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Before and After


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I haven't been out with the camera much this winter so I have been revisiting photos from the past and reworking some of them. I blurred the background a bit on this shot from 2013 so that the branches were less of a distraction. I like the results much more than the original and since it was so easy to do, I thought I'd share the procedure. I used the Quick Selection Tool of my photo editor(Pixelmator) to select the Wood Duck. By setting the Selector size towards the minimum, I was able to select small sections to add or remove parts of my selection as needed. Using the shift or alt keys while making the selection usually adds to, or removes, the selection in most photo editors. I suggest clicking repeatedly with the shift and/or alt keys to add small sections instead of trying to do the selection in one go by clicking and dragging over the entire thing. If over selection happens, and it usually does for me, I can always use the Undo command in the Edit tab. Once I had selected the bird I went to the Edit tab and used the Invert Selection command so that everything but the bird was selected. I now had the entire background selected and used the Gaussian Blur tool to smooth the background and make the tree branches less distracting. I used Invert Selection again to select the duck and tweaked the sharpness just a little bit. I then exported the image to my testing folder and opened it in another viewer. The entire process took less time than it took me to type this out explanation. I know many people can't be bothered with post processing, but if you play around with your photo editing software you can create something very artistic or maybe just lessen a distraction so your subject stands out a bit more. 

Disclaimer:) I am NOT an expert at photo editing and do not strive for perfection when I do edits. I mostly stumble through and learn as I go from experimental trial and error.

 

Before

IMG_0611-2.thumb.jpg.b22517917d26ae4c13f0e2cc34dc9af3.jpg

 

After

IMG_0611-2-2.thumb.jpg.2c7a9be0963b37f4943852f0a345897b.jpg

 

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30 minutes ago, Avery said:

So THATS how that works! Is Pixelmator free? Or is there a free program with blurring tools?

 

No, Pixelmator is not free, it's a reasonably cheap Mac alternative to photoshop type programs. There are free photo editing apps that can do the same things though. I believe Gimp https://www.gimp.org is still rated one of the best and Paint.Net https://www.dotpdn.com/downloads/pdn.html is another free one. Take note that Paint.Net is the name of a program, not the URL of the website.

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37 minutes ago, Avery said:

So THATS how that works! Is Pixelmator free? Or is there a free program with blurring tools?

 

5 minutes ago, lonestranger said:

 

No, Pixelmator is not free, it's a reasonably cheap Mac alternative to photoshop type programs. There are free photo editing apps that can do the same things though. I believe Gimp https://www.gimp.org is still rated one of the best and Paint.Net https://www.dotpdn.com/downloads/pdn.html is another free one. Take note that Paint.Net is the name of a program, not the URL of the website.

I’ve been using GIMP for a while, now. It’s the best free post-processing program there is.

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Very nicely done.  I do very minimal editing mainly because I am not very good at it.  I have AfterShot Pro for raw files and Paint shop pro as my photoshop alternative.  Both of these are relatively cheap and both are by Corel.  Have you ever tried Topaz Denoise?  It works great for high ISO pics.

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2 hours ago, Spyonabird said:

Very nicely done.  I do very minimal editing mainly because I am not very good at it.  I have AfterShot Pro for raw files and Paint shop pro as my photoshop alternative.  Both of these are relatively cheap and both are by Corel.  Have you ever tried Topaz Denoise?  It works great for high ISO pics.

It does. I strongly recommend Topaz Denoise for anyone that shoots in low light, or uses cameras that produce a lot of noise.

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I apologize @Jefferson Shank for the lost quality during upload to Whatbird. Your original photo isn't compressed on the Macaulay website the way it is when I uploaded it here on Whatbird. 

This edit was quick and easy. I selected the Healing tool and reduced the selection size so that it was just slightly bigger than each section I wanted to remove. I used the Healing tool 5-6 times in small sections to remove the branch and a few other quick clicks to touch up a few finer details that didn't heal quite right. 

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On 2/18/2021 at 1:58 PM, Aaron said:

Definitely going to try some of these out. The only editing I’ve been doing is sending the photos to my phone and using the photo editing program that comes with the iPhone 😬

Have you tried any out yet? If so, what are your thoughts so far? I’m gonna download Gimp tonight and try it out on some photos I took today. 

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10 minutes ago, Colton V said:

Have you tried any out yet? If so, what are your thoughts so far? I’m gonna download Gimp tonight and try it out on some photos I took today. 

I downloaded it but also had to download darktable in order to load the photos as they’re in RAW.  I’ve never used photo editing programs before so maybe it’s just me, but I found it really confusing and didn’t understand how to do anything. I watched a few videos and messed around for a bit but in the end all I got was a super pink house finch photo. I’ll try to put more effort into figuring out someday as I probably only spent 30-40 minutes with it, but initially I had not a clue what to do. Thought it’d be a little more simple 😂

I did read somewhere that you should always work with doubles of photos though, as there is no way to recover the unedited photo after. 
I might try and mess around with it again tonight, but so far I’m appreciating my iPhone.

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I tried RawTherapee for the first time. It was very intimidating at first, but I sort of figured it out. What do you guys think? Any tips on how I can improve this photo? I would love some feedback. (keep in mind this isn't a RAW photo and I'm using a low-end camera so the results aren't great)

IMG_7827.thumb.JPG.786e7002bba29170b1a31101242d9628.JPGIMG_7827(2).thumb.jpg.f3bca79465dce8dffd9085907c808b3f.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Connor Cochrane said:

My tip if it's your first time editing photos is to not overdo it. I never remove anything from my photos, just adjust the lighting slightly and cropping a little.

Do you think I overdid it this time? I.e. is it too saturated, over exposed, under exposed, etc.

edit: To me it feels too saturated.

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58 minutes ago, Colton V said:

I tried RawTherapee for the first time. It was very intimidating at first, but I sort of figured it out. What do you guys think? Any tips on how I can improve this photo? I would love some feedback. (keep in mind this isn't a RAW photo and I'm using a low-end camera so the results aren't great)

Not bad!  I would say that, since it is a low-end camera, you should not crop so much.  I would probably reduce the contrast a smidge and maybe place the bird off to the left side a little bit (more like how it was in the original photograph).

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1 minute ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Not bad!  I would say that, since it is a low-end camera, you should not crop so much.  I would probably reduce the contrast a smidge and maybe place the bird off to the left side a little bit (more like how it was in the original photograph).

Thanks for the tips!

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Two of my favorite adjustments in RawTherapee are reducing the "Black" and sharpening using "Contrast by Detail Levels" (not the "Sharpening" adjustments).  If you are shooting in jpeg, the camera is probably already sharpening the image, so you might not need that.  Avoid using the "Shadows/Highlights" adjustments -- it causes awful fuzzy dark outlines around the outside of the subjects, kind of like a flash shadow.

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