Editing Photographs with Paint Shop Pro 7

I've been using Paint Shop Pro since the mid 1990's., even teaching a small basic class to seniors at a rec center! Yes, there are other photo editors out there and even newer Paint Shop Pro versions but since I know 7.0 why change?! 

Quite often I am asked how I get my pictures to look the way they do so let's start with the "equipment" I use.

 

  • Webfolto Portable Light Box by SimpQ
    I chose this one for it's durability and portability. It's made of plastic so there's no tears or rips and it wipes clean. It breaks down easily, holding all my backgrounds (black, white & scrapbook paper), filters, reflection board, diffusion sheet, hanging rod and tabs that hold it together. I even add my ruler, a gram scale, a small towel and other small items that I use often. It Velcros closed with a carrying handle on the outside.  I take it with me whenever I travel.

     

Even as bright as it is inside, photographs will still need to be edited. We'll get to that part soon!
 

  • Camera
    Believe it or not, I use my iPhone 6s. I recommend taking all your photos square instead of the default rectangle. The reason for this is most websites will auto-crop rectangular images, cutting sides and tops off. So, set your camera to square and turn your phone 90° to the left and you'll be all set. Be sure to take your photographs as straight and centered as you can!

     

  • Sticky Stand
    I also use a "Sticky" Stand to hold my phone steady to prevent blurry pictures and shaky videos. You can order them inexpensively through Amazon. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes.  The only thing I would do differently is to order a white one with an extension arm. 

     

The top and bottom have sticky pads that when it gathers too much dust to hold my phone or stay in place I just run it under cool water and wipe it dry. 

 

  • A Stand
    I like clean, crisp looking photos so I use an inexpensive plastic container that I get 3 for $1.00 at the local discount store. You know the store, we all have one near us.  ;) As you can see the white washes out and blends into the background making my editing so much easier!

Now to the editing!

Once you have your photos downloaded to your computer you can open them in your photo editing software. My example below has the photos that I think I'll use.

I've customized my top standard tool bar by adding my favorite editing icons. The tool bar on the left and the color palette isn't editable but they can be turned on and off if you need more work space.

Using the Magic Wand I click the white area of the background. 

Holding the SHIFT key I continue clicking the background that hasn't been selected. I sometimes have to change the Tolerance down if the item color is close to the same as the background.  If a lighter area or "hot-spot" is selected you can use your undo on the top menu (or Ctrl-Z) then lower your tolerance. There's also another way but that will have to be in another tutorial.

You can now see by the dotted lines (which I call dancing ants) that I have the entire background selected.

At this point you may be temped to just hit delete and remove the background. However, if you do you'll end up with a drastic contrast that doesn't look very good. Instead, adjust the brightness and contrast. You can find it in your menu under Colors > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast or by using Shift-B.

I like to adjust a little at a time. I normally use Brightness: 20 / Contrast: 20. If I need it brighter I just repeat the adjustment.

Here it is with the final adjustments made.  Isn't it pretty?

I repeat all the steps for each photo, saving as a .jpg (.jpeg) as I go along. Sometimes part of the shadow is still visable and that's perfectly fine.

For my final save I use the JPEG Optimizer by going to File> Export >JPEG Optimizer

I set the compression value to 40. Much more than 40 the image will lose it's sharpness. The reason I do this is uncompressed the file size is 270kb; compressed it's only 184kb

My finished collage!

I hope this helps you some!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Linda at SmokyMountainBeads@gmail.com

Now go take some awesome photos!!