Digital Photo Enhancement (Photo Editing Software) (Landing)

Digital Photo Enhancement Using Photo Editing Software

This guide will provide tips and advice, for enhancement your digital image utilizing photo editing software. Adjusting tone levels, contrast and brightness, color saturation, and sharping. This guide provides you with three different levels: basic, advanced, and technical.

Basic level icon

Basic level will use our online calculators and other tools we provide, it requires no additional equipment beside your camera.

Advance level icon

Advance level will go more in-depth and may require photo editing software.

Advance level icon

Technical level provide technical information such as mathematical equations, in-depth photo editing tools.

What digital photo enhancements to make before photo enlargement:

Even though digital camera photo quality is getting better and better every year, there are still a few digital enhancements that can be made to improve the digital photo’s quality. For the best print quality, especially if the digital photo is to be enlarged, there is a certain order of enhancement steps that should be followed. There are also a few functions that should not be performed until after the digital photo has been enlarged to target print size.

Very important, you should not sharpen a digital photo until the image file is sized to the target print size. Sharpening an image file has the same effect on the pixels as resampling the pixels. This will degrade the original image quality of the file if done before the photo is enlarged to target size. Sharpening the photo should be the last function performed before sending the file to print.

After about a decade of specializing in processing, enlarging and printing digital photos, I have found almost every digital photo can use a bit of enhancing. This would even apply to the newest DSLR models. Every once in a while I’ll come across and photo that is just about perfect, but even these can always be enhanced to improve the image dynamics and vibrancy.

Basically, there are three simple adjustments that can be made to about any digital photo to improve it’s visual presentation. Once again, here I caution those who do not have their monitors calibrated and profiled, with color management policies in effect in their image editing software, to be careful with image editing adjustments. What you see on the screen may print very different to what that screen displays.

The order of these three image adjustments is fairly important. If you are planning to enlarge the photo for printing, it does not really matter if these three image adjustments are performed before or after the photo is enlarged. The order of editing should be first, adjust the photos tonal levels, then the contrast, brightness and finally the image color saturation. Just these three simple editing functions can make a big difference in the digital photo’s presentation.

1st - Tone Levels

Digital Photo Enhancement: Tone Levels, Contrast, Color Saturation, and Sharpening.

Adjust the digital photo’s tonal levels first. This can balance the image’s darkness to lightness, which with digital photos that can many times have a slight darkness cast in brighter shooting conditions, brighten the photo considerably. Viewing the levels adjustment window, you will see a histogram, or type of chart, that displays the photos levels. There is a dark end adjuster on the left side of the chart, a light end adjuster on the right end of the chart, and a mid-tone adjuster in the middle of the chart. Elements lacking in the photo will show as a flat line on the chart.

If there are flat line conditions on either end of the chart, start adjusting the levels by sliding the adjusters in from the dark end first, then bring in the light end to where it looks good while viewing the photo. Usually, the best results will be obtained by adjusting the sliders just short of the point where the chart area of the image begins to peak upwards. The final adjusting should be done with the mid-tone adjuster. Every image may not need complete adjusting, but any flat line areas on the chart usually need adjustment to optimize the appearance of the photo. Making levels adjustments is entirely a personal preference kind of thing. What looks good to you is what will work best.

2nd - Contrast Brightness

Digital Photo Enhancement: Tone Levels, Contrast, Color Saturation, and Sharpening.

The next adjustment you should make is with the photos contrast in the brightness/ contrast adjustment window. Don’t go overboard here, as it can cause brighter areas of the photos to over-bright or flash, and colors to become distorted. Over-contrast can also cause the photo to become more grainy in appearance if your are considering photo enlargement. With today’s cameras, a contrast boost of about +5 to +9 will optimize the image very nicely.

The next step is to check how a brightness boost will work. Adjusting brightness is a purely visual adjustment. While viewing the photo, boost the brightness about one half the amount you boosted the contrast and see how it looks. This is a pretty good rule of thumb adjustment amount. If your contrast adjustment was +8, try boosting the brightness about +4. The final amount will be just what looks best to you.

3rd - Color Saturation

Digital Photo Enhancement: Tone Levels, Contrast, Color Saturation, and Sharpening.

The third basic enhancement will be to boost the color saturation of the digital photo. Just about every digital photo can use a little of this. Once again, don’t go crazy here, usually a saturation boost of about +5 to +10 will enhance the vibrancy of the photo enough to really enhance the colors when printed. If you prefer a softer look for your photo, I would leave this adjustment alone, or maybe even remove a little saturation.

After you have your photo looking the way you like, and you also want the image sharp, the last thing you want to do is to sharpen the photo. The photo should be at the target printing size before you sharpen the image. Sharpening should also be performed using the unsharp mask filter. Using the universal sharpen filter can yield over-sharpened results making the image appear jagged or edgy.

To begin with, I would recommend setting the unsharp mask at a threshold of 0 and a radius of one pixel. The degree of sharpening would be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the percentage slider. The effect of the sharpening filter is different depending on the actual pixel dimension density of the digital photo. The higher the pixel resolution, the higher degree of sharpening percentage the photo can take before becoming edgy in appearance.

You should have your image at 100% magnification view when sharpening. Try sliding the % adjuster up and down with the preview box checked so the sharpening effects will be displayed as you change them. When you get the image about how you like, click the OK. I would recommend viewing various areas of the photo after sharpening, at the 100% magnification. Toggle between sharpened and not sharpened, using the edit>undo and edit>redo to see how the photo looks. It you don’t like the results, stay in the edit>undo and start over opening the unsharp mask filter window and resetting the filter.

These simple photo enhancements should help you achieve much finer presenting digital photos. There are many other digital enhancements available to improve and edit photos and using some of these more advanced enhancement tools is really just a matter of understanding what the tool does, and experimenting with the effects on photos. For the most part, if you can master the three basic enhancement tools described in this article, you will be surprised at how good your photos can look.

4th - Sharpening

Digital Photo Enhancement: Tone Levels, Contrast, Color Saturation, and Sharpening.

After you have your photo looking the way you like, and you also want the image sharp, the last thing you want to do is to sharpen the photo. Sharpening a digital photo has the same effect on the image pixels as resampling the photo. You do not want to sharpen the image before photo enlargement processing as this will cause the digital photo to create an “edgy” or even slightly pixelated appearance after the photo is enlarged. The greater the enlargement percentage, the greater this effect will be.

Sharpening a digital photo should be the very last function performed on the file before printing. We can sharpen a digital photo enlargement before printing. To get the very best results requires a certain degree of experience. The effects on various elements of the image need to be weighed to determine the proper amount of applied sharpening.

The photo should be at the target printing size before you sharpen the image. Sharpening should also be performed using the unsharp mask filter. Using the universal sharpen filter can yield over-sharpened results making the image appear jagged or edgy.

To begin with, I would recommend setting the unsharp mask at a threshold of 0 and a radius of one pixel. The degree of sharpening would be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the percentage slider. The effect of the sharpening filter is different depending on the actual pixel dimension density of the digital photo. The higher the pixel resolution, the higher degree of sharpening percentage the photo can take before becoming edgy in appearance.

You should have your image at 100% magnification view when sharpening. Try sliding the % adjuster up and down with the preview box checked so the sharpening effects will be displayed as you change them. When you get the image about how you like, click the OK. I would recommend viewing various areas of the photo after sharpening, at the 100% magnification. Toggle between sharpened and not sharpened, using the edit>undo and edit>redo to see how the photo looks. It you don’t like the results, stay in the edit>undo and start over opening the unsharp mask filter window and resetting the filter.

These simple photo enhancements should help you achieve much finer presenting digital photos. There are many other digital enhancements available to improve and edit photos and using some of these more advanced enhancement tools is really just a matter of understanding what the tool does, and experimenting with the effects on photos. For the most part, if you can master the three basic enhancement tools described in this article, you will be surprised at how good your photos can look.

Digital Photo File Types: Which image file type is best to use for photo enlargement?

 

The file type of the photo you would send for photo enlargement does not really matter, although any standard image file type such as .jpg, .tiff or .psd is recommended. We can accept any standard image type file and always convert the file to a workable file format as soon as we download the photo file.

There are a couple points that should be mentioned here. You should not resave the same .jpg digital photo file more than 4 or 5 times before sending for photo enlargement. Each time a .jpg photo file is saved the image color bit depth can be slightly compressed which will produce a very slightly lower color gamut, or a little less original photo color. Working and saving your file in a TIFF file will not effect the color or compress you image each time.

If your digital camera has the feature of capturing photos in the RAW or .tif file formats, I would recommend using this option. RAW file type would be your best choice. RAW photo files will capture a wider range of color, or color bit depth. Different file types will not change the pixel resolution of the photo. You can send us a RAW digital photo and we can convert this file type to a workable and printable file format, but it may be best if you convert the RAW file to a .tiff file before sending for enlargement and printing.

??????????

About Digital Photo Processing, Enhancing and Adjustments:

Altering the original resolution of a digital photo – The finest quality photo enlargements of your digital photos will be produced from the original resolution of the photo as downloaded from the camera. Many people understand that photos should be printed at a resolution of at least 300 ppi and see that their photo may be 120 ppi at the enlargement size they want, so they boost the resolution in an image editing application. While it is true about the print resolution, it is all about how this print resolution is achieved to produced the highest quality prints. Standard image editing applications are not the best way to increase image resolution and their methods generally degrade the actual visual quality of the photo, especially when building very large prints. Professional digital printing labs use highly specialized processing software for increasing image resolution and may use more than one application in this process. The professional print results are far superior in image quality.

Enhancing your digital photo – Making enhancements to a photo with an image editing application will not affect the resolution of the digital photo. Adjusting the characteristics of the photo such as levels, curves, brightness and contrast, color saturation or applying filters simply makes changes to the embedded image data within the file and does not change the basic resolution values. A word of caution about making image enhancements. If you are working on a system without color management enabled and using a standard monitor that has not been calibrated and profiled, what you are seeing onscreen when making enhancements most likely is not exactly what is embedded in the photo file. Professional printing systems use highly accurate color management systems to print precisely what is embedded in the image data. The main problem is usually a standard monitor which by default may be calibrated over bright to compensate for bright ambient lighting conditions. This will display the photo brighter or lighter than it actually is within the image data. We make slight adjustments to each photo we print if needed. After 15 years of image enhancing we have a good idea of what a photo may need for optimal printing.

Photo format adjustments and photo cropping – If you want to produce high quality photo enlargements of your digital photos it is very important not to alter the original image pixel values when altering the photo format or cropping. There are a number of methods available in image editing applications for cropping photos, and the important thing to do is to not enter a resolution value when cropping the photo. This will cause the software to rebuild the image pixels when applying the crop and the original image quality will be degraded. This reduction in original image quality may not be visible when printing the photo at small sizes, but when printing the photo very large, it will be quite obvious. The best practice is to crop the photo maintaining the original pixel values and let us build the resolution needed for quality printing. More about proper cropping of digital photos can be found in our Learning Center.

About Professional Large Format Digital Photo Printing: what to look for in Pro Photo Printing

Color management – Professional digital photo printing labs use precise color management systems to print digital photos with the exact image characteristic as defined in the image data file. To do this, the software reads the characteristics through an embedded image color profile that defines how to print everything from color to brightness and contrast. The software then takes into consideration the exact print media or photo paper and the printer ink set and balances all these aspects to produce a print that is precisely as defined in the photo image data file. We use a highly sophisticated color management system that also considers the ambient light source such as daylight or artificial light, and makes slight color adjustments to provide a print that is perfectly presented in any light source conditions.

Digital photo print processing for photo enlargements – Printing the highest quality photo enlargements of digital photos requires photo file processing software that utilizes the latest, state of the art resolution building technologies to produce enlargements that print with the identical image quality as the original photo file. Raster Image Processing software (RIP software) is the application used for this purpose and far exceeds standard image editing software in creating high quality photo enlargements. For the larger print sizes such as 40×60, it is sometimes required to use an intermediate software such as Perfect Resize to build resolution for photo files with a lower initial resolution. Using this three step process maintains a lower enlargement percentage with each step of the process to insure the final print will have the same optical quality as the original photo.

Printer, print media and ink details – While the pre-print systems described above are extremely important in producing high quality photo enlargements, when it gets down to the bottom line, the actual print quality comes from the printer, print media or paper and the type of inks used. There are a number of fine printers on the market today, but we stand by and used Canon Pro and HP Latex printers. This printers coupled with the highly advanced RIP software creates large format prints with unsurpassed image quality. We also use only premium professional quality photographic papers and canvas that are color profiled with the ink set to produce highly accurate color representation and fully archival quality prints.

Retreats and Training

Self-pace, enjoyable locations to photograph. Non formal instruction. 

Scheduled Retreats

July 31-August 3, 2019

Milky Way, Monsoons (Lightning)

Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico

August 29 – September 1, 2019

Milky Way, Monsoons (Lightning)

City of Rocks, New Mexico

Knowledge of your camera

Designed to take a student from level 1 (point and shoot) to level 3 (understanding exposure and your camera capabilities). Most of the training is one-on-one in the field with a maximum number of six students. 

Icon Legend

Basic level icon

Basic level will use our online calculators and other tools we provide, it requires no additional equipment beside your camera.

Advance level icon

Advance level will go more in-depth and may require photo editing software.

Advance level icon

Technical level provide technical information such as mathematical equations, in-depth photo editing tools.

Camera Resolution Settings

Camera Color Parameter or Color Profile

Learn to use Camera White Balance Settings

Camera Exposure Settings

Photo Printing Services coming soon

We are dropping the name Photo Art Imaging to simplify locating us on the web.

We do not own Photartimaging.com so this has caused some confusion for or customers trying to find us on the web.

The domain name of enlargephotos.com is the site we have own for over 16 years.

We feel this will help you are customers in locating us easier.

Pro Quality Enlarge Photos.

The Colorado Springs location has been closed for a few years and will drop the Colorado Springs phone number. Area code (719)

Our main phone number will be (575) 740-7468

415 North Date Street

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. 87901

Thanks for understanding

WxFireGraph LLC

Owns the following websites:

EnlargePhotos.com short for: ProQualityEnlargePhotos.com

ProQualityGraphics.com

Technical level of guide articles.

Level – Basic 

  • Basic guide will use our online calculators and other tools we provide, it requires no additional equipment beside your camera.

Level – Advance

  • Advance guide will go more in-depth and may require photo editing software.

Level – Technical

  • Technical guides provide technical information such as mathematical equations, in-depth photo editing tools.