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Picasa es su Casa

A few days ago I mentioned the little photo op I took with my friend Jana and her family.  Now, I'm definitely no professional, but I guess I did alright when I took some photos of their baby girl, Brin, at her 1-year birthday party...so I got the gig!

So, last weekend, the family and I took a little road trip to a little town with some old-fashioned charm, called Globe...and though the drive was a little long, we truly struck gold when it came to finding unique backdrops for the family photos.

When we got back I took a shot at photo editing with Picasa software from Google.  It's a free download, and I found it to be fairly simple to use, so I thought I'd share some of my amateur photo-shooting-and-editing-tips-recommendations-and-so-forth.  Let's take a look at some before-and-afters...

The Original:

The Edit:

All that I did here was crop the image, and adjust the shadows, which I found enhanced the colors by bringing out the deeper reds, and bluer-blues.

The Original:

The Edit:

Again, the edits for this photo required just a quick crop, and adjustment to the shadow setting.  Noticing a trend?

This was an amazing backdrop that we found...a painted mural in an alleyway!  It was fun to watch the kids as they admired the details of the mural.

Aren't they adorable?

Sorry, I got a little side-tracked...let's get back to the photo-editing stuff...this was a "moment" shot that I caught of the boys.  What's a "moment" shot, you ask?  Well, I'm not sure that it's the official term, but to me that just means a shot that wasn't posed or planned for...it just happened...and those are my favorite kind of shots!

The Original:

The Edit:

For the edits on this shot I did the usual with the cropping and shadow adjustment, but I also played around with a setting called "Focal B&W."  Basically, all that means is that you pick an area of the photo where you want to show color and the rest of the photo is in black & white.  I thought it looked pretty cool on this pic because of the road background, but what do you think?

Here's one of the girls that we took in front of a super-cool wall with old writing...

The Original:

The Edit:

This edit just involved a simple adjustment to the lighting settings and the shadow settings.  Since we were shooting in mid-day, a lot of the original photos were a bit to bright when it came to the lighting.  Luckily, it's really simple in Picasa to adjust the lighting on your images.

And last one...

The Original:

The Edit:

This one was a fun edit.  It involved a little bit of cropping, lighting/shadow adjustment, but also some soft focus, and some focal B&W.  I think it makes the leaves in the background look much more interesting visually, than in the original.

So, why am I sharing a post about photography, rather than DIY and home design?  Well, there are a few reasons.  First, I thought it was fun...and second, I wanted to show you that you can DIY a photography shoot, just like you can DIY things around the home.  Combine what you've learned from this post, along with my SheKnows.com article, How to Create an Inspired Portrait Wall, and you've got a recipe for successfully displaying photos of your family throughout your home.  

See, you knew I'd tie it in somehow, right?

Have any of you DIY'd your family photography shoot?  What are some cool places you go for interesting backgrounds?  Does anyone use another type of free software like Picasa from Google?  While Picasa is definitely not Photoshop, or Lightroom, I was pretty impressed at what it could do, and I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who is looking to make some quick edits to their photos.

PS...I just noticed that this post went up at 11:11 pm.  Make a wish!




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