Before and After: Cropping, Brightening and Contrast

This week, we'll talk about making your *Almost Great* Before photos into your *Absolutely Great* After photos!

Let's start with this photo of one of my hand-stitched felt business card holders:
There isn't a lot wrong with this photo - but it can be better!

First, we'll crop it really close - and I mean REALLY close - 
for dramatic effect and detail capture:

Nice and close-up - but still a little dark. 

Using Photoshop, we'll add a "brightness and contrast" adjustment layer to the photo.
Brightening and upping the Contrast nets us this:

Ahhh! Much better!
It will take some trial and error to find just the right balance of light and dark, but luckily, all of the programs out there come with an "undo" button! 

Let's compare the Before and After:


My advice:  Be bold, be brave and make it just a little brighter than you think it should be just to see what it looks like - then compare it to the original photo. You might be surprised at how dark your original photo looks in comparison!

Tip: When you open your original photo, immediately "Save As..." a new photo in your computer's photo folder. Then, when you are fiddling with the adjustments you will be assured that if you end up going much too far in any direction you'll always be able to start over from scratch! 

Bonus Tip:
In addition to a great close-up photo, experiment with taking a detail photo to show the depth and detail of your work like this:

I just love detail shots...don't you?

5 Response to "Before and After: Cropping, Brightening and Contrast"

Roberta said...

This is just what I needed today! I take so many bad shots of my bead work. I always thought it was cheating but whatever it takes to get that photo to improve!

Haute Goat Reclaimed Cashmere said...

wow, what a huge difference! I ♥ your detail shot - I need to think about doing more of those. I always have a problem going a set beyond what I think it should be - but when you do the comparison, it makes sense. Thanks.

IMakeCuteStuff (aka Marlo M.) said...

Roberta: The only time it's "cheating" is if you alter the actual item in your photo to make it look like something it isn't. Anything that improves the photo to show the work to the customer is great! :)

Janie said...

Thanks for the photo help!

Jeanie said...

Wow, I love the difference between the before and after photo. Seeing this is encouraging. Shall keep trying to improve. Thanks.

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