Tutorial – Lightening A Dark Photo

I initially did this for the Second Life Stock Images group, after Sasy told me my photos were kinda dark.  I freely admit this, as I like darker photos.  Probably cause I am prone to migraines, and sensitive to light.  Unfortunately I live in tropical Florida, when my favorite weather is anything foggy, and overcast, and preferably without the sun.  So I made what I think will be an easy to follow beginners tutorial for how to lighten a photo effectively without ruining it.  This isn’t rocket science, its way super easy.  I have included at the end, where to look for these settings in Photoshop, Picasa, and Gimp.

Photoshop, Picasa, and Gimp are three of the most used photo-editing software programs being used by Second Life residents currently I bet.  If you are unfamiliar with these you probably don’t have Photoshop.  It costs more than your average software, so if you’re interested and know you will use it, I recommend it.  For those looking for an alternative to Photoshop, with the bells and whistles without the price, Gimp is your software.  It’s FREE!  It’s very close to the layout of Photoshop, so you can even watch Photoshop tutorials, and then go into Gimp and hunt around until you find the settings to emulate the tutorial.  It has the layers you need to work with Second Life templates for skin, and clothing creation.  Picasa is a well-known program for photo editing.  I haven’t played around with it much, as I have had Photoshop, and Illustrator for years.

Photoshop (free 30 day trial)
Gimp (free)
Picasa (free)

I am going to insert a cut on my blog here. The tutorial is just a photo with examples of effects/settings, and then where to find them in each of the programs.  It’s a very large photo, and I don’t want it to mess up the feeds Virtually Dressed are syndicated on.  So click-through for more if you don’t see it.  Check it out very large on the Second Life Stock Images group on Flickrs discussion.  Or 😀 Scroll down.

A few quick words to explain what you are looking at.  The top photo was an image I took in Second Life that is in the Second Life Stock Images group.  It’s a darker photo, and in the corner is what the Brightness & Contrast window looks like in Photoshop displaying the image.  Regardless of what you think the settings are, all photos start out at 0, 0.   Looking at the other photos you can see the effect of Brightness and Contrast on an image if you move the sliders to the right each.  Brightness with make it brighter, but will also fade a photo.  This effect can be countered by using Contrast to accentuate the contrast and deepen them a bit.  Sometimes you only need to change one or the other, as you can see the effect of Contrast alone.  There is a photo of both of the settings changed, each photo you attempt to edit will have different settings then the one shown.  You play around with the sliders seeing the effect.  Remember if you click OK to accept the changes, Ctrl Z or Ctrl Alt Z will undo.    Lastly I have shown where in the three different programs you can find settings to make these changes.

In Photoshop: Image – Adjustments – Brightness & Contrast

In Gimp:  Colors – Brightness & Contrast

In Picasa: open your photo, the Basic Fixes tab, and the Tuning Tab have various sliders to play with.

Easy ways to lighten a dark photo in Photoshop, Picasa, Gimp

I hope you found this really easy to follow.   If you are interested in stock images, check out the Second Life Stock Images group for Flickr.  What’s Flickr? Yeah, that is another tutorial for another day…and yeah I have one for it I am working on.    Please read the rules of the Second Life Stock Images group before using. 😉

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