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Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 3:01 am

Advice For A Newbie?

Wed May 20, 2009 3:23 am

Hello All:

Having been a fan of for years, I've decided I'd like to try to get some of my photos uploaded on the site. I shoot with a Canon 40D with a Canon EF 70-300mm F4-5.6 IS lens. I've shot an auto race and a couple airshows so far and feel pretty good about the results I've gotten. On average I'm finding that about 10% or less of the images I've shot are worth editing. I've been using Picasa as a photo editing program, and am generally satisfied with the results. Will Picasa serve me for purposes of getting posted on, or must I use Photoshop? I have Photoshop Elements 7, but have yet to use it. In fact I just installed it this morning. I'm a bit apprehensive about uploading that first photo with all the talk of rejection by the editorial board. I've read the FAQs and other tutorials and they've helped. Beyond those, can someone recommend a few basic fixes using elements that I should perform to get a couple of my photos accepted? I know it's tough not seeing them, but any help would be appreciated.

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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:22 pm

RE: Advice For A Newbie?

Wed May 20, 2009 3:43 am

I use Picasa but only to quickly scan through my photos. I also edit with Picasa to save time for family photos, vacations, ball games, etc. It is quick and easy, but not as good and precise as Photoshop. One examply is the Straighten tool, you can't get in close like you can with the Grid on PS. Also, the Sharpening on Picasa, is too rough, where you need to be more gentle and precise.

Like you, 10% are keepers perhaps. I take those 10% and edit from scratch in Photoshop. I believe Elements 7 will do most of the basics that Photoshop will do for these purposes.

I'm sure you've read the editing guide in the photographer's corner. Read that again. But basically, level (take your time), crop and resize to 1024x683, check for dust spots, adjust the lighting levels/histogram, saturation level, contrast, sharpen (but mask out the sky)

I don't have elements, but it is very similar to PS. Hope this helps!
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:58 am

RE: Advice For A Newbie?

Wed May 20, 2009 8:34 am

Another choice for a beginner's photo editing program would be GIMP......

Why don't you post those select pictures here? You can get help on how to start editing them.
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Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:30 am

RE: Advice For A Newbie?

Wed May 20, 2009 9:24 am

I think editing for is fairly straight-forward once you know what you're looking for (many newbies struggle to spot colour casts and contrast issues initially), with perhaps the exception of sharpening which can be a very fine line indeed! In fact, the only rejections I get these days are 'soft', which means I must be quite apprehensive about over-doing it. How sharp must it be? Good question, and I think many seasoned photographers struggle sometimes (I know I do!) in getting it spot-on.

Just as a guideline - I leave my in-camera parameters more-or-less alone (colour saturation I've upped by one) and normally do a hit of USM at around 499%, on radius 0.2. Works for me but I know of others who've tried it and it hasn't worked. I have a 30D, which I imagine should be similar enough to the 40D for this routine to work to a degree.

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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:38 am

RE: Advice For A Newbie?

Wed May 20, 2009 7:35 pm

Hello fellow newbie.  wave 

As JakTrax mentioned, spotting colour casts was very tricky for me. You need to make sure you have the white balance and other settings on your display just right otherwise you're going to bang your head into the desk wondering why others see a colour cast when you don't. It was this way for me.

I'm a Mac guy and the display calibrator included in OS X just was not working for me. I ended up getting a Spyder 3 display calibrator:

It made all the difference in the world. Not only can I easily spot colour casts now but, everything I look at on my monitor just looks right. While I might not be a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination I consider this purchase well worth it. Even moreso since I edit on multiple computers. I can be assured that they're all properly calibrated and will turn out as I intend them and will be consistent.
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 3:01 am

RE: Advice For A Newbie?

Thu May 21, 2009 8:14 pm

Thanks guys! I'd like to give you all a preview of the photo(s) I'm editing for upload to, but how can I do that without upgrading my membership to a fee based membership? I'd rather keep it free for now.

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RE: Advice For A Newbie?

Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Quoting Bloodhound (Reply 5):
I'd like to give you all a preview of the photo(s) I'm editing for upload to, but how can I do that

You can link your photos into a thread in this forum to seek feedback prior to uploading. Just title it as "Photo Acceptance - Pre Screening" along with your username. That way you can get advice and editing assistance as noted by Spiderguy252 in reply # 2.


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