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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shop Your Own Stuff – Shop Your Photos


I wanted to make another post in the “Shop Your Own Stuff” series to show you a way to turn your own photos – even not the greatest ones – into frame-able art for your home.

You don’t need a fancy photo editing program to fix up your digital or scanned photos.  Picasa, a free program from Google, does a pretty good job, especially for the amateur.  Again – it is free.  No cost.  All you will pay for is the prints and frames (unless you can scrounge up some free frames by shopping your own stuff ;-)  ).

Picasa for your home computer (not to be confused with the online storage and viewing part of it) is a great tool to organize your digital photos and it offers the ability to do some basic and not so basic editing, adjusting and enhancing.  You can use it to make less-than-perfect pictures into something nice enough to print and frame – either for your own décor, or as a gift.

Disclaimer:  I am not being paid by Picasa to “sell” their product.  I was not even asked to review it.  :-)  I’m simply suggesting it as a means for “shopping your own stuff”.  Also, this is not intended to be a tutorial.  Please search on Google for a tutorial.  I am not by any means showing all that this program can do, either.  I selected features that I thought demonstrated the ability of Picasa to transform less-than-perfect photos into something actually useable.

NOTE:  Make sure you have the system requirements to run this program before you install it, otherwise you may encounter some “interesting” problems.


Original    [Muscadine grapes]

Enhanced and adjusted. (Enlarged only to show detail.)

On this one I adjusted all three “sliders” to my taste under the “Orton-ish” enhancement setting in “More fun and useful image processing”.  Then I adjusted the Fill Light, Highlights and Shadows in under “Finely tuned color and lighting fixes”.


On this one I cropped the image to a 5x7 size, though 4x6 probably would have been better for printing purposes due to the quality of this particular picture.  I used the “Lomo-ish” enhancement, adjusting the Fade.  Then I adjusted the Shadows.  I used the red eye fixer.  I had to adjust the right eye (in the picture) twice by hand to get it looking black enough.  And, finally I used the “Retouch” tool to remove the slight blemish on his left cheek.


On this picture I used the “Orton-ish” enhancement and added a vignette.  Then I added a verse with the text feature.  It’s sometimes really hard to find nice pictures with KJV verse on them.  Now you can make your own. :-)


Here I adjusted the Shadows and Fill-light, applied a Focal Black and White, Sharpened it and added a Glow.  I could’ve added a verse since there is probably room.


Some retouching to remove blemishes and a simple “Lomo-ish” enhancement.


More examples:

Heat Map feature


Random picture clicked out the car window in downtown Austin, TX.

Inverted colors and applied “Lomo-ish”.


This is my personal favorite for showing what a change the “Lomo-ish” feature can make, and for showing how some simple tinkering can make a bland picture into something worth framing! :-)


As you can see from these examples, some rather ordinary shots are transformed into what I consider to be frame-able art. The size and quality of the original picture will effect the quality of the prints. But, with this free, downloadable program, you can “shop your own photos” to get art for you home. With some inexpensive frames from a thrift store or Wal-mart, you can actually spend just a little for some pretty nice results. :-)

I hope you enjoyed this and, most of all, are inspired to download the program and try it out for yourself.  You can probably tell that I had way too much fun making this post. :-)

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