Two Things You Can Do to Make Your Photos Look Awesome


They say that a photo is worth a thousand words. When it comes to adding photos to your blog posts or posting photos to social networks, why not make your photos look the best they possibly can?

I know what you might be thinking – Marissa, I am not a professional photographer, nor do we have the budget to hire one. Well, today I’m here to show you a few things you can do to make sure you are putting your best photo foot forward.

Take Photos of Everything
I cannot stress this enough. If there is an event going on, photos need to be taken. Thanks to digital photography there is no limit as to how photos you can take so snap away. When it comes to photos, the more options you have the better. Even if you don’t use these photos to showcase this specific event, you might be able to use a photo take at that time for something else.

Don’t forget to make sure you have the permission to take photos of people you are photographing.

Also, if you don’t have someone on staff that is available to take photos, put out a call for volunteers. There might be a local up-and-coming photographer who could lend her talents to help out your organization.

Cropping

A picture cropped without and with the rule of...

A picture cropped without and with the rule of thirds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After you’ve sorted through all of the photos and picked the ones you want to use chances are there is some editing that will need to happen. One of the easiest ways to take a less than awesome photo and make it a dynamic addition to your post, is to crop it. This is a feature you will find in most photo editing programs.

When cropping it is important to keep in mind the goal of your photo. What do you want the audience to focus on? Sometimes you might have a great shot of a lot of people at an event but 70% of that photo might be taken up by the ceiling in the room. By cropping out some of the ceiling the viewer’s focus is shifted to the people instead of the size of the room.

Also, you can crop images to follow one of photography’s golden rules: The Rule of Thirds. The basics are this, if the object of your photo is lined up along an imaginary tic-tac-toe grid, your photo will be visually interesting. Even if the original photo didn’t follow the Rule of Thirds, by cropping something out, you can change that.

Color Correction
There’s a lot that a person can do to change the color tone of a photo, but I won’t go in to all of the details here. I just want to focus on a quick color correction trick that can make your photos look the best they can. Many photo programs have an auto correct feature that automatically changes the saturation, contrast, brightness and exposure of your photos. This feature can become your best friend because most of the time it is one click that can save your photo. I will say that sometimes it doesn’t make your photo look its best, but in those cases you can go in and adjust each of those elements individually or just use the photo without any color correction.

Correcting the color of your photos can really make an impact. Many times it makes the photo look more realistic.

Photo Editing Programs
To crop and correct color you do not need to spend thousands of dollars on photo editing software. Most times your computer already comes with the software to do it. iPhoto on Macs is a dynamic program that organizes your photos as well and has an editing suite to help you make your photos look their best. Depending on the version of Windows you are using, Microsoft has basic photo editing tools also built in to their operating system to help you along.

If you are looking for a fully featured photo editor like Photoshop, but without the price tag, there is GIMP. GIMP is a free program with most of the features of a high powered editing program. Also, if you upload your photos to Google+, they have a pretty great editor built into the photo section of their site that is free to use as well.

Photos can make a big impact on your web content. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make your photos look like they were shot by a pro. Just by cropping and correcting the color the photos on your site can look like a million bucks.

Do you have any photo editing tips you’d like to share? What photo program works best for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on July 9, 2012, in Mondays with Marissa, technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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