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Editing Your Photos—Digitally

When you’re taking a digital photo, you want to save your images in the JPG file format. This is the default file format for most digital cameras, although some devices give you a choice of other formats (TIF, camera raw, and so on). The JPG format is the de facto standard for web images and what eBay, Etsy, and similar sites expect for your craft listings. Given the choice, choose JPG.

With your photos in JPG format, you can easily touch them up with digital photo editing software. Now, if you’re a perfect photographer, you may never need to touch up the pictures you take. But since most of us are far from perfect, it’s great to be able to “punch up” the photos we take—and make them as perfect as possible for our item listings.

Just what can or should you touch up in your digital photos? Here’s a short list:

  • Brightness and contrast. If you don’t use the right kind of lighting, you can end up with a shot that’s too dark or too light. This is a problem some less-careful crafters have when shooting quick-and-dirty shots for online use. Fortunately, you can use any photo editing program to fix these problems without a lot of fuss and bother, by adjusting the appropriate brightness, contrast, or levels controls.
  • Color and tint. The wrong lighting can also affect a picture’s white balance, resulting in oversaturated colors or off-tint hues. Use your photo editing program’s various color and tint/hue controls to achieve a more natural color balance.
  • Cropping. If you didn’t get close enough to your subject, or if you framed it incorrectly, you can correct the problem by cropping the picture in your photo editing program. Use the crop control to remove the unwanted edges and put your craft front and center in the frame, as shown in Figure 4.16.
    Figure 4.16

    Figure 4.16. Cropping a photo with Picasa.

  • Reducing image size. A high megapixel camera will create photos that are larger than necessary for online viewing. For example, an 8 megapixel image creates a 4” × 6” image that’s 2448 pixels high by 3264 pixels wide. You don’t need much more than 2000 pixels at the largest dimension, so you can use your photo editing software to resize the image and reduce the file size.

You can’t turn a lousy picture into a great one, but you can use a photo editing program to make a good picture look a little better. Every little bit helps; remember, you’re trying to put the best face on your crafts for potential customers to see.

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