Photo Stories: Tweaking Photos

At first there was Photoshop.

It was and continues to be expensive and challenging to learn.

Some people think it is cheating to touch-up a photograph and I admit that I hesitated when I started thinking about “touching up” because

I didn’t yet know that I didn’t always agree.

Then, I met Pic Monkey.

Pic Monkey is reasonably priced and easy.

Using it I can transform ordinary photographs into visually exciting stories,

especially if the stories are for kids.

So, I did and I do and it is FUN.

Following are some examples of photographs

which have been altered in different ways

in order to make a dramatic point

or to be less realistic and more artistic:

Black and White Versus Color

When you change a color photograph to a black and white photograph, you increase the drama. That is why black and white movies keep our attention because they engage our eyes and minds by using a strong contrast of light and shadow. Distractions in the form of colors are removed and we become more aware of the primary subjects and the story line.

The location of the photograph contributes to the drama in this example.

Above is the original photograph.

The edited version follows.

While I love the photo just the way it is, I eventually took “artistic license” with it and others to make a book about Super Heroes which included photographs of our grandchildren who had played together for several days during our annual gathering.

Below is the same photograph from the Super Hero Book which I embellished using Pic Monkey. It is one of 80 pages that eventually made up the book and supported their adventures.

You can imagine which version the children like the best.

Following is another example of Tweaking

and an explanation from my point of view:

I didn’t change the photo but added an “effect”.

The effect did not blur the background because the camera did that

by focusing on the boy.

I’ll explain.

Most photo editing software offers “vignette”. (Prounounced vin-yet)

This feature or effect lets you fuzz out the borders of the photograph with a soft cloud-look in your choice of colors.

I have found that a careful use of this feature acts as a frame-of-sorts and

focuses the eye towards what is in the center of the frame.

Most of the time, I prefer an off-white or cream colored vignette.

I don’t make it very wide or very thick but add

just enough to frame the action.

It is one of my favorite artistic touches to add to photographs.

Last but not least:

Light and Shadow

I think that the hardest place to tell good photo stories

is inside of a building or house.

I am very bad at getting good photos indoors. Sometimes, when I am close but not quite there, I tweak the light. Sometimes I add light. Sometimes I add shadows. Sometimes I add highlights, which focuses the light primarily on the face and sometimes I look for a filter that will restore some normalcy to the light which has been removed by the natural conditions in the room. I suppose that you could call that “artistic license” but I am not sure about that.  I think of it more as “restoring” rather than “changing”.

This photo also demonstrates how helpful it can be to use a vignette to move the eyes to the story which is the boy and the top. 



“Memories may fade but photo stories will bring them into focus.”



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