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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> I want to submit more!!
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04/29/2003 04:18:49 PM · #1
But I'm a newbie with lots of questions. I have a Canon G2 which is a WONDERFUL camera but I'd like to learn more and hope that submitting to some challenges will help me to that end. At the risk of getting too many responses (or none) due to the amount of questions I have here they are:

I have Photoshop Pro v7 but find it is SO complex. Is there a recommended sw that is a bit more user friendly.. or perhaps a good website with tutorials to learn. I have a nice shareware program called Irfanview (//irfanview.tuwien.ac.at/)that I've just started to learn for editing. Does anyone else use this s/w? Should I stick with a program that is more geared to digital photography.

If I want to submit to DP challenges, is there a preferred setting on my camera wrt resolution or picture size? I just submitted my first photo in the Fauna challenge and it took me a long time to go through resizing it in order to fit in the max/min boundaries that are in the rules. I'm hoping someone with a G2 might be able to give me some guidelines.

And lastly (for now)... My G2 doesn't seem to get a sharp focus when I'm in macro mode. I've tried zooming in and out but the results are not a sharp as they should be when I download and view on the computer (not magnifying THAT much)

So there you are... any help out there that would be willing to spend a moment replying? I'd love to hear from you.


Message edited by author 2003-04-29 17:10:33.
04/29/2003 04:55:21 PM · #2
<whisper> Mostly voting is anonymous until it's over. </whisper>
04/29/2003 05:06:10 PM · #3
Carlos, quickly remove your image name before your submission get's pulled. It must stay anonymous until the end...

Use Photoshop (PS). Suffer with it for a while and learn it. Take a course or read a good book on it. There are many. PS is the sw to learn IMO.

Shoot as big as you can and downsize your image in PS. Reducing the image will help retain minute detail.

As far as macro on the G2 I have no idea. A g2 operator could answer that better.

04/29/2003 05:09:20 PM · #4

I've removed the title of your submission from your post. To be fair to all entrants, please do not publically reveal your submission until after voting is over.

04/29/2003 05:13:52 PM · #5
Thanks Terry.. my first post and I already screwed up. How embarassing! sorry about that.

back to the thread. Is Photoshop Elements a better way to go, ie. less difficult to learn and covers MOST of all I would need?

04/29/2003 05:23:06 PM · #6
I was a big fan of PaintShop Pro until I got onto this site. Since then I've learned a great deal about using PhotoShop. The best thing to do is take an image, save it to a backup file name (NEVER work on the original) and play with the different filters and effects so that you get an idea of what it can do. It's pretty complex, but it's not too hard to see the results when you apply different effects.

PhotoShop also preserves the EXIF data recorded by your camera when you take the shot (aperture, shutter speed, etc.). This can be handy and you will need it if your shot is called into question during the challenges. Without that data, you'll have to go back to the original shot to get it. Many of the shareware or even pro software (including PaintShop Pro) will strip the EXIF data away when you save with it.

On the privacy thing:

One thing that got me when I entered my first challenge is the gallery selections on the submissions page. I unkowingly revealed my image by choosing two galleries. I quickly saw my photo out there and realized something was wrong.

Hope this helps you.

04/29/2003 05:23:50 PM · #7
Carlos: My two cents' worth:

I use PaintShopPro which I think is as good as PS and I find easier to use (but that may well be because I am used to it).

As davenit says, shoot as large format as your camera allows; this greatly improves the available resolution. As you become more familiar with the camera, try to frame the final image you want in the camera. That will reduce the amount you need to crop. Take the time to learn the best ways to resize; I think there is a tutorial here somewhere.

04/29/2003 05:37:49 PM · #8
I was completely overwhelmed when I first used Photoshop, esp in regards to 'improving' photographs. Curves, levels, channel mixer, histogrames, and who knew there were half a dozen or more ways to sharpen an image! I still don't know even half of it all. It's impossible to learn it all at once, and like everything else, you learn a little here, a little there, and you improve with practice.

There are numerous websites out there with tutorials on photoshop, and not just the graphics side of it too. Doing a search for 'photoshop tutorials' on google.com should help. There are also several books out there on the subject. I found 'Photoshop 7: a Photographer's Guide' to be good. Although it's somewhat pricy (it IS a huge book, tho) I found I could get it from the local library, which helped when there are a vast number of books on the market and you're not sure which one is the best to invest in.
04/29/2003 05:38:24 PM · #9
First learn how to use your camera. Learn exposure, depth of field, focus, how aperature and shutter speed affect a photo. Learn the controls on your camera, what they do and when to use them.

Read the camera manual and experiment a lot. I got my first digital camera in September of last year and I've taken around 6000 photos and I'm still learning how to use it. Start out taking outdoor photos before 10am and after 4 or 5 pm when the light is better for most shots. Try to master outdoor photos first in natural light.

Once you become more familiar with your camera you can then try indoor shots or macros, but concentrate on one area at a time because they involve different things to think about.

In composing an image, always consider your background. Also, have a point of focus, something that is the subject of the photograph, and little else to distract from it. Keep it simple. You can't point and shoot, you have to think it through.

Once you have the camera somewhat understood then try some software. Paint Shop Pro is easier to use than Photoshop and I think it's only $99 USD. It's a way to start out editing then later on go to Photoshop. You could also try GIMP which I think is a free download.
Again, you just have to try a few things like selection, cropping, resizing, levels, color saturation and balance, contrast/brightness, and sharpening to start. Good luck!

04/29/2003 06:16:05 PM · #10
If you already have Photoshop you may as well learn that. You only need to learn a few things to start with, mainly cropping/resampling/rotating the image, basic tone/contrast/color adjustment, and sharpening. DPC Tutorials cover most of these...the manuals/books should cover the rest. If you check the Tutorials, you will see what subjects are most important to your participation here.

The major limitation of PS Elements is that it lacks the Curves function, arguably the most powerful of the image-adjustment tools and definitely my favorite. Ive never used PaintShopPro, but it has a good reputation among users here. IrfanView is excellent as a quick viewer, and I use it for straight resampling or format changes as it launches in about 2 seconds. I don't use it for image adjustment though...
04/29/2003 07:09:45 PM · #11
Hey, just want to say thanks to all of the respondants. What a great website and community! Looking forward to learning more from ya'll.

04/29/2003 07:09:54 PM · #12
I tend to agree with the others - use Photoshop if possible. Below I have suggested a very simple workflow to get your image from camera to dpchallenge:

1) Open the image in photoshop
2) Look at any horizon line in your image - if the image needs to be rotated then do this first. Later on you can learn quick ways to do this.
3) Drag a selection over the portion of the image you want to use - this is known as cropping. After making your selection choose crop from the menus.
4) Use the image size tool to resize the image you want down to the required size for submitting (not more than 640 in either dimension).
5) Save the image as a JPG and fiddle with the quality setting to get a file that shows up as 150kb or less in explorer.

That's a bare minimum workflow - once you are comfortable with this people will gladly share other techniques. The next two things you will want to play with are "levels" (or perhaps "curves") and sharpening (probably the "unsharp mask" filter). There are tutorials on this site that talk about sharpening, etc.

As long as you keep it simple then you can ignore the other billion things that Photoshop can do until you have the basics sorted out. Good luck, and never be afraid to ask specific questions here - people love sharing their knowledge.
05/03/2003 04:43:06 PM · #13
I use PaintShopPro to edit my photos.It's more user friendly and
just as good as Photoshop.
05/03/2003 07:16:37 PM · #14
Photoshop can be complex, but you can also use just the more simple features. I started just playing around with some of the features. The most helpful to you would probably be the Crop tool (which is on the tool pallette), Brightness/Contrast, Hue-Saturation, Unsharp Mask, and Image Size.

Other things like Levels and Curves are just fancier and more precise tools that deal with brightness and contrast, and the Color tools are just fancier and more precise tools that deal with color. You can't use many of the filters for most challenges, so just explore and have fun!

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