Photoshop and Image Calibration:

Unless you are a professional photographer with loads of gear, your digital photographs can always benefit from some light Photoshop touch-ups. If you do not have Photoshop other photo manipulation programs will work. This guide will be written with the assumption that you have access to Photoshop.

Where to Start:

First, import your images onto your computer. Then, open the images in Photoshop. Assuming you had taken a number of images select the best pictures of each piece and close the rest. What you are looking for is images that are in focus, without distortion, and good lighting.

Next, find the “image” tab in your tool bar and use the “auto tone” function (older versions of Photoshop will have this labeled “auto levels”). This function will balance out the light and dark ranges in the image and usually removes yellow tinting. You may also perform to manually adjust your tones or levels, but you can quickly run into visual complications if you don’t understand how the tool works.

Finer Adjustments:

In the same tool bar you can find ways to adjust finer elements such as exposure, brightness/contrast and colour. This step may not be necessary for each photograph. The best way to determine if your image needs further adjustments is by comparing your original artwork to the Photoshop file.

If you find there is a great difference between the photo and the actual work than you will want to determine what is wrong with the photo. If it is an issue with the contrast of the image you may want to go to “image”, “adjustments”, “curves”. This tool will bring up a histogram of your picture. Adjusting this channel will alter the overall image to be slightly darker or lighter in the specified range. With the “curves” tool, adjustments are made by bending the diagonal line up, down or adding new pivot points along the line. The trick is usually a very subtle ‘S’ curve. Reference your original artwork and make adjustments to best imitate reality. If the image is suffering from a colour issue than you should select the “colour balance” tool from the “image”, “adjustments” menu. Select, shadows, midtones, or highlights and adjust the sliders appropriately until you correct any colour issues.

Once you have the image looking the same as the work select the “crop tool” from the side tool bar. Crop the image to the inside edges of your artwork. You want to preserve as much of the artwork as possible; yet, you do not want to have a background boarder around the work. Never drastically crop out sections of the image unless you are required to submit detail images.

Always Remember:

Your digital photograph should now be a good representation of the original artwork. Again I cannot stress how important it is to avoid extreme adjustments, alterations, or radical cropping and above everything else do not use any filters. The point of a digital portfolio is to replicate original artwork as accurately as possible. Always reference the original image rather than adjusting to your eye’s aesthetic. When referencing artwork try to do so in natural sunlight or under white florescent bulbs.

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