A picture is what you make of it

Time was when photographs were what they were. Poorly cropped, bad lighting, the dreaded red-eye…sure, you could pay an expert to sit down with some pencil crayons and painstakingly color in the details you wanted, but most of the time it was easier to take a new photo.

Today, though, things are different. There’s a plethora of photo editing packages out there, from expensive to free, all of which, to varying degrees, can take a not-quite-right photo, and turn it into a zinger.

I’m currently working on some ideas for a new project, and had a very specific image in mind as to what I wanted. A woman, dressed in white, in a meditative pose, with candles and a warm background. A stock photo search didn’t turn up the exact picture I had in mind, but gave me a photo that was pretty close.

We had the woman in white, the meditative pose, and the candles, but the green edging on the bamboo mat didn’t fit my color scheme; nor did the red vase filled with grasses. To top it off, the woman, while attractive, looked just a little too perky for what I had in mind, and the white background was overly stark.

Step in my photo editing software. First, I replaced the green edging with a warm rust tone taken from the candle on the left. Next, I removed the red vase with the grasses, and cropped the picture to eliminate the too-upbeat facial expression. Finally, I added a warm-toned background, designed to look like flooring and a wall, to replace the stark white. The colors for the background are taken from the bamboo matting.

The result? A photo that conveys exactly the warm tones and relaxing impression I had in mind:

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