Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Giving your Ugly Sister photos the Cinderella treatment

You don't have to be a rocket surgeon to figure out that a blog post with an image is universally more appealing to readers than one that's just text. Photos, cartoons or funky graphics catch the eye and (hopefully) make people want to read the fascinating words that go along with them. But what do you do when your photos just aren't that good? 

I'm often amazed by the talent other bloggers display in their photography. Some have studied the subject and have obviously spent years developing technical expertise. Others always, ALWAYS have their camera with them, so they never miss that perfect blog photo opportunity - and even if the quality isn't brilliant, sometimes an outstanding subject can compensate. Some just seem to have an eye for the perfect composition. All of which has tended to generate feelings of inadequacy when it comes to my own pretty ordinary photographic skills. 

But I'm not allowing that to be an excuse any more. There are heaps of free tools available that can make even a novice look pretty good. Picnik is one such tool, and it's brilliant for giving an ordinary photo a bit of pizazz. Of course, you want the original to be in focus and preferably not horribly under- or over-exposed, but most other defects can be fixed and/or some fun effects added to enhance your run-of-the-mill pics.

So, for instance, you can take a crappy shot like this (badly composed and pretty uninteresting):

Quickly upload it to Piknik, crop out all the unwanted background clutter, then resize if you like. So you end up with a shot like this:

Still not a great photo, but way better than the original, and it might be fine for the purposes of your post. If you want a little more Wow factor, you can apply an effect with a single mouse click. Like these:

And this simple collage was banged out in about 30 seconds flat, using Photovisi. I just selected photos from my hard drive and dropped them into place in the ready-made template of my choice:

I've used four different Piknik effects on these, too. There are heaps of other effects; those are just a small sample.

The best thing about Piknik and a lot of other sites is that you don't have to sign up, create an account, log in or anything else tedious. Just click "upload a photo", make whatever changes you like, and then save it back to your hard drive. I know I'm grateful for one less login and password to remember...

If you think you're a lousy photographer, this is definitely worth a go.



Katrina said...

I am BIG picnik fan! I do use it lots. It's easy and everyone can use it. x

Kek said...

I think it's one of the better ones, Katrina. Fast and easy, just how I like it!

The House That A-M Built said...

Oh dear, even that badly composed one is better than my crappy iPhone ones. I must give the picnik thingy a go! A-M xx

Kek said...

A-M, your photos aren't that bad. But Picnik is easy...and fun! :)

Anonymous said...

NICE shots Kek!!! Quite the talent aren't ya!!! xo

Kek said...

Naww Fernie, it's really the camera and the fancy-schmancy editing software.

You know what though? You should do a photography workshop before bubba's born. Photographing babies is fun! Can't count the hours I spent on the floor, getting shots of my little rugrats. They change so quickly, it's amazing.

Unknown said...

Hi Miss K

thank you for dropping by me again today and your comment.

so sorry that we didn't get to meet in Melbourne - it is an amazing thing in life that we could be in the same room and not brush shoulders :)

love your post on the photos - i'm big into it - and yes - I love my picnik.
I've been using it for a while now and (have upgraded to the premium pack).
it is amazing isn't it.
I actually have the full version of photoshop but just haven't loaded it as the picnik is so simple - the photoshop cost me a fortune...

take care and have a great day tomorrow

loulou, from hereiamloulou blog


Kek said...

Loulou, I had Photoshop for years, but I was only ever a novice at it. It's definitely a professional tool - great results, but you really need to do some study and work through some tutorials to get the most out of it.

I don't have the luxury of that amount of time at the moment, so these kind of quick-fix tools suit me to a tee. :)

Post a comment

Join the conversation...leave a comment.