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Photo Sharing Tips
Now that you have scores of images imported from your digital camera or scanner, it's time to share them with the world—or at least your family. OK, even if your photos only have an audience of one, you'll want to follow a few tips we've put together to optimize the experience.
1. Organize your photos
With new photo editing software, it's easier than ever to quickly view and organize your photos. And don't kid yourself—not every picture you took is worth keeping. If you have duplicate photos, keep the best ones and discard or backup the rest in separate folders. Storage space on the Internet and on your hard drive is limited. Besides, even Grandma will get tired of looking at what seems like the same picture over and over.
2. Archive your originals
I like to back up all of my original photos to a CD before I begin making any changes. More than once I have made a change to a photo then later decided that I really don't like the change, but my original is gone. Or, I've accidentally saved over the top of another image. Anything could happen. Play it safe and back up. You'd be surprised how many photos will fit on one CD. A tight little CD folder certainly beats all those sloppy shoe boxes of photos and negatives you've got stored in your attic.
If you've taken any sideways shots, make sure you rotate them back in your photo software. Nothing is more annoying than trying to look at a photo sideways.
4. Straighten up
Crooked pictures are a common problem if you scan your pictures into your computer. If you import pictures from a camera, chances are they are already in good shape but review them anyway. The brain knows something is not quite right if the horizon or the ocean is leaning to one side. Many photo editors have an automatic straightening feature. If yours doesn't, just rotate the image manually a few degrees at a time.
Often, what you thought was the perfect composition in your camera's viewfinder doesn't turn out quite the same on screen. Trim off the extra background so the composition is centered on the main subjects. In many photo editors, you simply draw a box around the image as you want it to appear and click the crop button.
6. Get rid of red-eye
Sometimes when you use a flash, the iris of the eye reflects the light back to the camera. This creates a red-eye effect making your subjects look like they're ready for a Halloween costume party. Almost all the products we reviewed for this website have an automatic red-eye remover.
7. Adjust lighting
You might notice some of your photos seem washed out or too dark. Many photo editors offer some sort of lighting control that allows you to adjust the brightness and contrast in your photo. The best software applications determine how much to correct the photo and apply the settings automatically. Keep a sharp eye on what you are doing—if you try to compensate too much your picture will start to appear grainy. You could also be washing out a lot of detail.
8. Optimize your photos for sharing
If you intend to share these photos online through a web gallery or through email, you will have to optimize them. This means you should resize and save the photos in a format that compresses the file size. For more information see our article: "What is Resolution?"
9. Give your photos easy file names
When you import your photos, they probably have names like "000001243.jpg". It's easier for you to remember and also for someone else to reference if you give each file a name that describes the picture. Keep them short, but try to make sense (e.g. bob-bday.jpg).
10. Have fun!
One of the greatest advantages of the digital age is that you have tools available to do at home what Hollywood paid millions to do just a decade ago. So be creative. Try effects, add borders, captions, text, merge photos, adjust colors. Just one word of caution-don't let your zeal for extra effects overshadow your actual photo. If there's one thing that shouts "amateur" it is a photo that is drowning in too many special effects.
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