All-In-One Photography Post

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(the photo above was edited with the free photo editing software, iPhoto)

In case any of you were curious, most of the photographs you see on the blog are completely unedited.  I occasionally dabble in Picasa or iPhoto depending on their original quality and might sharpen them up a bit, enhance the vibrancy, or add some creative touches, as seen in some of the photographs here and here.  But most of the time, what you see if what you get.

I’m in no way opposed to editing photographs, I just don’t have the software.  However, as an unfortunate result of my recent DSLR camera purchase, I now have the photo editing software bug.

Yep, it’s a disease.

The symptoms include repeatedly going to Adobe’s website to see if the prices have magically lowered, rationalizing how I can afford to get the software, and occasionally googling “free photoshop downloads” online.  To save people time, there are none.

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So, in the effort to remain a legal-abiding citizen, I decided to download a free 30-day trial of Adobe Lightroom (similar to Photoshop, but with some major differences, which you can read about here) instead.  If any of you are interested in potentially purchasing one of these pricier programs, this is a great way to test them out and see whether you are ready to invest in them.  Most of these programs require you shoot in RAW format to utilize the majority of their editing options for maximum quality.

I was impressed, to say the least.  Check out what I was able to do with a mediocre photo from my recent trip to Montana:

all-in-one-photography-post3(An overall mediocre unedited JPEG photograph from my recent trip to Montana)

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(Identical JPEG photograph edited using Adobe Lightroom 3 trial.  Click for full effect!)

Is there any one else, besides me, who is completely blown away by the difference between these identical photographs?!

The edited photo now has a focal point, added by darkening the edges, and is so much more vibrant and representative of the colors, shadows, and overall beauty of what I actually saw with my own eyes.  I have already starting noting and thinking up ways to save up the pennies required to buy this program.  Normally it costs a whopping $299, but with a student discount, you can get it for a more reasonable $99.

Ok, enough of my rantings, here’s the main point of this post:

Since I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, and personally love when I see this on other blogs, I thought it would be fun and useful to put together a list of great photography related resources. These are sites (with links!) I’ve visited or used frequently since I purchased my camera and started dabbling in photography.

Hope they’re as helpful to you, as they continue to be to me!

all-in-one-photography-post5(edited using the free Mac software iPhoto)

FREE Photo Editing Software: 

    • Picasa 3 (Mac)
    • Picnik (Mac, PC, Linux–online program, no download required)
    • iPhoto (version available on Macs)
    • Gimp (free version of Photoshop, I used it to create my blog header, as well to scale images on a regular basis)
    • Microsoft Live Photo Gallery

Photography Tips & Tricks:

    • David Lebovitz (equipment, tips, and advice)
    • Food & Wine (9 basic tips for food photography)
    • White on Rice Couple (helpful and easy to understand explanations on exposure, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and WB)
    • Smitten Kitchen (overview of food photography tips from self-taught photographers!)
    • Vegan Yum Yum (for the serious food photography enthusiasts)
    • 101 Cookbooks (not in depth, but a good overview of her techniques)
    • Wright Food (in depth overview of everything you need to know)
    • Lara Ferroni (blog dedicated to photography)
    • Pioneer Woman (general tips, as well as Photoshop action downloads)
    • Learn Food Photography (Are the colors off in your photographs?  Read this post)
    • Your camera manual or if you prefer to watch as you learn, check out these DVDs!

More Visual Inspiration

There are tons more, but those are just a few to check out, if you haven’t had the chance already.  I apologize in advance for the amount of time you may lose looking through these websites.  Even if you aren’t personally interested in photography, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy them anyway!

Some of you may have literally been to each and every one of the websites or links shown above, in which case, I hope I’ve provided you with a fun and easy way to find an organized list of some of your favorite websites and/or resources.   I’ll be posting the link to this post on my Pho-tography page for future reference!  Hopefully I can add my own trial and error tips at some point as well!

Ok, enough of my rantings, now it’s your turn:

Pssst… I have absolutely no clue if this post just sounded appealing in my head (it’s often that way), was actually helpful, or at least somewhat interesting to read, so I would love to know which side of the fence you’re on.  And don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings 😉