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Old Jan 19, 2007, 3:53 PM   #1
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For those who have not yet discovered --- Editing of images enhances enjoyment of photography.

Without question, it is preferable to capture an image with ideal exposure, composition, and full pixel resolution. Excessive digital editing tends to reduce resolution, to introduce noise, and can make an image appear artificial. (Newer cameras with large pixel count have reduced the problem of resolution.) Therefore, many sophisticated purists pride themselves on never, or rarely ever, editing an image. Yet, the legendary perfectionist, Ansel Adams, who developed a system for capturing black and white images with broad and optimized dynamic range and photographed with careful composition, spent hours in the darkroom printing a single picture improved by modifying the elements of his natural image as he captured it on the film negative.

Editing of digital images adds a whole new dimension of enjoyment to photography and allows even the casual snapshooter to improve a picture with relative simplicity, great flexibility, and with no extra cost. No darkroom required.

There are many sophisticated and complicated editing programs available with a wide range of cost. These allow intricate modification of the original digital image. Fortunately, for the casual photographer there are also many simple-to-use yet surprisingly powerful and free image editing computer programs (e.g., Google's downloadable Picasa2.) Many of these programs also simplify the management and retrieval of images sought from among thousands of stored images. These programs provide basic editing functions that are most needed on most images, by most users. These allow photographers new to editing to demonstrate the valuable possibilities and benefits of editing and to evaluate their actual need for more elaborate and costly tools.

Even severely under-exposed ("fully black") recorded images can often be rendered useable. Exposures near normal can be delicately tweaked. Prudent straightening and cropping can greatly improve the artistic composition and effectively increase magnification. Sharpening can emphasize or reveal bland detail. Gray skies can be made to seem blue, etc. The photographer can appreciate the tremendous improvement over drab images directly printed by routine 1-hour photo processing only by personal trial.

Digital photography, coupled with image editing, can be orders of magnitude more enjoyable for the casual photographer than was legacy (Drugstore-processed-film or Poloraoid Instant) photography.
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Old Jan 19, 2007, 3:59 PM   #2
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Photoshop Elements, version 5 is current, gives you a subset of the full blown Photoshop for a more reasonable price. There are many books available for PSE to enable you to get the most out of PSE, more so than less popular applications.
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Old Jan 19, 2007, 4:16 PM   #3
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Bob. I have Adobe edit programs and was pleased to see that Adobe consolidated its earlier programs in version 4 to closely resemble the free Picasa2 program in some of its useful features. Version 5 continues that improvement. A useful feature of Picasa is its retention of the original unmodified form of the JPEG image so that edits can always be fully reversed.

Clearly, the more sophisticated programs do provide very useful functions for those who need them. Not everyone does.
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 12:32 PM   #4
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"...Digital photography, coupled with image editing, can be orders of magnitude more enjoyable for the casual photographer than was legacy (Drugstore-processed-film or Poloraoid Instant) photography...." Daedalus

So true, yet I wonder if a much higher percentage of casual photographers use a digital darkroom than the casual shooters who used analog wet media in the "old" days. I suspect many memory cards get printed without significant editing. And how may digital camera users can there be who do not have a computer, or have a computer and know nothing of image handling?

Certainly a major part of the fun can be the digital darkroom and experimenting with the numerous software offerings which seem to increase in number monthly. People with commercial needs in mind need to get results quickly; I can happily spend hours toying with one image or restoring or hand tinting old b&w.
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