Any Joe Can Be a Pro; Photo Editing Made Simple

Note: if you're not interested in the back-story concerning our latest encounter with army sillyness, skip to paragraph five. Otherwise, proceed as usual.

The Escape was packed. Four brand new tires were on. Travel snacks were bought. The fridge was cleaned out. Bottles were prepped. My hotel key card was turned in. Excitement was building. We were almost ready to wave goodbye to Hotel K (Knieram, Knox, our last name...whatever you'd like to call it) for a few days and take off for Georgia. I couldn't wait to spend a little time in the White Elephant and catch up with neighbors, friends, and the church family. And to enjoy some co-habitation with our very own dishwasher and laundry room. As in, a laundry room that's right across from Asher's nursery, not down a flight of stairs, outside, down a sidewalk, down another flight of stairs, and in a basement. Ah, the luxury!

We miss our White Elephant...
It wasn't just a vacation. Thane and the other commanders were tasked to participate in a big change-of-command ceremony at Fort Benning. (See Thane's ceremony here!) I had plans to stay for a few weeks, and was even in the middle of trying to coordinate a special visit from my mom. So you can imagine the surprise we felt upon learning that the trip had been canceled through a casual, chance conversation with another commander less than 24 hours before we planned to leave. Except nobody was going to tell us. Were it not for God's providence through that chance conversation, we would have driven eighteen hours (round-trip) for nothing. We're just a tad "chagrined", as Andrea (my beloved M.I.L) would put it. This was after weeks of debating and worrying over the usual complex strategizing that's necessary to navigate this army lifestyle.

To put it in a nutshell, there were lots of items that needed to be moved back to Georgia, with limited space in the vehicles, plus the baby and his need for some form of normalcy/as few long car rides as possible, and a wedding in NY the same weekend we were to be checking out of Hotel K. Anyway, long story short, I was planning on staying in Georgia for the next three weeks, until Thane drove down again to move the rest of our things and bring Asher and I back to Kentucky (to finish out one more week here) and then drive straight to New York (shew!) Complicated, right? And we spent weeks weighing the pros and cons of the various ways we could make it all work, and finally, painstakingly came to a decision. 

But praise God. As disappointing as it is to have missed out on our trip, plus all the wasted energy put into prepping for it, I'm thankful that the three of us will be together this next month. And it's a real life example of how we need to be more obedient to Mathew 6:24- "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." As well as Proverbs 27:1- "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." Obviously planning is important, and very necessary. But perhaps I tend to overdo it and need to wait for Christ's guidance a little more. Thank goodness for His patience with me.

Okay, I'm almost to the point of this post- promise! So, the decision to stay in Georgia for those three weeks without Thane was not only hard because of the fact that we'd be separated, but also because I'd be without my good buddy Photoshop. She and I go back. To college, that is, via my design classes. And we've developed quite the working relationship since then. Could I survive for three whole weeks not only without Thane, but also without photo editing abilities? (My laptop is on it's last leg chip, and the desktop was going to be staying in Kentucky). Well, I'd have to, for the sake of Asher's sanity/one less long car ride and life disruption for him. And that got me thinking- ah, the point, finally! Could I do my usual editing without Photoshop? Hmmmm. It's experiment time.

In comes Picnik. Ever used it? I have, from time to time, it's quite simple and user friendly. Not to mention totally free, and you don't even have to create an account! So I wondered, could I photo-edit-to-my-hearts-desire using nothing but Picnik, and still get the same results I get with Photoshop? In other words, can the average person with no background in design or photography "be their own pro" when it comes to this kind of thing? I won't keep you in suspense. Nor will I call for a drum roll. The answer is YES! And I'll prove it:

This is a photo of ours that I first edited in Photoshop (so that you have a basis for comparison).

Edited in Photoshop

So here we go...
1. Go to

2. Click "Get started now!" and upload a photo. The example I'm using is a very simple one.

Molokai, Hawaii- Taken from the little 6-seat puddle jumper we flew on.

3. Since my original photo is a little washed out, (not enough shadow, too much light), I clicked on the "Exposure" tab and made some adjustments. Since it's going to be black and white, we want a good amount of contrast so that the photo really pops. I decreased the Exposure by 10, and increased the Contrast by 10. But there's no formula, just play around with little sliders and just see what looks good! Notice that there's an "Auto-fix" you can use as well.

Exposure -10 / Contrast +10

4. Once you're done with the Exposure, click on the "Colors" tab. This first one was just for fun...

Just for fun- I clicked on the "Neutral Picker" and used the dropper to get neat color affects. Also increased the "Temperature".

To get the black and white look that I wanted, I simply decreased the "Saturation" slider to -100. And it's done!

5. Then I simply clicked on the "Save & Share" tab to save the file to my computer. The one catch to this great site (which I just realized) is that although you can save your edited photo to your computer, if you try to upload it or open it an another program, you'll lose the edits you made. So, to get around that for the sake of this blog, I just screen-printed the photo. (Ctrl+PrtScr, then Paste into Paint or another application.) But to get the real, quality photo, you'd have to order prints. Which I do plan on doing.

 So let's compare the original photo to the "before" and "afters" using Photoshop and Picnik...




Pretty good, right?! The Picnik version even looks a little better with the extra contrast. So there you go, you don't have to have Photoshop in order to do great photo-editing! But just in case you're thinking this black and white edit was too easy of an example, here's one with color:

Original Photo

1. Once again, I clicked on the "Exposure" tab and made some adjustments. The original was too dark, so I increased the Exposure by 10 and the Contrast by 20.

 2. It was still a little dingy, so I went over to the Color tab. I increased the Saturation by 10, and decreased the Temperature by 10.

So let's compare the original with the final result:


Another success, if you ask me! So, I will no longer fear being without my pal Photoshop. She's great and all, but not totally necessary for the kind of basic editing I like to do. So, if you haven't given the Picnik treatment to any of your photos, here's proof that it's a great tool.

I'll say it again- any Joe can be a Pro!

And I'm certainly no pro (just a dabbler with a little design background), but if you guys are having any trouble, maybe I could help! Really, don't hesitate to ask. I'd be thrilled to lend some tips or even do a little Photo-shopping for ya. For instance, here's little Atticus and his weekly photo project that I help with. Isn't he precious?!

Or maybe you can lend me some tips! Know of any other great sites like Picnik? Or of any good books on photography and editing for beginners? I've been wanting to take a class or get a good "how-to" book for years. I've barely scratched the surface on how to use our camera to its best potential. Same with Photoshop. I'm a jack of many trades, master of none.

Have a great week everyone!


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...