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From the author of Choosing the Best Photos and Videos

Choosing the Best Photos and Videos

Depending upon the material you have to work with and your intended recipient, you might need to do a lot of work to improve your photos and videos. You can cut down your workload a lot with these tips:

Choosing the Best Photos

If you have a lot of near-duplicates to look at, cull out the ones with un-repairable problems, such as out-of-focus, camera shake or excessive motion blur. For the rest, use a hierarchy like this:

Best choices: photos with good color or contrast, good facial expressions, clear details of objects, landscapes, and other points of interest. If you are working on a project with multiple images, select a variety of shot types (long shots, medium shots, closeups) to bring more interest to your project.

Figure 1 A medium shot of happy boaters.

Figure 2 A closeup emphasizes the relationship of grandfather and grandson.

Second-best choices: photos with good subject matter, but problems such as color or exposure, or group shots with one or more people with eyes closed, poor facial expressions, and so on. As you can see from Figure 3, these problems can be fixed.

Figure 3 A dark photo before (left) and after (right) being fixed with the Levels command in Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Choosing the Best Video

If you’re planning a video-based gift, realize that you’re probably going to need to do some editing to fix or remove problems such as “shakycam,” out-of-focus shots, bad color, and poor exposure. Because problems like these are present in lots of amateur video, your initial goal should be to select video that covers the subjects you want to feature in your project, and then concern yourself with repairs during the editing process.

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