Currently this site does not cover the camera, its operation or the artistic aspects of photography. Instead it describes and explains some of the features provided by Windows XP and some basic image editing techniques, using The GIMP, that are useful for digital photographers.
Don't assume that the programs that come with cameras and printers are the best, or even that they work properly! Those from some manufacturers contravene standard Windows protocols, Often the bundled software has mediocre editing facilities. Some programs tie you into one manufacturer's method of cataloguing images (a problem if you change to a different manufacturer when you upgrade your camera). Some do not print as they should. This is why, in the long run it is often better to stick with standard Windows techniques and facilities and an open source image editor like GIMP. They work and cost nothing extra.
- Connecting the Camera (Planned)
- Windows itself offers all you need to transfer you images from camera to computer. It often makes sense to abandon the software bundled with your camera.
- Moving and Copying Files
- Why confuse yourself with your camera's bundled software. Many people don't realise that Windows itself handles image files very acceptably.
- Viewing Files
- You don't need additional software to view the images transferred from your camera. Windows own facilities are good enough for most purposes.
- Printing Image Files
- Many of the programs that are bundled with both cameras and printers do not work properly. Even The GIMP has bugs! Stick with the basic printing facilities provided by Windows. It works!
GIMP stands for the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (Gnu is the name of the major public source software project). The GIMP is a comprehensive image editor that rivals the leading commercial package, Adobe's PhotoShop. It is offers more than enough facilities to edit and enhance photographs. (It is more than capable of producing web graphics as well, with many useful scripts built-in, to automate the task!)
The material in this section of the site provide guidance to beginners encountering image editing software for the first time and who are seeking some basic techniques for improving digital photographs. Experts may point out that some of these are not necessarily the optimum for those familiar with image editors of this level of sophistication. However, these techniques are aimed at novices, working with a sophisticated editor for the first time.
- The Program Interface
- For most Windows users the multiple windows that appear when you first launch the program will come as a shock. Here we learn the role of the different windows and the basics of working with them.
- As someone using an image editor for the first time you may be confused by the range of facilities available in The GIMP. This page suggests changes to the default configuration, designed to hide some that, as a photographer, you may not need in your early days with the program. As you become familiar with it and your skills develop, you should feel free to add the components you need.
- Saving Images
- Saving an image as a JPG file destroys image data. Learn how to balance loss of quality with file size and how to ensure all image data is preserved when mid way through a project.
- Have a portrait image and need to turn it 90°. Easy! There's a menu option for you! Didn't quite get the horizon level? Want to create a special effect? How to give your picture a twist without losing the detail you want.
- It's not simply for cutting off the edges! It's an essential task before printing and can help create a more pleasing composition that you failed to spot when taking the photograph.
- Contrast and Brightness
- Why you shouldn't use the Brightness-Contrast Dialogue!
- Levels Dialogue
- Don't use the crude Brightness and Contrast sliders. Instead use the sophisticated Levels Dialogue. With this you can adjust brightness and contrast without the risk of losing detail by making parts of the image too bright or dark. The Levels Dialogue can also be used for removing colour casts and other more specialist enhancements.
- Clone Stamp
- How to obliterate unwanted objects or add or change features not in the original image.
- How to work with parts of the image while not affecting others.
- Imagine a picture that has a clear film over it. Some areas of the film may be transparent while other parts are coloured. In the GIMP that film is called a layer. This page explains how layers can help in editing a photograph.
- As with Brightness and Contrast, you should avoid the obvious menu options labelled "Sharpen". Instead, turn to the confusingly named "Unsharp Mask".