Photoshopless Editing

I recently received an inquiry about my product photos. The person asked whether I took the pictures myself or if I had a professional take them.  What a compliment!  The answer is:  I take them myself.  And get this: I take them on my phone.  Yep.  My pictures are iPhone quality – not some expensive, jumbo lens camera that weighs more than me.

The trick, my friends, is all in the editing.  Here’s another bombshell for you.  I don’t use Photoshop.  I know there’s way cool stuff that can be done with Photoshop but, well… I’m cheap.

So what do I use?  Microsoft Word.

No, really.

It is so simple and gives me the look I want without the cost of software or a need for internet access.  Here’s a basic rundown of how I edit using Microsoft Word.  tip for this tutorial:  to see the images better, click on them to enlarge and use the back button to return to this tutorial.

Step 1:  Open Word, click on Insert, then Picture.  Select the picture that has been saved to your computer or flash drive and double click on it.

Step 2:  Click on the purple tab, Picture Tools.

Step 3:  Adjust the sharpness, brightness, and contrast by clicking on the Corrections button at the top left.  Play around with the options until you get a look you are happy with.  I have found that my selections vary from picture to picture.

Now, at this point, you may be perfectly happy with the image you have and can skip ahead to Step 9.

But, if you really want something a little more professional looking then it is time to Remove the Background.  We are still working in the Picture Tools toolbar.

Step 4:  Click on Remove Background to the far left.

Step 5:  A purple overlay will appear along with a box within a box.  Drag the lines of the inner box out as far as you need them.  You can see where I have moved them out around the clutches in the below picture.

I was pretty happy with how it looked and clicked on the Green Check Mark to save my changes.

But, I didn’t like that the crease of my backdrop showed between the two clutches, so I went back to make some custom changes in Background Removal.

Step 6:  Click on Mark Areas to Remove on the Background Removal toolbar and move your mouse over the area you want to remove.  Right click where you want to start removing, hold the mouse button and drag to where you want it to end, and release the button. You can see where I marked a line and it removed all of the negative space between the clutches.

Background removal tips:  If you have a photo that doesn’t have images with clean lines (like my clutches here), you will have to play around a lot more with the Mark Areas to Remove and Mark Areas To Keep buttons.  Just keep marking here and there until you get it just right. The photos I took of the Jars of Wishes took a little more effort to get the background looking right.  Just remember what they say; If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

Step 7:  NOW I’m happy and ready to save my picture.  Make sure you have the picture selected (you will know that you do because you can see the line and movement dots around the edge) and right click on your mouse.  Select Save as Picture…

A box will pop up and you need to select where you want the picture saved and click into that folder.  Give your image a name in the box titled, Image Name: and on the drop down just below that, select JPEG or .png and click Save.

And there it is.

Final thoughts:  You may have noticed that I didn’t cover picture cropping.  You can crop images using the picture toolbar however the cropping will not save when you are finished.  It will save the original size.  I don’t know why that is – but it is a source of great irritation for me.  I try to take my pictures with that in mind.  Now, if internet access isn’t a problem for you, then you can do all of this and SO MUCH MORE for free using PicMonkey.

Also, most phones have some editing capabilities and smartphones have a variety of editing applications that are free or have a minimal download fee.  My favorites are:  Instagram and Photo Editor+ (the latter was a $0.99 download).

Feel free to comment here if you have any questions or comments.  Also, be sure to sign up for updates from Red Rooster Farms via email in the right column and give us a like at Bantam at Red Rooster Farms on Facebook.

One final photo technique tip:  I use two pieces of white foam board as my backdrop.  I prop one up on something and lay the other on the floor or table at a 90* angle.  There are some super cool tutorials out there for making your own light box, but this is easy to use, easy to break down and store and really reflects natural light wonderfully.

HC

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About Dusty @ RRF

Dusty is co-owner and operator of Red Rooster Farms, LLC.
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One Response to Photoshopless Editing

  1. ytips says:

    Generally I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

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