I take my photos with a Canon Rebel T3i and the EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens – the blogger special. That combo is a gem. But having a decent camera and lens (and good lighting) is only one of many aspects that make an appealing finished product. I use a variety of photo editing software on both my laptop and my phone to tinker about before I’m ready to put my photos up for your guys’ eyes.
This is most definitely not to be confused with the application “Paint.” My magical tech friend showed me this program and I will be forever grateful to him for that. Firstly it’s free (though there is an option to donate) and secondly it’s incredibly user friendly. This is like an ultra paired down version of Photoshop. You can resize your photos here in order to make them a manageable size. You can also adjust the canvas size – a good way to crop your photo without losing your aspect ratio. Plus, like everything else I’m about to mention you can do basic adjustments here, such as altering the brightness and contrast levels.
Gimp is another free editing software program. It’s a much larger and complex program than Paint.net and it’s a lot more similar to Photoshop. I don’t often use Gimp because it can be more finicky, but there are fine tuning bits that you can do on Gimp that you can’t always do on Paint.net. It’s worth downloading it and having a play around. I have found Gimp to be particularly useful in creating banner art.
If you want to add filters and light effects to your photos without having to use a phone/tablet then XnRetro seems to be the most useful thing around. The filters aren’t great, but the light effects are decent and you can adjust the colour balance and brightness of photos quite easily here.
Soo this is not photo editing software, as I’m sure you know, but it’s integral for the next bit. If you do not already have Dropbox installed on your computer and phone then DO IT. It’s such a quick way to transfer information. I just pick the photo I want to use on my computer and throw it in my Dropbox folder, then I open up my Dropbox app on my phone and from there I can import it into a photo editing app. Easy peasy.
I think it’s definitely worth running your photos through a good editing app on the phone/tablet. They just don’t make them as good for computer operating systems. VSCO is awesome and free. There are a few handy filters. The T1 filter (ie. the Lipstickwithsomesunshine filter) in particular is nice because it adds a faded, flattened effect to your photos. You can also adjust the brightness, colour temperature, fade, sharpness, etc on easily here.
This is the only tool that I actually paid for (not that I wouldn’t pay for the others) and it’s so worth the money. It has everything that you could need. It’s like VSCO cam with a ton of other options. There are more realistically usable filters, there are beautiful light effects and there are even dusty textures that you can overlay. And like VSCO cam you can adjust your brightness, colour temperature, fade and other bits here.
I recommend saving your photo as a PNG file before uploading it to your blog. I’ve found that Blogger (and I think WordPress too) overlays a gray tinge to JPG files. Saving it as a PNG will ensure it shows up bright and crisp on your site.