Micro Tutorial: Photo Editing
Here is a minimalist tutorial on how to edit your photos for posting to this (or any other) forum.
There are many photo editing packages out there. You probably got a basic one with your digital camera. I can't explain all of them in depth, so I won't even try. Instead I'm going to give a few basic pointers that I think will help you figure things out.
I think most people here are pretty bright, and just need a few hints to point them in the right direction.
The main issue seems to be photo size. You want your photos to be nice and large, so that people can see lots of details. But if the photos are too big, then the software will reject them.
Therefore, photo sizing is what I will focus on.
Here is my one line executive summary: I find that if I resize my photos to about 800x600 pixels, and save them as jpegs, with an "85%" quality rating, I usually get them to be big, and yet under the 100k file limit.
All the photo editing programs that I have tried support the basic functions that you need: Load your photo, crop the area of interest, maybe tweak the brightness/contrast, and resize it to an appropriate size for uploading.
I just found this web page this morning when looking for online photo editing. It's free! And even better, you don't need to install anything, it runs off of their web server.
They have simple tools on their web page. You can upload a photo, rotate it, crop it, resize it, and save it back to your computer.
First, select "1. choose your image to edit", and upload a photo. Next, click on "crop" and select the area of the photo you want. Finally, if necessary use resize to get it under 800x600 pixels in size. Now save it to your home computer.
Gimp is a free image editing program, with a very goofy name.
It offers much of the same functionality as Photoshop. The main difference (for the basic user) is that it is free, and that it has menu items in different places (which confuses people who use photoshop at work or school.)
But it does the job. I've used it for a few years, can't beat the price.
Load a picture with "file->Open". Crop with "Tools -> transform -> Crop" (or shift-C). Tweak brightness with "Tools -> color tools -> Brightness-Contrast". Adjust size with "Image -> Scale".
If you have a mac, you've got iPhoto installed. To crop, use the mouse to drag out an area, then click the "crop" button along the bottom of the window. To adjust brightness or contrast, click on the "Adjust" button along the bottom.
Resizing is a bit awkward. Click on "Share -> Export", then in the "Size" box you can set the size to 800x600 or whatever. iPhoto does NOT give you a "quality" option when saving, unfortunately.
Google offers a free photo editing tool named picasa. I haven't tried it out, as it is Windows-only. (Linux version in beta)
I'm going to skip this one. Photoshop is a huge program, with tons of features, and it is expensive. I have to believe that anyone who has bought it, knows enough of how to use it.
Perhaps someone else, who has a copy of Picasa, or Photoshop Elements, or some other common program, can post their own "micro tutorial" in this thread to add to the knowledge.