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Backpacker Magazine – June 2008

The Cutting Room: Photos

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

by: Evelyn Spence, Jason Stevenson, Kris Wagner

GPS | Photos | Video | Software and Storage

Trust us, your camera's proprietary software stinks. Download Picasa (see "Software and Storage,") to arrange photos by trip and date, add keywords, and write captions. Use the Batch Edit tool to rename hundreds of images in seconds, and Export to shrink them for web albums and slideshows.

5 Easy Photo Fixes
  • Kill clutter Remove distracting branches, shadows, and dead space with the Cropping tool.
  • Clean up The Sharpen tool makes blurry figures, objects, or backgrounds better defined.
  • Create depth Boost highlights and deepen shadows with one-click Auto Contrast.
  • Remove hotspots Soften harsh sunlight on faces by adjusting color levels and saturation.
  • Undo redeye Instead of adjusting pixels, use the Auto-fix tool to eliminate devilish stares.
6 Expert Tricks
  • Clone Copy and paste more sky or trees to enhance or expand a background, or to cover up digital noise (Colored dots that appear in digital images when shooting high ISOs and long exposures in low-light conditions).
  • Lasso Select part of an image (like a bear) to move it within a photo or between two different photos.
  • Blend Smooth edges on transplanted lassoed objects.
  • Saturate color Deepen canyon reds and bring out sunset pinks.
  • Add text Create titles for slideshows or credits for movies. Straighten Correct off-kilter horizons with the rotation tool by shifting the image one degree at a time.
Size Your Images Correctly
Quality Pixels Size Display
Low 640x420 <200k Web
Medium 1024x800 1-2MB Slideshow
High 2048x1600 2-3MB 5x7 print
Best Max >5MB Poster

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