Digital photography opens up much more in the creative world than just taking and editing pictures, especially if you have a printer connected to your computer. Words and Pictures Peter Bargh of ePHOTOzine
With the latest digital-imaging programs you can do much more with your picture presentation than you may think. Applying a few creative touches to your picture before its printed will ensure your results look more interesting when you show them to others.
Framing using a border One way of making your photo stand out more is to reduce its size slightly on the page and add a thin border as a framing tool. To do this open up a new canvas the size that you intend printing, lets say A4, and then open up the picture you want to print. Copy and paste this onto the blank canvas. It may be the same size as the A4 or smaller. Adjust using the image editing programsTransform>Scale tool so that it takes up about two thirds of the area of the canvas and position it so that the white area around the photo is an equal width on the top and both sides. Then use the rectangular selection tool and draw a box much bigger around the photograph so that it surrounds it and matches the proportions of the paper. Select the Stroke command and select a small pixel value to add a thin line where the selection is. This will draw a subtle point of focus to the photo and makes it stand out more on the page.
Adding a ragged edge We had a full tutorial on how to create ragged edges last month but will mention it again for newcomers. The idea is to change the edge of the picture so it no longer has four straight edges but a rough outline that could be ragged, faded or look ripped. You can do this yourself with a little knowledge of the Selection tools and feather or erase the edges using the eraser tool or by drawing a rough edge using a marker pen and scan that in to combine with the photo. This can be time consuming and as an alternative there are several programs, or plug-ins for programs, that do this automatically for you. This simple one was created using a Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop plug in from Eye Candy called Splat.
Printing several photos on one page A good way to show a selection of photos is to group them on one larger photo and arrange them as though you would if you were sticking them side-by-side in an album. Again start by creating a blank A4 canvas and then copy and paste several photos and rescale them to fit together on a page. Try a combination of sizes and shapes to make the page more interesting. This is a great item to give your granny as a gift.
Create a collage Using your image editing program's Selection tool to cut out parts of an image and then paste them together on one blank canvas can create a super collage as an alternative to the above treatment. Here the edges were masked and erased to make the blend from one photo to another less defined. You can have a lot of fun with this approach but need to have a program that can handle layers (sometimes called objects) such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Photo Suite or Picture Publisher.
Using a montage technique to add spice The typical arrangement in the family photo album explained two stages above can, to some, be a touch dull. Look at how you arrange the photos can improve things no end. Here each photo was slightly overlaid on the page and rotated using the Transform tool. A shadow was then added to give a 3D appearance and the background was filled with a texture. It looks far more interesting than a set of three photos laid out side by side on white.
Creating panoramas Stretch or crop your picture to create a false panorama.
Its easy to crop the top and bottom off a photo and then print it out on A4 paper to create a 4x10inch print - just like those youd take with an APS camera. Wasted sky in a landscape is a prime target for removal.
In this example the foreground sea and large area of sky do nothing to help the photo. By using the crop tool we lose all the area that shows here in grey and end up with a far more professional looking image.
The other option is to distort the photograph using the transform tool to make it 10in wide. This works best with landscapes where you cant easily see the distorting effect of the stretching on any part of the subject.
It's hard to see that this picture has been stretched but it adds a new dimension to your scenic photos.
Using Text The good thing about image-editing programs is that they usually have a text option and allow you to arrange words and pictures on a file ready to print. You dont have to own a desktop publishing program. Simply select the Text tool, usually indicated by a large T, and key in the words. Once they are on the page you can change the typeface, colour, size or position to improve your message. This is great for creating greetings cards or personalised messages with pictures.
Create a mini portfolio card Now you know how to add text and arrange photos use this knowledge to create a small portfolio card. It could be of your favourite subject or shots from your hometown that you may even be able to sell as a scenic postcard, or a model portfolio or image portfolio.