You can have great photos, even if you don’t have the budget to pay your photographer to edit them all for you! Many photographers offer a limited number of edited JPEGs in your photo package. But, if you have other good shots and even a very basic editing program, you can take mediocre pictures to memories worth keeping! (Most computers come with a basic photo-editing program, but if yours doesn’t have one, you can do most of the following with just the editing programs that photo-ordering sites provide.)
First, let’s take a look at our original shot:
Before we do anything else, let’s get our dimensions where we want them. I opted to crop this image to an 8×10″; make sure that you crop it to whatever dimensions will best suit your needs. (Standard photo albums hold 4×6″ photos.) *Hint: off-centering your subject(s) a little can make a more interesting picture.* So, here is the cropped picture:
Now, on this picture, the shadows are so deep you can’t really see the faces. I went to the “brighten” tool and just lightened it until the faces were more visible. Be careful with this tool (especially if your dress is white!), because if you overdo it, you tend to lose some definition in the brighter areas of the picture. Here is the shot brightened up:
As, you probably noticed, just brightening it made the dark parts of the picture (in the background, etc.) look a little too bright, so I also want to adjust the contrast. You can make the contrast higher–more bright in the light places and darker in the shadows–or lower–making the brights duller and the shadows lighter. Depending on your picture, either of these options can be helpful, so play around with it some, to get the image where you want it! I heightened the contrast here:
This shot looks pretty good, but just as a fun final alternative, I also decided to play with the saturation (color intensity) tool on the following shots. On the first, I took the saturation down, until the shot looked almost black and white. The second, I took the saturation up, which just makes the colors pop a little more. Figure out your preferences and edit accordingly!
These are all pretty easy and quick fixes, but you can easily see how making just those small adjustments makes a BIG difference in the final photo! Don’t be afraid to try different things until you get just what you want!