Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Art of Photo Editing

I've been thinking a lot lately about post processing and what it means to a photographer. For me,  editing in post is half the fun, and by working at Picnik I've become something of an expert in it. I believe that post processing is an art in itself and it's one of the great advantages of the digital era. A lot of people ask me about the way I edit my photos, and how I do it, so today I'll share it with all of you in a few easy steps.

Now like I said before I work at Picnik and because of that I always use Picnik, no exceptions... so this will be more of a Picnik lesson than anything else. If you don't know what Picnik is, its an online photo editor. It works right inside your browser so that you can access it any time, any where. The premium features cost a little money, but its well worth it.. the best thing is that tons of the features can be used completely free of cost.

1. First I always access Picnik directly at going through Flickr or other sites is fine, but doesn't give you all the full advantages of using the app directly. Upload the photo you want to edit and apply the essential edits first. Im a big fan of the straighten tool (hate a crooked horizon), the exposure tools (may be up the contrast slightly) and the crop. Choosing an interesting crop is key when editing your image. Some like a square crop others like to keep the photo ratio, at any rate cropping a photo can take it to the next level.

2. Once your image is cropped, straightened, and all that boring stuff, use the Clone tool to clone anything out that just doesn't work in the image, or that seems to be too distracting from the subject. Cloning is an art in itself, so if you aren't a master at first, don't worry, it takes time and patients to master that tool.

3. Now its time to add some effects. Im a big lover of the vintage processing effects, like cross process, polariod, velvia, etc. combining effects like these can create really unique and wonderful treatments.

4. As many of you know, or can see... Im a big texture fan. Picnik makes adding textures pretty easy (as long as you are a premium member). While you're editing your photo click on the photo basket at the bottom of the page. If you don't already have a texture layer uploaded, click "upload photo" and upload one from your computer. You can get some great free textures from Les Brumes or Dubtastic on Flickr Drag your texture onto your existing photo, stretch it by holding the shift key and dragging the box to fit. Then use the advanced blend modes to blend your texture just right. My friend Brenda has a great tutorial on how this can be done Here

5. Finally, you may want to add a watermark.. This is really easy to do, just click on the text section in the Create tab on Picnik and add your copyright, then use the advanced blend modes to create the perfect watermark (I usually choose the overlay blend mode).

Here are some before and afters (that follow these steps) Enjoy and may all your photos be perfectly edited from now on :)


  1. I have just recently started using picnik and have been debating on going premium -- your photos have convinced me : )

  2. yay! thats so cool :) you'll love premium!

  3. Love this tutorial! I love picnik because it's online and have edited some of my photos there but I had no idea you could do so much with it!
    I love this shot and I love love LOVE your blog header!! The shot of the blackberries just rocks. I did a whole slew of photography of blackberries a couple weeks ago and posted some on my blog and a bunch on my flickr site.
    I will be featuring your blog on my Friday Favorites post for sure!

  4. awesome Faith, such a compliment, it means so much to me, and the blog header (all picnik) :) thanks again and now i shall check out your blog and these fabulous blackberries you speak of! cheers!

  5. awesome chelsea! great tips on using picnik, i love picnik!!!! it's so much fun to use and great alternative to something like photoshop

  6. oh and just so you know... i keep telling people who don't have photoshop or who are too afraid to use photoshop that they should really use picnik. like my friend eric loves taking pictures but he doesn't have any photo editing software so i told him to check out picnik because it's so simple you don't have to download anything and you can pretty much get the same exact results you would use if you knew how to photoshop and he really likes it. i even think he signed up for premium. i just told him to check out this blog post for some extra editing tips :)

    ps- what's the velvia effect? i don't see it