Saturday, December 8, 2007

Auto Color

I spent part of yesterday playing around with Photoshop. Up until now, I have not Photoshopped (is that a verb?) my pictures. But while scanning my old, discolored prints, I found an amazing function called "Auto Color." By clicking on this item in a drop-down menu, I could quickly correct much of the age-related discoloration in a photo. It was amazing to see - BOOM - from orangey brown to bright blue. Like magic!

So I began experimenting on some of my recent stuff. I adjusted about ten shots, and I found that especially those that were mostly white came out really well. White walls tend to look very dark and muddy if left unaltered. Auto Color makes them pop out white again.

This doesn't always work, though. Sometimes the picture comes out looking too stark, in which case I reverted back to the original. It's strange how this mysterious Photoshop animal works.

Anyway, for now, I intend to leave nearly everything unaltered. I can see the slippery slope of Photoshop - it's like a looming addiction. I would start just tweaking one photo here or there, and pretty soon I'd be tweaking everything, and probably more than I should. I would need Photoshop 12-step!

(Photo (unaltered): Shadow of a potted plant, Washington, D.C., Nov. 2007.)


Anonymous said...

I admit I tweak almost everything in Photoshop. My intention is to create an image that looks like what I was photographing, or at least conveys the same feeling.

I love hitting "auto levels" and letting Photoshop decide how my pic should look. though I rarely stay with the auto levels (because sometimes Photoshop makes very strange decisions) it's always interesting to at least see.

More than any other functionof PS, I use brightness and contrast, hue and saturation, and sometimes put a photo warming or cooling filter over my images.

My excuse is that I use a seriously cheap camera. Could I use that excuse in photoshop 12 step meetings?

uh oh.

Anonymous said...

But see, Reya, you quite justifiably trust your own judgment. I don't. I'm afraid my photos would start out looking like Joan Baez and end up looking like Charo.

Anonymous said...

I was addicted to photoshop for a while but most times I just tweak in iPhoto --cropping and tinting an image blue--it is super fast.

I love the shadow of the plant-- and tried to figure out what kind of flowers they were--the leafy shadow resemble marigold leaves.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I even have photoshop but I do have something that will take out red eye. That is my level of photo savvyness. I see though how it would be easy to get addicted. You, Reya and Ched post such wonderful images.