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Because each photo editing software program is different, the specific tips for using the programs for retouching a photo can vary. Overall, however, there are some things to keep in mind when doing photo editing in order to get the desired outcome. The first thing to keep in mind is that while photo retouching can do a lot for a picture, it is best if photos only need minimal retouching, so try to take a number of different shots to begin with to increase the likelihood that one will look nice. Then, consider small changes that can be made when retouching a photo that can simply improve upon what is already there, rather than making drastic changes to the image, which can be quite noticeable and cause the picture to look aritficial.
Some of the simplest fixes in photo editing software offer some of the best opportunities for retouching a photo. Removing red eye, for example, can generally be done with the touch of a button. Cropping the photo to remove something undesirable from the frame of the shot, or to make the central focus of the image appear larger, is also a simple way to really improve photos. Once the image is cropped, it can then be resized if desired for various uses. It is also possible to merge photos together to create collages or panoramic images.
Other aspects of retouching a photo involve more direct manipulation of the image. Removing a blemish on someone's face, for example, is an example of photo retouching that is often referred to as airbrushing. It is frequently used in magazines, but now that there are many different types of photo editing software for home use, people can now perform this task at home. Using clone tools in photo software can also eliminate some unwanted items from a picture.
Color adjustments and other image quality changes can also be part of retouching a photo. It is possible to make a photo black and white, or to change the overall color of a photo, such as making it sepia toned. Selective color changes can also be made; for instance, a small piece of the photo can be adjusted, while the rest is left alone. Adjusting other aspects of the photo such as brightness, sharpness, saturation, and contrast can also really change the look of a photo by making colors appear warmer, shadows appear brighter or darker, or edges sharper or fuzzier.
I've found that proper lighting when taking a photo greatly diminishes the need for touch-ups. Back-lighting tends to be far more flattering, and you'll want a light source that's not too bright, which can wash out one's features.
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