tab it provides the option to change the size of the photos by using the slider bar or just typing in the # of pixels for the width.
• The straighten function allows you to straighten your crooked photos from your wobbliest of days or from that off kilter camera. It is a pretty simple tool to use.
• The ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button is my favorite feature of Picasa. It is a quick auto correct tool that adjusts the lighting, the contrast and it also deepens the bright and dark colors. For most of your photos this is the only edit tool you will need. I suggest combining the I’m Feeling Lucky button and the Fill Light slide bar that lightens the foreground of your exposure that may be darkened by brighter backgrounds.
• Another suggestion is to use the Highlights slide bar to adjust the bright spots of your photo. You might be most interested in using this to make white walls or white fixtures/appliances appear more vibrant.
Overall, Picasa is a pretty nifty program for those who have basic editing needs and especially for the DIY real estate agent/photographer. Below is the before and after of a Front View I edited in Picasa:
On this one I used the fill light and I’m Feeling Lucky tools. For those of you who have had a chance to use Picasa let me know your feelings on this program, otherwise check Picasa out and see what you think.
Shooting a darker room, especially with a bright window in the room, can be a little tricky. If not done correctly the room can appear very dark, with the main focus being on the bright window instead of the room itself (creating a ‘cave’ look), which is not the most effective way to showcase a room. Here are some tips on how to avoid this:
• Make sure your camera’s flash is on. Most cameras’ flash is indicated by a lightning bolt .
• Make sure to turn on all lights.
• Try to avoid focusing the camera directly at a large window.
• Point the camera away from the window then press the shutter release button half way. Once your camera has set the exposure (you will feel the cameras lens move and in some cameras a light goes on to tell you it’s ready), re-frame your image and continue pressing the shutter release button until the camera takes the shot.
• If you’re using a tripod and your camera has exposure options, use the Night Mode . This will give you a longer exposure which will allow you to get detail in the shadow area.
Following are 3 sets of photographs to serve as examples. The 1st photo of each set is an actual photo taken by an agent. VHT contacted those agents and re-photographed the listing…the 2nd photograph of each set is the resulting VHT photograph. In addition to the above tips, VHT also used the 3 tips posted on November 20th when shooting these photographs.
This week’s Wall of Shame features some of the random things some agents take photos of while marketing their listings. We see so many photos each week that have been posted to market a listing, yet have nothing to do with the house… we see close-ups of: pets, leaves on trees (odd, but we see it more frequently than you’d think), decor (house plants, holiday decorations, etc), furniture, and even close-ups of boxes, clutter and garbage! The Wall of Fame features some stunning real estate photographs we came across this week…nothing ‘random’ about those
WALL OF SHAME
Sound off! Tell us which of these (top, center, or bottom) you think is the worst and why. We’ll tally up the votes and post the worst photos of the month at the end of each month!
WALL OF FAME
Sound off! Let us know which of these (top, center, or bottom) you think is the best and why! We’ll tally up the votes and will post the best photographs of the month at the end of each month!
Every week we feature the good, the bad, and the ugly of real estate photography. This week you may notice a common theme with our Wall of Shame… all the photos are pretty dark (among other things ).
These are far from being the darkest we’ve seen, but the Wall of Shame photos below are representative of a very frequent problem we see in hundreds and hundreds of real estate photos every week. Next week we’ll be posting a Photography Tip that will help you avoid taking ineffective photos like the ones you see below…
WALL OF SHAME
Sound off! Tell us which of these (top, center, or bottom) you think is the best and why! We’ll tally up the votes and will post the top 5 best photos of the month at the end of each month!
Aspect Ratios and Sizing Your Photos
When sizing your photos, always preserve the aspect ratio of the photo. This is the ratio between the width and height of a photo. If you don’t do this your images will be stretched or smashed.
If you’re using Photoshop, you can easily maintain aspect ratios by clicking “constrain proportions” in the Image Size tab (under ‘Image’ in the top navigation). For those of you not using Photoshop, stay tuned… we’ll be posting some tips using free editing software in future weeks!
When using photos for the web, it’s best to re-size your photos in a photo editing software program to the exact size needed (also maintaining the aspect ratio!) to avoid any distortion that can be caused by having the webpage forcing the photo to a certain size. Below are a few examples of this– these are photos we found on real estate websites that have been stretched to fit a certain space (and weren’t re-sized beforehand to appropriately fit that space)…
We’ll go into more detail on preserving aspect ratios and proper sizing in future weeks…