Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Filters Fix Oops

Here is this year's corsage photo. I mentioned the other day that every year I get my daughter a corsage for the Easter Holiday. I picked the silliest picture we have to post here. (Why is it that all kids make this face when a camera is turned on them? I remember a photo of my brother, when he was around this age, making the same face at a birthday party.) The florist brought my daughter into the cooler to pick what flowers she wanted for her corsage last Thursday. She chose red spray roses. Easter morning we pulled Grandma's new dress from the closet. My daughter wanted to wear her fancy piano recital dress (think wedding dress) to wear to a friend's Easter dinner. I had visions of food stains and children stomping on hems, so I was able to talk her into this one. PHEW! Dress and corsage coordinated...I lost out on the red hat. She wanted pink and we have to pick and choose our battles.

I am thoroughly thankful that she didn't pick a blue hat because that would have made my job as a photographer more difficult. The original photo of my daughter is dark. We were rushing out the door and I didn't have time to stage a full-blown photo shoot. I use PaintShop Pro for most of the photo editing that I need to do. I lightened up the picture and everything was gray and drab. Even after tweaking colors using tools supplied in the program, the picture was dull. For the non-photographers out there, this is where filters come in. Once upon a time we had to use filters directly on the camera lens to soften or otherwise alter images. Now it can be done on the computer. There are many filters available online that "plug" into whatever photo editing software you use. Some of them are available for free, others have a nominal charge and others are quite expensive. I have yet to purchase any of the expensive filters, yet I have played around extensively with others and will use them regularly while editing pictures.

My favorite filter tool is called Virtual Photographer. It has THE most wonderful filter for my little red head. Virtually any "Oops" photo I take can be corrected (not usually perfected, but corrected) with this filter. The "mountain " filter adds just the right touch of red and contrast to make my little darling's red hair and ruddy cheeks come to life. In this case, it also made her corsage and dress just the right shade of red. This picture also makes use of a porcelain filter that does just what it sounds like it would do. It adds a slight blur and a touch of blue to give the photo a porcelain like feel. This filter works great on children with their smooth soft skin. It also works well on fine china still lifes and floral blues.

I prefer to get it right the first time - perfect lighting = perfect photo. When the light is directed and low in the sky or when two corner windows come together indoors on a sunny day, the lighting gives life to the scene's colors automatically. But in less than perfect conditions or in the fine arts when you sometimes want to enhance an element of your image, filters are extremely useful and fun. Search online for "photography filter plugin" and play with what you find.


Robin's Nesting Place said...

Thank you for the filter info. I use Noiseware to filter out the noise on some of my pictures. It is a free download. I'll check out the filter you recommended.

Your daughter is beautiful! I'm a bit partial to redheads because both of my children are beautiful/handsome redheads too.


Thanks for your note Robin. We have a family full of redheads too. Some real, some not so real redheads ; )

I should mention that the porcelain filter is available from Xero and you can get it here http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/downloads.htm
I also often use a buzz filter to soften some of my flower images and give them more of a watercolor feel. You can get that here http://www.download.com/BuZZ-Pro/3000-2192_4-10057833.html?tag=lst-1
Just using a macro lens will help flatten the background, but when that is not enough the buzz filter comes in handy