Image-editing software is not a replacement for a good photographer. However, it can provide some effects that in the past were attained only when a photographer employed certain techniques.
Some edge software controls can turn a photo into an interesting line drawing.
These effects were once hard to achieve in the traditional darkroom, but with digital photography they are easy.
Duotones: Duotones are created in a traditional darkroom by tinting a black-and-white photograph. The gray area in the photo turns a particular tint, such as sepia, while black stays black and white remains white.
Inverting: The Invert command lets you instantly turn a positive image into a negative image or vice versa.
Lithographic effects: Lithographic film produces extremely high-contrast photographs, reducing monochromatic images to pure black and white. Now, instead of creating these results in the darkroom, you can use an image editor to readily produce dramatic images of high contrast.
Masking: The masking tool preserves areas of an image in the same way a drop cloth protects your furniture while you're painting a room. Masking permits you to apply an effect to one specific part of an image or to vary the strength of an effect within an image.
Posterization: In a traditional darkroom, a posterized image was created by replacing shading and gradations of tone with marked changes in color. It was accomplished through an elaborate process using multiple negatives printed at varied exposures and contrasts. In today's digital darkroom, the same color changes occur, only now the process is effortless and the degree of color change can be carefully controlled by the photographer.
Reticulation: When processing 35 mm film incorrectly, an effect called reticulation sometimes occurs. Reticulation results in a photo that appears very grainy. Using an image editor, you can deliberately achieve a similar effect with your digital images.
Retouching: With an image editor, you can retouch any digital image using a variety of tools and techniques. Retouching allows you to remove dust, scratches, and blemishes, and it is a common feature of image-editing software programs.
Solarization: In the traditional darkroom, solarization is the term used to describe the reversed tones of a photographic image that result from prolonged exposure to an extremely bright light. What once took hours of experimentation in the darkroom to produce can now be created in an image-editing software program.
Edge detection: Program tries to detect and outline edges.
Hand coloring: Before the introduction of color film, hand coloring was a popular way to add color to a black-and-white print. Today, modern image-editing software allows you to “hand color” your photo using painting tools.
Solarization: The term used to describe the reversed tones of a photographic image. Sabbatier discovered in the nineteenth century that some tones would reverse on previously exposed photosensitive materials that were exposed again to a bright light for a brief period.
Solarization can give photographic imagery a graphic effect.
A photographer manipulates the shutter speed and aperture while shooting in order to create a desired effect in a photograph. Sometimes he will deliberately produce a blurry image to suggest a particular mood. Other times, he will choose to have a photo sharply focused. You can get similar results using your image editor. For instance, you can decide to blur the whole image or just a specific area of it.
Software programs offer different types of blur, including random, which creates a general fuzziness, and motion, which is similar to the effect achieved when panning a camera. You can also specify the degree to which you want the image blurred.
The problem of converging verticals frequently happens when the photographer uses a wide-angle lens and looks up to shoot a building. In the resulting photo, it looks as if the building is tipping backward. With a film camera, there is no easy fix for this problem. But digital image editors can do the job in short order. To fix the problem of converging verticals, the top of the original image is stretched until all vertical lines appear upright, then the image is cropped to fit inside a rectangle. There are other minor adjustments that might need to be made, but they can be accomplished quite quickly. By correcting converging verticals, you'll be left with a more realistic image of a building — one that is firmly planted on the ground.
Haven't you ever wished you could take the best parts of two (or more) pictures and merge them? Now you can. Simply use your editing program to copy the element you want to use as a substitute and save it at the same resolution as the base image you're using. Shape it to fit, place it into position, then blend it so that it appears as if it had always been there.
Combining images works well with pictures of people. For instance, let's say you want to capture a picture of your friend, Maria, talking with her son, Joseph. You've got one shot where Maria looks great, but Joseph has his eyes closed. In the second photo Joseph has a sunny smile, but Maria is looking away from the camera. Simply take the smiling Joseph and add it to the shot where Maria is facing the camera, and you've got a winning photo.