Editing and Managing Digital Images

One of the main attractions of digital photographs is that they can be stored on your computer and edited using Image Editing software. If you have lots of photos it can be difficult to find the one you are looking for, so it’s a good idea to use to use image cataloging software to keep track of them. One useful program for doing this is Google’s Picasa software, which can also be used to edit your photographs and upload them to the web.

The industry standard for photo editing is Adobe Photoshop, which is available in a number of versions. The Graphics Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a free alternative that provides almost as many features. However is your editing requirements are fairly basic you’ll probably find that Picasa is good enough.

It’s not a good idea to store the only copies of your photos on a hard drive as it will fail eventually. Keep backup copies on an external drive, CD or DVD ROMS or upload them to a cloud-based backup service, such as Livedrive.

One of the simplest editing operations you can carry out on photos is resizing them. You may want to do this so that you can print the photo in a certain size or display it on a web page. Choose the “maintain aspect ratio” option to avoid distorting the image. Make sure that you keep a copy of the original image – if you need to enlarge a reduced image there will be a loss of quality.

You can also reduce the size of images by cropping them to cut out any unnecessary elements. This is normally done by choosing the Crop option from the toolbox and drawing a box to select the part of the picture you want to keep. The image below shows a photo being cropped using GIMP.

Your image editing program will also allow you to change the brightness and contrast of images. These functions are usually operated by slider bars. You can also adjust the colour balance of images. Basic editing programs use the red, green and blue channels(RGB). Advanced programs used by professional printers generally use cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). The RGB channels are sufficient for basic editing purposes. You can adjust the color saturation of images by using slider bars to add more or less of one of these colours.

Filters can be used to change the overall appearance of images, for example, to make them look like paintings or drawings.

Image editing software can also help you to remove errors from images. Cropping can remove some errors and straighten edges. One common fault is the “red eye” effect. The editing software can eliminate this by taking a sample of the area around the red eye and replaced the redness with a layer similar to the pixels in the surrounding area.

Next: Printing Digital Images