Buddy Nights are a great way of finding out more about your camera or a particular aspect of photography from other club members. There was a lively buzz of conversation around the room last Wednesday. Here are just a couple of examples of what people were sharing:

How to be in different places at the same time – Photoshop Layering

Joy S wanted to try something wacky. She had made three pictures of herself, in ‘musical soirée’ mode, and she asked David P to help her layer them in Photoshop Elements. By placing the images side by side and after a bit of juggling, David was able to demonstrate how to ‘rub out’ bits of a layer to reveal Joy in the next pose and so eventually this clever composite picture was created. Notice that they kept to the ‘odd number of subjects’ rule!

Musical soirée

A powerful free post-production tool – Snapseed

If you have an iOS or Android tablet and can either not afford the likes of Lightroom or one day find yourself away from your normal computer, you might like to download Snapseed. It’s software originally created by Nik and now owned and regularly updated by Google. With it you can do some powerful editing of your photos. Philip S had brought along three deliberately poor photos to demonstrate some of Snapseed’s capabilities. Here are some before and after shots and a note of the functions applied in Snapseed:

Before After

This was a RAW file. Snapseed was used to warm up the image, enhance the pool of light, lighten some of the shadows, heal some areas, sharpen the image and apply a modest vignette.

Before After

Snapseed was used to spotlight the face in this image, darken the highlights in the sky, lighten the foliage, straighten the horizon slightly and apply a white border. Shame about the subject – but there we are!

Before After

For this picture of Rome, Snapseed was used to lighten the shadows, straighten up the verticals slightly, crop the top a little, and increase the dynamic range (using the HDR function on this single image). HDR is like Marmite – people either love or hate the effect – and you might actually prefer the ‘Before’ image in this instance!

These were not award winning shots, but I think you might agree that Snapseed did manage to improve the images. And the most impressive thing is that it’s entirely free… and I don’t get paid commission!

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