Editing Photos and Adding Footers

For our second tutorial four of our Creative Team take us through their photo editing process...

Editing Photos & Adding Footers

Emma:  I don't use Photoshop or anything like that for editing, I like to keep it quick and simple. I use the editing functions built into Photos on the iPhone. 

Step 1: I crop the photo right to the edges of the layout. This is where you find out how flat you had your phone when taking the photo. If you were at a bit of an angle then you probably won’t get totally flush to the edge of your page. But that’s where shooting on a white background comes in! Yay! 

Step 2: This is where I edit the photo to get the nice bright look that I like. It’s also where it’s not very precise and usually I play around with it until it looks right to me. First things first (never understood that expression, it’s not like you’d do first things second!), I usually up the exposure just a touch. Then, I’ll up the brightness slightly - not too much, it can end up glaring out your photo if you go too far. 

Sometimes, depending on how good my light was when I was taking the photo, I’ll also play around with the highlights, shadows and contrast. But like I said, that’s usually quite intuitive and just until I get what I’m after. 

Step 3: My last step is to adjust the Colour Saturation. I don’t usually take this too far as I don’t want to distort the colours of the papers or products that I’ve used. You don’t want it to look dissimilar to your physical layout; you just want to make those colours pop!

Laura:  I edit and add my footers in PicMonkey.com It is a free to use website and you do not need an account (it may tell you do but you really don’t!)

Open pic monkey in your web browser.  If you wave your mouse at the top of the page a menu drops down.  Click ‘edit’ and navigate to the photo you want to edit.  You needn’t stray away from the basic edits tab.  Crop, exposure and colour are my frequently used.  I wish I could tell you the secrets but I tend to play with the slider levels and go with what looks best.  You can also rotate/straighten your photo if your layout isn’t lying square.

I then move on to the overlays tab which is illustrated by a butterfly.  Click on ‘add your own’ and navigate to where your footer is saved.  When you open it it will plonk it right in the middle of your layout.  Click on it and drag it to the bottom of the page.  Grab the corner and drag it to the correct size.  Then you’ll need to save your photo – that’s it.

Pol: I'm going to tell you how I edit my photos in Photoshop Elements for Windows in order to resize them and add a footer - that's the little design team bar at the bottom of a layout.

Once you then open Photoshop you'll notice there are 3 options at the top of the page - Quick, Guided, and Expert. I choose the Expert option and open my photo. First of all I'm going to resize my photo in order to make it a reasonable size to fit on blog posts. To do this I click on 'Image' on the top toolbar, then choose' resize', then 'image size'. A box will pop up with the image dimensions and I click on the top option which is 'pixel dimensions'. I change the width to 800 pixels, and click 'ok', and the height will automatically change itself to 800 to match.

I then click on 'Image' in the top toolbar again, choose 'resize' again, but then choose 'canvas size'. I then add 7cm to the canvas height, and input the new size, for example, if the canvas height is 28cm, I change this to 35cm. This gives enough extra blank space to add my design team footer. 

Back on the main screen again, this is where the footer now comes in. I open the footer from my computer files, and you will see there are now 2 tabs open on your screen. Click on the tab for the footer image. You'll see a toolbar down the left hand side of the screen with paintbrushes, pencils, erasers, etc. Chose the top left hand image which looks like the 4 points of a compass - this is the 'move' tool. 

Now, holding down the 'control' key on your keyboard, press the A key. This selects the footer and you'll see a dashed line around the image. Still holding down the 'control' key, then press the C key. This copies the image. 

Now click on the tab at the top to open your layout photo. Once this has opened, hold down the 'control' key again and press the V key. This pastes your footer slap bang in the middle of your layout photo. Zoom in so you can see the little circle right in the centre of your footer. Using your mouse tool, which will be an arrow at this point, drag the footer down to the blank white space at the bottom of your layout. Line your footer up till you're happy with its position.

I'm then going to use the 'crop' tool on the left hand toolbar - this is second to bottom on the left column. I then use the crop tool by clicking and dragging on my photo to crop off the blank white space that is left at the top and bottom of my layout.
I now need to 'flatten' my photo, which simply merges my layout and the footer I've added. On the top toolbar I choose 'layer', and at the very bottom of the list I choose the 'flatten image' option. I then save my edited photo to my computer.

SciFi Scrapper:  Please note I use Windows Photoshop CC, though the steps should be similar using a MAC or Photoshop Elements.

The first thing I always do when editing my photos in Photoshop is check to make sure the perspective doesn’t need correcting. It can be quite hard to get your layout perfectly in frame, with the camera perfectly straight. Often you’ll find the bottom of your layout looks slightly bigger than the top, the right slightly bigger than the left etc.  This can be corrected in Photoshop. Under Filter > Lens Correction. There is an auto-correction option you can use, to make your layout straight if it’s crooked. There’s an icon on the left hand side (that looks a little like a suitcase). You just need to click on one end of your layout and then again at the other corner and the layout will straighten up.

If correcting the perspective needs more work though, click on the custom tab. There are a couple of options you can use. The first is Geometric Distortion. This is used when your layout appears to be ‘pinched in’ towards the middle, or rounded out from the centre. You can slide the ruler to correct this. Normally it you just need to adjust it one or two places.
For layouts where one side is bigger than the other, use the Vertical/Horizontal Perspective in the Transform section. Using the slider, you can correct your image so that all sides are the same size, rather than distorted. Keep in mind when you use this tool it may crop the image. If you think you’ll need to use this option, make sure to keep some space around your layout when photographing.

After lens correction (if needed) I crop my image. You can use the crop tool to do this, dragging the cursor to select the area you want to remain and then confirming. You can also use the selection tool to highlight the area you want to keep and then selecting Image > Crop from the menu.

When it comes to the colour of your layout, you can use the Auto Tone/Colour/Contrast which often work well, but aren’t always perfect. Another easy option is to play with the levels (found on the Adjustments panel).

If you click on the Levels button, you will see a histogram (a graph that looks a bit like mountains). This shows you the current tonal range of the image and allows you to adjust it. By default it’ll show you the RGB range, which is normally all you’ll need to adjust. However there is a drop down to let you adjust the individual red/green/blue ranges as well if you need to bring forward or reduce a single colour more than the RGB graph will allow.

Below the graph are three sliders. These control the shadows, midtones and highlights. Adjusting these can make a flat image pop and add extra depth.

While each image will need to be adjusted slightly differently, but you can normally use the same set of rules and then adjust as needed. The shadows slider (left hand side) will make the layout darker, so moving it to the right slightly will help a layout not look as washed out if it’s been overexposed. Doing the same with the highlights slider (right hand side) will lighten the layout up if it’s too dark. The middle slider controls the mid-tones. I find I normally end up sliding this to the left a little (normally to the nearest ‘peak’). This will help bring all the other colours out and help the layout pop and look less flat.
There are a lot of good tutorials about using levels on YouTube, and they’re worth checking out if you want a little more information.

Those three steps are normally enough to make your image look the best it can be, though of course there are other more advanced options that can be used in these programs too.
To add a footer in Photoshop follow these steps.

If you have saved your footer image from Facebook the image should be 2074 pixels wide, by 125 pixels high. These steps are based on that. Adjust them as needed if your image sizes differ.

1. Resize (reduce) your layout photograph so it is also 2074 pixels wide. From the menu go to Image > Image Size. Enter your new width, and make sure you select pixels from the drop down next to it. When you enter your width, the height should automatically change too so your original ratio is retained. Press OK.

2. Go to Image > Canvas Size. Leave the width as 2074 but increase the height by 125 (again make sure pixels are selected). Below these fields is an Anchor box. Click the top centre square, which should make all the arrows point downwards. Press OK. This will add 125 pixels of empty space to the bottom of the image.

3. Depending on how you have set Photoshop up, either copy and paste the footer image, or drag it from one window to the other and position in at the bottom of your layout. Because the blank space you added is the same size as the footer, it should fill it totally.
4. Save the image.

NOTE: For step 1, if your layout photo is smaller than 2074 pixels, reduce the footer instead to match your layout width instead. Then when on step 2, increase by whatever the footer height is now, rather than it’s original height of 125 pixels.

Pol:  This all sounds very complicated at first, but I promise you that once you've done this process a few times it will become second nature, and you'll just do it on autopilot! If I can do it, anyone can!

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