A Photo Editing Crash Course
Anyone wanting to foray into creating their own digital images for their business should know the basic types of images they will generally be creating. Once you’ve selected a program or software to edit these images, you will also need to understand what tools are available within your photo editing software and how they work to help you produce edited images.
First, a list of image types and their uses:
- Banners – These generally grace the top of a document or web page to announce you to your audience. They often include your logo, and tend to be wide and short.
- Birthday Images – Something cheery that wishes your patients well on their day! Perhaps include a coupon in the image as well.
- Reminder Images – Your Solutionreach reminder image should represent your practice well; make sure it gives off the impression you want to send your patients. Don’t forget to include your logo. These images are usually more square.
- Ads – You will likely create several ads for post online or in newsletters. These can be of all shapes and sizes and may include compiling several images together.
- Graphics for Newsletters – Including images in newsletters enhances their look and appeal. The graphics tend to feature stock photos of happy people, photos of your actual patients, images of relevant products, pictures of your office, your staff, etc. These can be all shapes and sizes.
And now, 20 tips and tools you need to get it done!
- Have your logo handy.
You will probably not create your logo by yourself (not that you can’t…), but this is important to have it to help you in the creation of your other images. Using a copy of the original image file is best.
- Original images/Snipping Tool.
Original image files are best when editing and compiling images, but if you don’t have access to the original image, you can always use your snipping tool or screen capture tool to grab an image from your own website. Save the snipped image to your desktop and open it in your image editor! Some websites will also let you click and drag a photo right into your image editor.
*Note: Make sure you are using images that you have rights to. Grabbing images from other websites without permission can get you in copyright trouble. Always purchase rights to use stock photos.
- Zoom in and out.
Throughout editing, you’ll want zoom in and out of the image from greater control of specific areas. There is usually a zoom tool in your software, but you can always use control +/- on your keyboard.
Most image editors will allow you to have multiple layers in your project so that you can manipulate one part of the image independently from other parts. This allows for a high level of control and detail.
Want to make the background a uniform color? Create a new layer, put it on the bottom, and pour that color on. Want to move your logo around the page separate from the rest of the image? Cut it out of the current layer and give it its own!
Advanced user tip: you can change the opacity (i.e. transparency) of different layers for some really neat effects. Free image softwares might not have this feature.
Like always, the eraser if you best friend. You will normally be able to select a block, brush, or pencil eraser, and be able to change the size and opacity for fine detail.
These tools are obviously for drawing, but you won’t be needing to do much of that when you’re starting out with an image already. Instead of drawing objects, add a nice border to your image to round it off. Holding down the shift key will give you straight lines.
Use this to insert shapes into image.
This is especially useful for creating borders and backgrounds for your images.
- Paint Bucket.
Splash one color over a large area quickly with the paint bucket.
The marquee will let you cut out parts of your images. You can do this to remove unwanted pieces from your image, or to move and manipulate parts of it to your advantage. Most programs have free hand, polygonal, circular, and rectangular marquees.
- Magic Wand.
If your image editor has this tool, you’re in for a treat. The magic wand is a super-marquee, allowing you to select an object (ex. someone’s head) and separate it from the image. Holding down shift while you use it adds to your selection. Holding down control/command subtracts from your selection.
… stay tuned. We’ll be back next week for our next ten tips and tools!
*This tutorial is based on Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, Version 10.0 (20110914.m.17521). All features may not be available in every image editing software. However, all are good skills and tools to know about.
About the Author:
Eden Moss is a prized asset at Solutionreach. As an expert on our service and the platform features, Eden ensures that new Solutionreach users have the information they need to get up, running, and improving their practice as quickly as possible. Eden’s expertise has helped countless practices customize the platform to meet their unique goals and maximize the success of the Solutionreach service.