I was so hoping that my friend Stan would jump on Facebook tonight, and he did! Want to know why I was hoping for that? Well, I took my kids last week on the first part of our summer adventures. That consisted of a one week journey from Tenn-tucky to Chicago, on to Michigan, and then a quick stop in Indianapolis before it was time to head back to Tenn-tucky. We logged 1408 awesome, and fuel efficient, miles on the Honda. I took a truck load of pictures, of which I have edited exactly one. Hey, I’m learning!

There was one picture that I was particularly wanting to edit, so that’s where I started. The pic is of my darling niece on top of a sand dune in Michigan. This is what it looked like when I pulled it off my camera:

DSC_0689Not bad. A little dark, but you can tell there is potential there. The problem is, I do not exactly know how to unlock that potential. But, I did get Photoshop for my birthday this year, and I have been playing. So, I tried and this is what I came up with:

DelaneyDefinitely better. Something, however, was still missing. The picture was much brighter and the colors more intense, what else could I do? Hmmm… put the picture on Facebook and see what people thought! In particular, I was hoping Stan would give me his opinion. He’s an excellent photographer (you can check his FB page out here), and he’s a technical genius. He does some sort of computer work that is way above my head, and spends his time gaining as much knowledge as he can about whatever interests him. In other words, he’s a super smart perfectionist whose opinion is good to have!

Good news! Stan was on line and he gave his opinion. He said I should crop a little to bring more focus to my subject, and that I should brighten her as well. Umm, crop I got. How do I brighten one subject and not the rest of the photo? This is what he taught me. In expert mode (slightly laughable for me to be there!), I chose the smart brush tool. In the smart brush tool tray, I clicked on the square that said “brighten your image.” With that tool, I was able to individually select what I wanted brighter. I followed Stan’s advice and only brightened her skin and hair; her clothes were bright enough. I’m really happy with what happened next. I ended up with this photo:


I’m not even close to pro, but with this new trick, I think my photos are going to improve a lot. If that means I can make better pictures of my kids and make some nice gifts for my friends and family, then that makes me very happy!

Oh, side note and one of the best things about this picture. I was shooting from pretty far away and with a 200X zoom. Laney saw me and, after she realized I was taking her picture, looked smack into the camera and flashed that adorable grin. Such a natural!