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Travel Photography Page 5 – Software

Many years ago I had a business reason to own a full copy of Phototshop, and I continued to purchase updates through “CS2” (the most current version being CS4).  There are so many photo editing software programs available that I have managed to collect at least four others without trying.  One came with Microsoft Office, another with a scanner, another with the camera, and one more with the CD/DVD burning software.

For anyone who can’t rationalize the expenditure of $700 to $800 for a standalone version of Photoshop I can certainly sympathize.  You have no doubt seen the claims from other photo editing software providers that you don’t need Photoshop.

The ability to straighten a crooked horizon, adjust such things as brightness, contrast, and color saturation, remove red eye, add type, and crop and resize the image to improve composition are functions generally available with free or “included” image editing software.  These are the primary necessities, and it is quite feasible to get along without Photoshop.

However, I have not encountered a basic package which will allow you to work with selected areas of an image the way Photoshop will.  This capability is again easier to demonstrate than to explain, so let’s go back to the now famous vulture lineup photo.

Kenya Amboseli Vultures Photoshop editing exercise clone tool

Kenya - Amboseli - Vultures // Left: Original Photo // Right: Without the extraneous vulture tail and buffalo dung.

Never destined to be a great photo, the next snapshot has a nice range of flaws to demonstrate the salvage potential using image editing.  After cropping out the highway railing, reducing the brightness and contrast, and cloning some of the image to cover the car window frame and electrical wires, this is almost a presentable photo.  I left a tiny tip of yellow tree in the upper left corner so that you can spot where I borrowed the extra trees to cover up the window frame .

USA Colorado Near Crested Butte Photoshop editing exercise crop clone tools adjust exposure

USA - Colorado - Near Crested Butte // Left: Lots of problems. // Right: Crop, clone, and adjust exposure.

Sometimes just being there can make you look good, but even the most breathtaking scene can often be improved with minor compositional tweaking using the crop tool.  I looked around for a photo with a crooked horizon to demonstrate two editing capabilities which are available with most photo software.

USA Colorado Near Crested Butte Photoshop editing exercise rotate crop tools

USA - Colorado - Near Crested Butte // Left: Original photo. // Right: Rotate and crop

We may seem to have strayed somewhat from the subject of Travel Photography, but really not at all.  Take pictures.  Lots of them.  Use the highest pixel capacity your camera has to offer. Save all of your pictures in their original condition. Be aware of the features available on your camera, and use the pictures you take as learning tools.  Play with your software to see what it can do, secure in the knowledge you can’t make a mistake as long as you can go back to the original photo and start over.

It’s that easy, and it’s fun.  Really.


Travel Photography Page 1

Page 2 – Trade-offs

Page 3 – The Canon SD950

Page 4 – Tips

Page 5 – You Are Here


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