Upgrading my Vacation Pictures with Gimp

So I am not a great photographer, however I have some skills using photo editing software. Not for anything did I had an A on a course on digital image manipulation. Even if I am not the world most creative and artistic person I have been able to master a couple of tools to make my pictures just the way I wanted or at least close to it.So while I was in Veracruz I took some pictures of me and my girlfriend. Really nice Pictures by the way. I enjoy the time we were there but even if the hotel was just a street away from the beach we didn’t go to that beach as much. However Irina had fun in that beach and I had fun watching her splashing in the waves from that beach.I snap a few pictures of her in the Sea and even if it was a bit cloudy I tried to configure my camera for the perfect pictures. However I realized I failed misserably as I put the wrong filter which make me had some images a bit yellow.So after watching this vidcast called MacBreak I was able to see some Photoshop expert working on this image to make it look dramatic. I inmediately have this feeling of, I can do that without using Photoshop but instead my trusted Gimp program and I did exactly that.I shoot out my Gimp program and I started looking for images I really wanted something more on them. I saw the Veracruz pictures and man I really think they could have looked better, so I open them.

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This is a bit embarassing not just because of my geek belly fat which is a different thing but also because I want the day to be not so well… yellow.So I open the image on the Gimp, and the next thing I did was go to the Curves. Curves are strong and have a really nice impact on the color set of the image without damaging the context on them. I have to say that I am not very familiar with the actual edges of the curve and I just deal with the middle node.First I notice that Blue is the key curve to modify, this enables me to bring the curve a lil bit higher. Not too blue as this might actually damage my not so blue skin. I just want the see and sky to look happier.The next is also bring the red so my skin can contrast again keeping the balance alive. I have notice that I dont usually substract which makes my modification at least simpler.After the curves are done, the contrast of colors can be seen right away but usually there are other variables such as overal light of the image. Here is where I use the second tool which is the Brightness and Contrast.

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We really want to avoid the actual sliding bar and concentrate on the numeric level. The changes should be very very subtile. Make a range of +10/-10 to assure that the levels wont get out of control.Contrast and Brightness sometimes look like directly opposed so be careful when using it.Finally the last tool I use in case the Brightness burn the pictures and strip it of it’s warmness I go to the next tool, the most subtile of all, the Color Balance.

Color balance is an interesting tool, it has 3 levels, Shadows, Midtones and Highlights and the official RGB,CMY levels. Play arround with the combinations, remember where your shadows are, to have a better view you can also look at a thershold and see where the shadows actually reside and where the highligts.In the end I couldn’t get rid of my unathletic belly but at least I make as if I knew what I was doing with the cammera.

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Thanks Gimp

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