Learn Photo Editing

Learn Photo Editing

This online course gives professional advice and instructions for how to photoshop pictures for any purpose that you could need them for. If you need to retouch your portraits, this gives you the tools to edit the image so that your model is sure to be happy with the results. If you need to create cartoon characters, you can learn how to do that in a very short amount of time. You can even learn the more advanced skills, like how to make facial features stand out in the picture without having to retouch the photo. You can learn how to take your normal photos and turn them into glossy, high resolution advertisements. Whatever skills you want to learn, and whatever application your photos will be needed in, this course can give you the tools that you need in order to create the most beautiful photoshoot that you've ever done. Continue reading...

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Image Editing Software

You need a graphics editing program either to create original artwork for your Web pages, or to crop and adjust your scanned or digitally photographed images. The software you need to adjust or crop photographic image files almost always comes bundled with the scanner or digital camera, so you don't need to buy separate software. I discuss auction images in Chapter 8, but the two image editing programs I use the most are Paint Shop Pro by Jasc Software (http www.jasc.com) and Adobe Photoshop Elements (http www.adobe.com).

Photo Editing

You can use an image editing program such as Adobe PhotoShop to decrease the size of the image before you use it. PhotoShop is a well-known, high-end program, but hundreds of inexpensive photo editing programs can resize digital photographs and also do much more. Such programs are usually bundled with digital cameras, scanners, new PCs, and even other software. Most will enable you to easily change the contrast, brightness, and sharpness. In other words, these programs act like a digital darkroom. You can make better photographs than you took. Whether you want to go to all that trouble is a personal matter, but if you have to change the size, it's usually little additional trouble to at least sharpen your photographs. You can see the photograph change as you make the adjustments. Chapter 19 covers image editing. All digital images must be in the GIF (.gif), JPEG (.jpg), or PNG (.png) format. Most digital photographs are in the JPEG format. The photo editing programs enable you to make...

Enhance Your Pictures

Despite your best efforts, sometimes you are just unsatisfied with the results of your picture taking. Fortunately, most digital cameras come with at least rudimentary picture-editing software, and if they don't, you can purchase programs designed for the novice photographer, the professional photographer, and everyone in between. Editing programs such as Adobe's Photoshop and Photoshop Elements allow you to change resolution, sharpen images, adjust color, and otherwise change several other image attributes (see Photoshop Quicksteps or Photoshop Elements 3 Quicksteps, published by McGraw-Hill Osborne, for more information on editing pictures).

Choose a Graphics Editor

Personally, I like a program called Adobe Photoshop Elements which, you'll be happy to know, comes bundled with many digital cameras. If you get this software along with your camera, you've got a great deal. Here are the kinds of things you should adjust with Photoshop Elements or another graphics program Adjust contrast and brightness The contrast of an image is the degree of difference between its light and dark tones. Brightness refers to the vibrancy or energy of the colors or shades of color in the image. Images displaying adequate levels of contrast and brightness are easier to view on a monitor. Photoshop Elements' controls are shown in Figure 8-7.

Using a Digital Watermark

You'll note that Photoshop Elements refers to a special digital watermark called Digimark.This is a special invisible watermarking technology marketed by an outfit called Digital Marketing, Inc. (www.digimark.com).This is a professional service,and they charge money for digitally encoding your images. It is not a part of the Photoshop Elements program. For now, or until your images become world famous, consider using the watermarking techniques described in this book before you're making enough money to do things with Digimark.

Other Graphics Editors

Photoshop Elements (and its big brother program, the professional graphics editor simply called Photoshop) are terrific programs, but they consume lots of memory and disk space. (Photoshop Elements 2 requires 128MB of RAM and from 150 to 350MB of hard disk space.) I also like the simpler Windows program Paint Shop Pro, by Jasc, Inc. (http www.jasc.com pspdl.html). If you are a Macintosh user, and you don't want to invest in a complex program like Adobe Photoshop Elements, Thorsten Lemke's GraphicConverter is a great shareware ( 35) graphics program. You can download or purchase it from http www.lemkesoft.de us_index.html. iPhoto is a free program that runs on any Mac that uses OS X find out more at http www.apple.com iphoto.

Creating a Simple Text Watermark

In Adobe Photoshop Elements, follow these steps to produce a simple text watermark on your images. 1. Cpen and prepare the image. Work with the image as necessary, described elsewhere in this chapter. The image should be all fixed up, cropped, resized, color corrected, and have all other photo-editing activities completed. In fact, you might have already even saved the image to disk. That's fine. Watermarking should be the last step. 2. Select the Text tool. In Photoshop Elements, the shortcut here is to press the T key. You'll see things change in Elements, reflecting the Text tool's options, as shown in Figure 4.24. Pay attention to the Font, Size, and Alignment buttons on the toolbar. 3. Choose white as the Text tool's foreground color. The quickest way to do this in Photoshop Elements is to press D and then X on the keyboard. Pressing D sets the default colors of black foreground and white background. Pressing X then switches them. 11. Flatten the image. JPEG images are composed...

Employing Image Editing Software and Services

EBay sellers use a wide array of image-editing software. As a matter of fact, some listing software has built-in mini-editing capabilities. Choosing software When you buy a digital camera, it will no doubt arrive with a CD that includes some variation of image-editing software. Give it a try. If it works well for you, keep it. If not, check out the two options we mention further on in this chapter. Every image-editing software program has its own system requirements and capabilities. Study the software that comes with your camera or scanner. If you feel that the program is too complicated (or doesn't give you the editing tools you need), investigate some of the other popular programs. You can get some excellent shareware (software that you can try before you buy) at www.tucows.com and www.shareware.com. Just because a program is elaborate (and pricey) doesn't always mean it's better for your purposes. Marsha used to be happy using Adobe Photoshop, but it's a large, expensive program...

Using Your Company Logo As a Watermark

Adobe Photoshop Elements is up to the task when you'd rather use a graphic image, such as your corporate logo, instead of text as a watermark. All you need to do is open the corporate logo or other graphic file in Elements. Copy the image, or select and copy the portion that you want to use.

Fixing Off Color Images

For example, suppose you have an image such as the one shown in Figure 4.7. To fix that orange tint in Photoshop Elements, choose Enhance Auto Color Correction. The orange tint is removed, yielding the result in Figure 4.8. Similar commands to Auto Color Correction can be found in other photo-editing programs. The name may be different, but the result is the same.

The Nifty Auto Smart Fix Command

Photoshop Elements has one command that does it all. It's automagic Choose Enhance Auto Smart Fix, or press Ctrl+M (Windows) or (+M (Mac). In a flash, your image is electronically wiped clean of all foul color imbalances, contrast, brightness, or other strange defects of light and mystery. Yes, it's the magic button you've been waiting for. (If only such a thing existed to clean up your word processing, eh )

Term LinG Live informative NDncDt and Genuine

This book does not contain detailed tips and tricks that you can use in photo-editing programs. Although this book covers only Adobe Photoshop Elements, you'll find that many of the features documented here appear in other photo-editing programs. These programs may not use the same commands in the same way, but the features are commonly available.

Fixing the Brightness and Contrast

Contrary to popular myth, adjusting the brightness on an image after it's taken does not increase the amount of light on the subject. You can do this only when you take the picture, and then it helps to slightly overexpose if you want more light. But in a photo-editing program, brightness and contrast serve two different but often related functions. As with other values set in your photo-editing program, the best way to set the brightness and contrast is to have it done automatically. In Photoshop Elements, you do so by choosing Enhance Auto Contrast. It's also possible to manually adjust the brightness and contrast. In Photoshop Elements, choosing Enhance Adjust Lighting Brightness Contrast opens the Brightness Contrast dialog box, as shown in Figure 4.10. With the Preview option checked, you can manually adjust the sliders beneath Brightness and Contrast to see what effect it has on your image.

Creating the Final Result

When you have both the product shot and the monitor or screen image shot, you're ready to use your photo-editing software to composite them. This is really an easy and amazing thing to do. The following is an overview, assuming that Photo 1 is the product image and Photo 2 was exposed to capture the monitor or screen. 1. Open Photo 2 in your photo-editing application. Start with the image that is properly exposed to capture the monitor or screen. 9. Choose Edit Paste to paste in the monitor from the previous image. In Photoshop Elements, the pasted image appears in a new layer. h 11. Save the file in the photo editor's native format. In Photoshop Elements, X choose File Save As. Use the Photoshop file format (PSD). Similarly, in what ever photo editor you're using, use that same application's format to save the image. This preserves the layers so that you can go back and reedit the image later, if needed. 12. Choose Layer Flatten Image. You need to collapse the layers in your...

Targeting Brightness and Contrast

You can use the Rectangular Marquee tool, but the image is at an angle, and the Rectangular Marquee tool just won't properly grab it. In Photoshop Elements, pressing L selects the Lasso tool. Better still, hold the mouse button down on the Lasso tool until a menu appears from which you can select the Magnetic Lasso tool.

Consider Getting Some Design Help

The business name shown in Figure 5-2 is a textual logo. It's difficult to create such a logo without the help of sophisticated graphics software like Adobe Photoshop (http www.adobe.com). It might be difficult to tell from Figure 5-2, but each Silk Road auction listing has a background image that seems to float behind the text and images. Such background images are another feature of HTML that you can use in your eBay auction listings. This particular auction listing uses an HTML table that the page designer has configured to have invisible borders for the layout, but it does include nice designs in each corner that are derived from the Tibetan endless knot design and that complement what's being sold. A consistent, professional appearance like this has a direct bearing on how many bids you get.

Working with Reflections

You can also use post-processing to correct the yellow cast. If you use the one-button Smart Fix in Photoshop Elements 3.0, you get a photograph with less yellow. See Photo 53. It still has a yellowish cast. If you use the one-button Levels in Elements, you should get a photograph without a cast. But you don't. See Photo 54, which still has a yellowish cast. Keep experimenting. If you try the one-button Colors in Elements (see Photo 55), the color is correct, and the photograph looks good. Indeed, with the color adjustment, the photograph of this highly reflective chrome cup looks representative of the real thing.

Basic Photo Editing Techniques

Today's photo-editing software is capable of amazing things. Most programs boast about libraries of routines, filters, techniques, tools, and a host of helpful options designed to let you do just about anything possible with your image. Mastering such software takes years. No one book could possibly cover everything these programs do, but the good news is that you don't have to use all the tools to get the results you want. It's perfectly okay to use just the basics of your photo-editing program. That is, you should understand how to save, zoom, rotate, crop, and resize and have a working knowledge of a few other handy tricks covered in this chapter. That's probably all you need to know to get the results you want especially if you followed this book's advice and did most of your work with the camera as opposed to fixing it later. These basic tools are available in just about every image-editing program. The steps that follow are specific to Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, but the end...

Quick touchup and FTP in Fast Photos

If budget is a consideration (and it should be in any business), you might be happy giving Fast Photos by Pixby Software a try. It's a simple, all-in-one photo-editing program designed especially for e-commerce and eBay sellers. The developer of the software knew exactly what capabilities online sellers need for their images and included just those nothing else cropping, JPEG compression, sharpening, resizing, enhancing, rotating, and adding watermark text and borders.

Do It Right the First Time

Thanks to the miracle of today's photo-editing software, you can fix just about any flaw in any photograph. That's nice, but it's distracting if you're shooting and thinking, Well, I can always fix it later. It's better to get the image right in the camera the first time than leaning too heavily on photo-editing software. You can still use the software to fix mistakes, but it's better to spend that 5 extra minutes setting up the best shot in the first place than to spend 50 minutes fumbling around in a photo-editing program. Yes, the photograph in Figure 1.18 can be spiffed up nicely using photo-editing software. But why spend a few hours in front of your computer when a few simple, less-is-more, objective rules can be applied to the object instead The result is the photo in Figure 1.19. Yes, all the differences between Figures 1.18 and 1.19 could have been achieved in the digital darkroom. But a little setup and attention to detail and no expense led to an image that needs little, if...

Graphies File Formats

Here are some common graphics file formats. Though this book speaks of only JPG, GIF, TIFF and RAW, you may encounter these other formats on the Internet or in your photo-editing application. This appendix explains what the formats are, lists their file extensions, and provides a brief description. Of course, all that should make sense at first glance. But this book's design requires some introductory text, which is what you're reading now. Photoshop This is the standard image format used by Adobe's Photoshop and Photoshop Elements graphics-editing programs. It's truly the best format in which to save your graphics files if you use Photoshop, but few other applications recognize or use the standard.

Fixing the Color Tone and Balance

Especially if you're using common lightbulbs in the lamps that are recommended in Chapter 2, you'll soon discover that all your images are cast with a dull orange hue. That's probably not the professional results you were expecting. But fret not. Handy commands are available in your photo-editing software to fix problems with tone, contrast, brightness, and other light issues. These are covered in the sections that follow.

Why Doesnt the Image Appear on My Monitor at

Your computer's monitor has a resolution of either 72 or 96 pixels per inch, depending on whether you have a Mac or PC, respectively.When you display an image taken at a resolution of 600 pixels-per-inch (or dots-per-inch,or dpi) on a monitor that can show only 72 pixels per inch, the result is one huge image. By using the Zoom tool,you can reduce the image's visible size in your photo-editing programs that you can see it all on the screen at once.This works regardless of the image's resolution.

Retrieving images from your cameras memory

Surprisingly, some digital cameras can even store your pictures without removable media Marsha (who's been known to be a bit ditzy at times) bought a new Nikon digital camera and started snapping away happily until she realized when hadn't inserted a memory card Yikes, had she lost all her images Nope, most of the newer cameras have their own internal memory that can hold many images in temporary storage. This memory is also useful when you want to do some in-camera photo editing. (See Chapter 16 for info on how to do this.)

Saving your photos to your hard drive

Once you've taken your pictures, you need to get the photos from your digital camera and onto the hard drive of your computer so that you can edit them. Your camera may have come with a memory card or a cable that hooks into your computer. My camera came with a USB cable that plugs right into my laptop. My camera also came with an editing program called Photo Impact, and this is what I use for editing. Editing programs are similar enough that I will walk you through the screens of Photo Impact, and you should be able to apply this knowledge to your program. However, keep in mind that there may be some differences, so you may need to play around with your editing program to find the same settings.

Zooming in on your subject

In Chapter 13, we talk about zooming in on the subject when taking your pictures, but when processing your pictures, zooming takes on a whole new meaning. Almost any image-processing program you decide to use will have a Zoom function. When you use this handy-dandy little feature to zoom in (for a closer look) or out (for an overall look) at your image, you have much greater control over its details. Before saving an image you've changed, make sure that the Zoom ratio displayed in the toolbar of your image-processing program shows the current viewing ratio as 1 1. A one-to-one ratio means the image you're viewing is the actual size of the image that will be saved.

Choosing an Image Editing Tool

There are plenty of image-editing programs available these days everything from simple shareware programs like IrfanView to high-dollar programs like Adobe Photoshop. I really like the program Paint Shop Pro from JASC. It's so straightforward and easy to use that it may even fully convert me over from PhotoShop, which I learned to use in my graphic-design days. It's reasonably priced and easy to learn. Understandably, JASC Software has become part of the eBay Community they sell their software on the site and have an eBay Store.

Other popular imageediting programs

There's a wide array of image-editing software used by eBay sellers. As a matter of fact, some listing software has built-in mini-editing capabilities (see Part X for more on third-party software for eBay). Choosing software for your images is like picking your office chair. What's right for some people is dreadful for others. You might want to ask some of your friends what they use and take a look at it. Some of the more popular image-editing software used for eBay includes these products l Ulead Photo Impact l Adobe PhotoShop Elements I Microsoft Picture It l IrfanView (a shareware program)

Digitizing Photographs

All we really need are a few simple photographs to use for our eBay auction ads, and we only have the time and money to take a few shots. It's not easy to always do our best photographic work with such time and money restrictions. That's where the image editing program comes in it's a digital darkroom.

Buy the Right Computer and Monitor

You have enough memory to run an image editing program as well, you should be able to sell successfully on eBay. However, the speed and quality of your computer, monitor, and other hardware can affect your auction experience. Capture digital images You're likely to get more bids if you provide a clear computerized image of your items by scanning them or using a digital camera (see Chapter 8). Saving the images on your hard disk can quickly consume storage space unless you delete the image files as soon as the sale ends. Running a good image editing program like Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements does require a lot of RAM, however.

Images and an Absence of Text

Many designers create much of the site in an image-editing program, then drop the images into pages. Some sites even contain all or most of the text in the images. Apart from the fact that in most cases this is a very inefficient way to build a web site and that doing so creates very large, slow-loading pages, it also creates pages with nothing for the search engines to index . . . pages that won't rank well in the search results.

Capturing Large Objects

Some objects are bulky or just downright heavy and therefore cannot be moved out of their environment. Things such as exercise equipment (weights, for example), TV consoles, furniture, large appliances, sporting equipment, and other bigger-than-a-breadbox items are best shot either subjectively or alone by removing the background in your image-editing program. Removing the background is demonstrated in Chapter 4 with examples shown in Chapter 6. But most of the time, you'll probably find that the background environment for the object is just fine or can easily be improved with a modest amount of tidying.

Data the Key to Business Success

Sooner or later you have to come to grips with it. eBay retailing is a digital business. It's tough to be successful without using auction-management software, image-editing software, and other key software aids that make an eBay retail business more efficient and more profitable. You don't need me to tell you that. What I'm here to tell you is that you need to understand databases too.


If you want to learn some more sophisticated post-processing techniques for your product photographs, you can start by mastering an advanced image editor such as Adobe Photoshop instead of Photoshop Elements. This is a major investment of your time and energy but a necessary one for advanced post-processing. Here are some techniques This is just the tip of the iceberg. What you can do is unlimited. Adobe Photoshop CS is perhaps the most robust and versatile off-the-shelf software you can buy today for any human endeavor. You can spend

Basic Processing

The post-processing for this book was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0. Although many other competing programs are adequate as well, this program was chosen for its robust capabilities and its reasonable price. Indeed, it has much of the capability of Adobe Photoshop CS, the leading graphics editor.

One Last Technique

Now that you have a proper and practical persepctive on photographic post-processing, let us cover one last technique Lightening shadows and darkening highlights. This is a fabulous technique for general photography and may be one you can use occasionally to either enhance a photograph you've taken or to save yourself the hassle of having to rephotograph an item. This capability is new to both Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements 3.0. Figure 18.1 Shadows Highlights panel in Photoshop Elements 3.0.

Sharpening the Focus

Ideally you want to ensure that the image you snapped was in focus. This is that extra care this book recommends you take before the image is snapped check the focus. But even then, nature and the elements might be working against you. Perhaps the best shot you got that day was slightly out of focus. Or maybe you want to know a photographer's secret about how to make a good picture look even better. Then what you need to know about is the Sharpen filters in Photoshop Elements. The filters are what make Photoshop Elements, and its big brother Photoshop, famous. By using the power of the computer, the filters can magically transform an image from one thing to another, making it look as if you've slaved for hours to get things just right. Sneaky, yes. But very practical. Note Some cameras have a built-in Auto Sharpen feature. If possible, try to disable it.The best time to sharpen is when you're editing an image in a photo-editing program, which gives you more control and options than...

Batch Processing

Batch processing is simply post-processing in Photoshop Elements 3.0 for more than one file at the same time. It can be a real time saver and is something you need to learn how to do. The first question that comes up is, When is batch processing appropriate It's appropriate when you have taken a series of similar shots in the same lighting environment, and the shots need post-processing. It also works for resizing, which you need to do for all your photographs. Learning batch processing is an opportunity to become more efficient that you don't want to overlook.

The Basics

You will need image-editing software to set up the processes covered by this chapter. There is so much competent image-editing software available that it would be a disservice to recommend any particular programs. However, I will mention that Adobe Photoshop Elements will be the featured software in eBay Photography the Smart Way. The reason for this is that Photoshop is the best image editor available at any price ( 650 list price), and Photoshop Elements ( 100 list price) has most of the functionality of Photoshop. Indeed, Elements is not only powerful software at a bargin price, but it's easy to use too. A popular freeware program that has a lot of image editing power is Irfanview (http irfanview.com). This might be a good starting place for you if you've never done any image editing.

Using Image Software

Why have an image software tutorial in an eBay book Hey It's fun to touch up your digital photographs for your eBay auction ads. And you will find a few other techniques useful too. Image editors range from Adobe PhotoShop at about 700 to freeware or shareware programs you can download from the Web. Some are quite easy to use. Some are incomprehensible. But we will attempt only a few simple things and leave the more incomprehensible programs to professional photographers and those who want to learn a lot more.

Resizing Images

To resize an image, follow these steps 1. Choose the Image Resizing command from your photo-editing program. In Photoshop Elements, choose Image Resize Image Size to open the Image Size dialog box, shown in Figure 4.4. Note After reducing the image's size, a good command to choose for viewing the image is Actual Pixels. In Photoshop Elements, choose View Actual Pixels. If you're required to size an image based on its file size as opposed to its dimensions, use the values at the top of the Image Size dialog box to help you confirm approximately how much space the image file uses. In Photoshop Elements, for example, it might say 175.8K (was 18.0M), which means that the image now uses 175KB of disk space whereas the original image was 18MB in size. Note Generally speaking,you don't want to use the Resize command to make an image larger.This book recommends taking your pictures at the highest resolution that your digital camera is capable of. When you do that, you'll be reducing image...


There are plenty of photo archive programs around (photo albums, photo catalogs, etc.). Photoshop Elements 3.0 comes with one. Adobe sells another one called Adobe Photo Album. There are dozens of these programs available. Your first task is to pick one with which you feel comfortable (i.e., one which you find easy to use). Once you've picked a program, you need to learn to use it in such a way that it makes sense to you. That means you'll need to dig into the manual and practice what you learn until you can run the program well.

Golly I Goofed

The easiest way to undo a mistake in a photo-editing program is to press Ctrl+Z (Windows) or g)+Z (Mac), the Undo keyboard command.This shortcut is common to all computer programs. However, there may be some things that cannot be undone, or perhaps a sequence of things is done but undoing them turns out badly. In that case, the only thing to do is use the Revert command. The Revert command discards the current document and all its changes and modifications and simply reloads the document you're working on. Any changes made since the document was last saved are gone.Such an act is like starting over afresh, and often it's necessary, which is why most photo-editing programs come with such a command. In most photo-editing applications, the Revert command is right there on the File menu. In Photoshop Elements, however, choose Edit Revert To Saved.

Setting the Levels

To automatically set the levels in Photoshop Elements, choose Enhance Auto Levels. You'll notice the image immediately clears up shadows are dark, highlights are light, and the colors look right. You can also manually set the levels in Photoshop Elements. Follow these steps 1. Choose Enhance Adjust Lighting Levels to open the Levels dialog box, as

Cloud Dome

If you're going to attempt to photograph jewelry, collectible coins, or other metallic items, you'll quickly become frustrated at the quality of your pictures. (Touching up the pictures in PhotoShop is a time-wasting option.) Metallic objects pick up random color from any kind of light (other than true color) you shine on them for picture taking. Gold jewelry will also photograph with a silver tone and silver will look goldish

Rotating Images

When you take a picture in portrait mode, however, your digital camera probably won't recognize that it's been turned 90 degrees. So when you view the image in your photo-editing program, it appears sideways. The way to get it back to a proper orientation is to rotate it. Photo-editing programs come with a Rotate tool, but that's primarily used to rotate items in layers for special effects. When it comes to rotating an image from landscape to portrait mode (or vice versa), you'll want to use the traditional Rotate commands found in a menu. In Photoshop Elements, the commands are on the Rotate menu (choose Image Rotate). The five handiest commands are shown in Table 4.2. Most photo-editing programs also have a Free Rotate command. Again, that works best for special effects and is not specifically designed to change the orientation of the image you're editing. For example, you've taken an image in portrait mode, which the camera doesn't understand, so the result in your photo-editing...

Camera requirements

One consideration when choosing a new camera is the software that comes bundled with your camera. The main use for your camera's software is to crop and resize photos, with some adjustment to contrast and brightness. Most cameras come with a software program that's suitable for these tasks. Many cameras are now shipping with Photoshop Elements, a limited yet very capable smaller brother to Photoshop (which is frightfully expensive).

The Digital Darkroom

You can do amazing things with image editors. Using color graphics is highly complex technology that's impossible to understand without a lot of study. The top programs have extensive and robust capabilities. Using Adobe PhotoShop proficiently, for instance, entails applying it to specific graphics activities. You can spend months, or even years, This program was picked because it is a freeware program that you can download from the website mentioned. It's a capable program, but there are commercial programs that offer additional functionality and convenience. If you do a lot of image preparation work, you might consider buying a program like the popular PaintShop Pro for about 100 or for about the same price a copy of Photoshop Elements (http www.adobe.com), a slightly less robust version of Photoshop, the leading image editor. Today a computer or a video card (powers your monitor) usually comes bundled with an image editor. If you know you have one, try it on some digital...


Look at Photo 3 (a car Joe purchased on eBay for 7,800). The specular highlights are almost too much, but not quite. The highlights have been toned down during post-processing by adjusting Shadow Highlights in Photoshop Elements 3.0. This post-processing together with custom Levels and custom Brightness Contrast adjustments have turned the intense specular highlights into sparkles, which give the car an attractive look. You wouldn't want the photograph to have more sparkle than this, but some sparkle for certain car shots may help your sales.

Cost Effectiveness

You really have to take a hard look at cost-effectiveness when you get into advanced post-processing. For instance, Joe sold an Olympus OM-4 film camera with four lenses on eBay in 2003 that he had owned for 18 years. After he photographed the camera and lens in a one-hour session with a 3-MP Canon A70, he spent another hour tweaking the photographs in Adobe Photoshop (see Photo 77). He sold the camera and lenses (camera set) for over 2,000. Was the postprocessing worth his time and effort

Compositing an Image

Photo-editing program might fully and easily be able to mask that chip in your photograph of Grandma's china, it's something you shouldn't attempt. In one area, however, you might want to consider using a bit more of the power of your photo-editing program. The idea here isn't to fool the buyer, but rather to underscore this book's main theme, which is making your product look good. That is, creating a composite image.

Pictures Sell

To add a picture to your listing, you first have to have a photograph of your item. The easiest way to do this is with a digital camera make sure the photograph is sized to no more than 300 x 300 pixels. (If you can't set picture size from within your camera, use a photo editing program such as Photoshop Elements to perform the resizing.) Once the picture file is on your hard drive, you can add it to your item listing from the Sell Your Item page.

Bye Bye Background

A grand trick to pull is to yank an object from its environment and render it by itself. Normally, you set such an object on an infinite horizon. But sometimes that's just not practical, especially for large objects. The trick is to use photo-editing software to eliminate or obscure the background. You can then ensure that focus is on the object itself and not on its environment. As an example, Figure 4.17 shows a lamp in an environment that's not going to help it sell one iota. Suppose it weren't possible to put the lamp on an infinite horizon or in any other, better location. Therefore, the solution is to use the photo-editing program to remove the background. The key here is to properly use the photo-editing software's selection tools to remove the background. That does require some effort. Note You can save some time in advance when you need to use this trick by removing as many obstacles as possible. For example,in Figure 4.17, you can remove the chair and place mat, making it...

Dealing with Shadows

Note It's also possible to eliminate all shadows and surrounding material around an object in a photo-editing program.This is demonstrated in the next chapter. If you're having a great deal of trouble eliminating a shadow, as a last resort you can manually adjust the camera so that the image is overexposed. To do so, leave the aperture setting the same but slow down the shutter speed, say from second down to V3o or Vis. The extra exposure will help pull in detail for the shadow areas. The image can then be adjusted using photo-editing software.

Post Processing

In addition to taking the time and energy to provide an advertising setting for certain of your items, it makes sense also to spend extra time editing the images. Again, it's all a matter of cost-effectiveness. Image editing is one of the most time consuming tasks in the history of mankind. It's very easy to get carried away with it. You just feel compelled to get that photograph perfect. And image editing software enables you to do so. But not without a lot of work

Image Markup

The size of the digital photograph remains the same, but the browser reduces the image shown in the webpage (the ad) to 400 X 300. This does not reduce the download time but saves you the task of image editing. This is not a recommended procedure, primarily because it causes an unnecessarily long download time. Note that when you do shrink a photograph, you need to maintain the aspect ratio (the ratio of the width to the height), or your photograph will become distorted.

Case Study

I took many photographs and selected four photographs of the camera body and three photographs of each lens for a total of 16 photographs to include in the auction ad. This may seem like a lot, but this is a bigticket auction that requires generous photographs to maximize the sale price. My equipment was in like new condition, and the photographs demonstrated that fact. I even took care to enhance the photographs with image editing software to sharpen them a bit.


From your archive, you will need to upload your photographs to the place on the Web you have chosen to make them available (see Chapter 19). Some archive programs have the built-in capability to do this for you. If you can use an archive program or image editor to do this for you, that's great. Do it. We recommend, however, that you consider using an FTP program such as the Ipswitch WS_FTP (http ipswitch.com) to upload your images to the Web. It might be easier than using an archive program or image editor, and it will likely provide more functionality and flexibility. Then too, you will be able to continue to use it knowledgeably even if you switch image editors or archive programs.

Theres More

Image editors offer a lot more than this chapter covers. Some offer much more than others. You can spend as much time and energy as you want processing photographs. You have two steep learning curves to climb. The first is technical. Color is highly technical as is the digital technology that makes color possible on a computer. The second is artistic. To make good graphics, whether photographs or anything else, you have to have some artistic skills.

File Formats

There are many graphics file formats. Whatever you start with, you must eventually convert your photograph to a GIF (.gif) or JPEG (.jpg) format. You can also use PNG (.png) format, but it doesn't work in early Web browsers. Most image editors will convert photographs from one file format to another. Simply save in the file format you want.

Sequential Labeling

Let's say you run it through a batch process as explained in Chapter 17. The result of the batch processing is that you should have improved digital photographs. You might want to save these files with a hyphen and the letter c or just the letter c without the hyphen. Again, you can store these in the same folder as the previous files or in a separate folder. Now, when you look at all your photograph files, you can tell which ones are the camera originals, which ones are the work copies, and which ones are the processed copies. The ones you will use for your eBay ad are the ones labeled c. The batch processing capability in image editors often includes the capability to rename files (i.e., the batch processing can add the c automatically).

Photo Websites

There are a large number of websites that enable you to store your photographs. At some of them, you can store your photographs for free. At others, you will have to a pay a nominal or even a substantial monthly fee to store your photographs. In addition to storing your photographs, a lot of websites have features that enable you to do other things with your photographs. For instance, you might be able to look at them in an album (catalog), use an online image editor to edit them, or otherwise manage them. Each website that offers such services bears investigation so that you can find something that matches your work style. As you'll read in Chapter 20, you will want to be able to use your naming system to make sense of your photographs wherever you store them on the Web or offline.


Now it is time to edit your photos to make them ready for eBay. Look at every single picture, and then compare them all and choose those with the brightest, most in focus, and best angles to edit. In the old days, we used to have to do a lot to our pictures. Not anymore. Most digital cameras do such a good job that not much editing is needed. I discuss the basics here, which includes the following

Illicit Merchandise

I was offered a copy of Adobe PhotoShop, a 700 program, an unspecified version on a CD, for just an additional 15. I had in the past bought legitimate expensive software (old versions) for very deep discounts on eBay (on CDs) just as I am able to do at local computer shows, so I accepted the offer without thinking much about it. When I received the book, the additional software (an up-to-date version of the PhotoShop) was on a recordable CD, not on a manufacturer's CD (i.e., the additional software was pirated). The seller maintains low visibility by not offering the pirated software on eBay. Rather she offers it via email in the course of arranging the payment and the shipping of the book for a winning bidder. Then about a year later I bid on a version of Adobe PhotoShop in a current auction. Afterward I received a deluge of email from people offering to sell me current copies of the program for 15- 50 (undoubtedly pirated). This is called bid skimming. I went to eBay SafeHarbor,...

Learn Photoshop Now

Learn Photoshop Now

This first volume will guide you through the basics of Photoshop. Well start at the beginning and slowly be working our way through to the more advanced stuff but dont worry its all aimed at the total newbie.

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