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Digital Photo Basics
  1. Pictures from Camera into Computer
  2. Getting Acquainted with Irfanview
  3. Basic Terms: View Size vs Print Size, etc.
  4. Virtually Free Photography - Naming Pics, Albums
  5. When Digital Camera Photos Can't Be Found
  6. Digital Photography for Not So Digital Seniors
   Crop, Resize, Align, Colors
  1. How to Crop and/or Resize a Photo
  2. Problem Enlarging Digital Pictures
  3. Understanding CYMK & RGB Colors
  4. How to Straighten (Rotate, Align) a Photo
  5. Darkrooms Replaced by Computers
  6. Be Your Own Photo Processing Studio
   Text in Pictures
  1. Adding Text to a Photo
  2. Text & Picture In a Word Text Box
   Displaying Your Pictures
  1. Printing Multiple Photos on a Single Page
  2. Displaying Your Photos as a Slideshow
  3. Printing Photo Thumbnail Sheets
  4. When Multiple Photos Don't All Fit on a Print-Out
  5. Print Yourself or Have Pics Processed Elsewhere?
   Online Images - Emailing Pics
  1. Reducing a Digital Photo's File Size
  2. Red X Instead of a Picture
  3. Reducing the File Size of a Video
  4. Print Yourself or Have Pics Processed Elsewhere?
  5. Copying Images from a Web Site or an Email
   Pic Formats - File Extensions
  1. Digital Picture Formats (JPG, BMP, GIF, TIF, etc)
  2. Difference Between "Drawing" & "Painting" Programs
  3. Digital Cameras & Megapixelss
  4. Choosing File Associations for Picture Files
  5. Understanding "Animated GIFs"
  6. Comparison of JPG and GIF Photographs

Email Icon Help with Email
  1. Moving Outlook Express DBX Files to a New PC
  2. Moving Email Address Book Names from one PC to Another
  3. Using BCCs (Blind Carbon Copies) to Protect Privacy
  4. Pictures, Attachments, Senders Blocked in Outlook Express
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Darkrooms Replaced by Computers

One of the main joys of digital photography is the ability to "touch up" one's pictures in all kinds of ways. What used to be done by darkroom and spray-gun specialists, is now done by PC users with programs like Adobe PhotoShop and Corel Paint Shop Pro. The former has always been the choice of graphics professionals, and costs about $600. PhotoShop Elements, a slimmed down version, cost about $100. I like Corel Paint Shop Pro, which costs about $80, and can be downloaded from www.corel.com.

There's no way I can describe all the touch-up tricks available in so many different programs, but I can give you a few tips to get you started enhancing your digital photos.

Simple Brightness and Contrast adjustments can fix over/under-exposed pictures with a few mouse clicks, while the Dodge and Burn tools can lighten or darken areas you select.

Clone, Smudge, Straighten & Lots More

The "clone" tool is one I use constantly. It lets you choose an area of a photo and then "clone" it onto another location. A facial blemish, for instance, can be hidden by simply cloning a clear spot over it. Or — visualize snapping a child at play on a park lawn just as a stranger walks into the shot. You can make the stranger disappear with cloned grass, trees, and sky. It's amazingly easy.

Another handy item is the "smudge" or "smear" tool. If, for instance, some of your cloned grass appears a little different than the area it was copied into, you can "smudge" dissimilar edges into a smooth, natural-looking blend.

An alternative means of cloning is to use a "selection" tool to outline an area in a photo, whereupon it can be copied and pasted into other locations with traditional Ctrl+C (copy) and Ctrl+V (paste) commands.

Choosing Ctrl+X (scissors) will cut the selected area out of the picture, leaving the "canvas" color showing through. This is handy if you want to, say, remove a distracting background from around someone's portrait, whereupon a "paint bucket" tool can be used to fill the cut-out area with a solid color or a texture of some kind.

All image-editors have tools for rotating mal-aligned pictures, but Corel PSP has a super-easy "Straightening" tool. After clicking the tool, you draw a straight line along, say, the edge of a building. Click on the line and the picture rotates to where the building is at a right angle to the horizon.

Built-In Instructions

How do you find these tools, along with details on how to use them? All of these programs come with extensive Help menus, including a Search box into which you can type the name of a tool, command, or effect you're seeking. Many also have built-in tutorials, with additional instructions being available online.

For serious students of image-editing, ROP and evening courses in Adobe PhotoShop can be found in many high schools and community colleges. But the average snapshot-taker can also become a formidable touch-up artist with a little practice.

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