Sunday 14 April 2013

How to capture the perfect picture even from your not so hip or high end camera

How to capture the perfect picture even from your not so hip or high end camera

Everybody in today's world is a ace cameraman given the influx of smart phones everywhere.  But it is difficult to get the perfect picture from your smart phone even if you have the best in business like the Nokia PureView 808, the iPhone 5 or Nokia Lumia 920.  You just can't get a good capture inspite of having all the adequate hardware just like the DSLR camera.  The results often make you want for a better camera phone.  This tutorial will teach you to take a first class pro photo using your old camera phone without any sweat.  

People then mostly photoshop or instagram it and add filters to make the photo look pretty but eventually it is a hoax and called photoshoped on the forums.  So is there a way to capture the most beautiful pictures even with your 1MP cameras.  Yes there is a way around without using the photoshop.   This can be done with help of some useful tips and a free software called Irfanview.  

First the tips :
1. Keep your hands as steady as possible to avoid blurry shots. Even a little bit of shaking can cause blurry photos.
2. If the camera under or over-exposes the frame, use the EV slider to increase or decrease exposure accordingly. EV slider (Exposure Value) setting can be accessed in the camera options.  When the main subject which you intend to capture is darker than the background, increase exposure value. If the subject is much lighter than the background, decrease exposure value.
3. Clean the glass that protects the lens with a lint-free cloth. Settled dust particles and smudges on the glass could lead to blurred photos or flaring.  If you can't reach it use the lint cloth to cover the lens and use a tooth pick (wood) to clean it.

Next download the IrfanView from here and install it.  Now download the complete zip file containing all the plugin from here.  You can also download the exe file of plugins from Brothersoft site here.  After installing the plugins you have to install one more plugin called Topaz DeNoise from here on a 30 day trial basis.   Topaz DeNoise is one of the best noise reduction plug-ins for Photoshop that can also be used with IrfanView.  It reduces the grain level we usually find on non cured photos.  

Install Topaz DeNoise after installing IrfanView and its plug-in pack. After installation, navigate to the installation folder of Topaz DeNoise and copy the plug-in file (tldenoise5ps.8bf) from the "Plugins" folder and copy it to "PluginsAdobe 8BF" folder in IrfanView’s installation folder.

Now with the software complexities done you can go ahead with your capture.  Capture a couple of photographs choose the best one and transfer it to your computer.  Load the photograph in Irfanview.

After loading the photo, go to "Image | Effects | Adobe 8BF filters" or use the shortcut "Ctrl+k" to access the same. To add Topaz DeNoise to the list, click on the "Add 8BF filters" button and specify the folder to which you copied the plug-in file in IrfanView’s installation folder. If you did everything correctly, you should now see Topaz DeNoise in the list. Double-click on it to run it; the filter’s UI will be presented to you in a new Window.

The object of the Topaz DeNoise is to reduce graininess and colour noise as much as possible without losing too much detail. Use the zoom control in the top right corner to set the zoom to 200 percent to get a clear view of the noise. Drag the frame to bring forth the portion of the image in which noise is most prominent. Now you can use the presets in the left panel for quick results or drag the sliders manually for more precision. Drag the "Overall Strength" slider a few units (0.03 to 0.05) at a time until the graininess is  gone.  If you see colour noise (in the form of purple, green and blue blobs), use the "Clean Color" slider. Use this one to your ability just to the point where all the colour noise is gone.  If something goes wrong, you can use the sliders in the "Detail Recovery". Click the OK button after you’re satisfied with the end result. Click Ok will take you back to IrfanView where your result will be displayed.

Next step is to boost the colour and contrast.  Use the keyboard shortcut "Shift+W" to fit the image to the Window for a complete view of the image. Go to "Image | Color corrections" or use the shortcut "Ctrl+G" to bring up the colour corrections dialogue box. Use the Contrast and Saturation sliders to add punch to your photo if it looks too drab; a slight boost should make it look more vibrant. If the photo is under-exposed, use the "Brightness" and "Gamma correction" sliders to correct the exposure. Click the OK button to apply the values to the photo.

Now you are done with the tinkering bit its time to take a final copy of the photo.  If you like it the way it is then there is no problem but if you want to rescale it to a size you would like or feel that the photo would appear more beautiful use the  go to "Image | Custom/fine rotation" and specify the rotation angle. The preview should help determining the optimal correction. Negative values will rotate the frame anticlockwise and positive values clockwise. Decimal values can be used for fine rotation. Use the Crop function to eliminate the redundant areas after rotation or to extract a portion of the frame. Click and drag to select the area you wish to crop, and then use the shortcut "Ctrl+Y" or go to "Edit | Crop selection" to crop out the selection

You may want to rescale the photo to lower resolution to reduce the file size or share the photo via facebook, Google Plus or email. To do so, go to "Image | Resize/resample" or use the shortcut "Ctrl+R" to bring up the dialogue box. Set the new size (in pixels or percentage) and click the OK button to apply the changes you desire.

You can use the above procedure to correct photos taken on digital camera also.   If you do everything right you will be surprised at the result and now call your self a full fledged professional camera man that to without using the Photoshop or Instagram.  Try this one out and post me the results and your comments.

Vijay Prabhu

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