So that's what we're doing today!
The better your pictures are to begin with, the less editing you have to do on the computer. Why make more work for yourself, right?
I'm a firm believer that 80% of photo problems can be fixed by doing three things: taking pictures on a sunny day, setting up next to a window, and using the macro setting. You'll notice that I didn't say anything about having a fancy camera, because I really don't think it's necessary. I use a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot and I love it.
To get started, make sure it's sunny. When it is, grab your props and/or backgrounds and set up next to a window. Really get up in there, like this:
|Become one with the window.|
Now find the macro setting on your camera (essential for getting details!) and take a bunch of pictures. Try different angles, get some detail shots, if applicable get a picture of the item on a person, etc. I usually take 5 or 6 shots for each piece and then narrow down to the best ones in post production.
And speaking of post production, there are about 8,000 different programs and websites you can use to edit your pictures. Since all of them have different names for the same feature, I'll try to be as general as possible when explaining the main fixes I make.
Here's a shot I took yesterday, completely untouched:
Not too shabby! It's a tad on the dark side, though, so we need to brighten things up. Look for something called exposure, brightness, or contrast in your program. Let there be light!
That's what I'm talkin' about. Easy peasy.
This one is a little trickier--not my best shot ever, but still totally usable:
I see a lot of details, but it's way too dark. Again, exposure, brightness, or contrast will fix that.
Almost there, but now it's kind of blue. I need to counteract it with some red. Look for temperature, hue, or color balance to help.
Ta da! Two steps and you're done. You should never have to spend 5 minutes trying to make a picture work. I think that if you can't get it right in under 30 seconds, then you probably need to adjust your overall setup. Try moving to a different window or taking pictures another time of day.
Aside from brightness and color balance, the main thing I use is the crop tool. And that's about it. Again, having a good setup for your pictures will make it a lot easier for you when editing time comes.
Platforms I've used: Photoshop, Pixlr.com, and the editor that comes with iPhoto. All of them are awesome.
That's really all there is to it! Hopefully this will be helpful. Do you have any other tips to share? How do you edit your photos? Does anybody actually LIKE doing it? (barf)