A picture is worth a thousand words but a good-looking picture is worth much more

Avoid the use of poor images for your promotions. The most successful publicity photos look lifelike, convincing, and are free of distracting clutter. Professional Photoshop retouching is a great way to correct poor photos to maximise the performance of your images. Being concerned with maximising image quality whether for reasons of pride if nothing else, is beside the point, because in the end everybody wants their pictures to look good on the web and in print.

The temporary home for the Christchurch Convergence dance school post 2012 earthquake featured a makeshift dancefloor made of plywood sheets ‘joined’ with black duct tape. As a result every photo of students and classes is marred by the distracting and unwanted black grid.

The good-looking image is uncluttered by unwanted objects and blemishes

Editing out the unwanted grid in Photoshop allowed the subjects of every dance studio photo to shine out as the “hero” of the image.

To shoot candid photos of students in the dance studio, the photographer elected to shoot ‘news reportage’ style. The result is high ISO jpgs, with the aperture wide open and a shutter speed of 1/80 th of a second.

This shooting strategy does away for the need for the flash, but it results in colour images that are grainy or “noisy”. Also, because of the interior low light the skin tones even of young children will be blotchy, also unsightly colour casts of green and yellow that are less than flattering may result from shooting under fluorescent lights.

The relatively slow shutter speed increases the risk that the slightest movement of the subject or the camera will yield “soft” out of focus images, slightly blurry and lacking in sharp contrast.

Portrait photography is a genre where black & white images really shine. A good black and white treatment has a way of stripping unneeded information from an image helping to emphasize specific elements to the viewer without the distraction that colour can provide. For a dance studio website the conversion of these grainy images to black and white was an optimal choice for the hero images to be used.

Crop and straighten photos remove blemishes and unwanted objects

This photo captures the fun of the moment in this competition performance piece, but the original has some problems.

Cleaning up the image focusses the viewers’ attention on the subject.

To download the Before & Afterimage PDF click on this photo, or this link.

Clipping portraits from their backgrounds makes them very versatile

While the poise of the dancer caught in this moment is timeless and everlasting the imperfections of the original image are so distracting they subtract from her finesse.

Recomposing the shot and cleaning it up showcases the dancer’s grace and form as well as retaining a sense of place.

Once cut away from its background an image like this one becomes a very versatile publicity image that are used for many applications for print and web.

Colour & tonal correction make the image better looking

The first thing we always want to do is fix any overall tonal and/or colour problems in the image. These are commonly called “global” problems. Images that are underexposed and lacking in contrast like this one are fixed almost instantly. The image is straightened and the background elements are extended to the edges pretty quickly too.

Removing the specific blemishes and unwanted objects from the image is fixed with more time-consuming tools that take another level of specialised skills and expertise to yield the seamless result in the great looking edited image below.

Removing the specific blemishes and unwanted objects from the image yields a seamless result.

Unwanted objects impair the quality of photos

Unwanted objects impair the quality of images, making them vanish allows the simple beauty of this candid dance lesson photo to really shine.

Unwanted elements can distract from an otherwise eye-catching photo

A good black and white treatment strips away unneccessary elements and focusses the  viewers attention on the subject.

Because of the interior low light the skintones even of young children will be blotchy, also unsightly colour casts of green and yellow that are less than flattering may result from shooting under fluorescent lights.



Posters are a form of advertising that’s accessible and are quickly developed

Professional-quality campaign poster series are developed from great looking photos in a few minutes. Compared to other forms of advertising, posters are quick, easy and accessible means of getting the word out and building the right image for your campaign.

A professional’s camera will produce images that have better focus and more intention

As a photographer when asked by clients, “Can’t I just take good pictures by myself?” of course I’m going to advocate for my profession and say, “On balance it would be best to get them taken.” What my experience as a photographer and creative designer has taught me is a few things about the knowledge skill and care that goes into shooting a great photo, beginning with having the right equipment on the spot to do the job. Relative to amateur photography on compact cameras or phone cameras, it is better and more cost-effective to get your pictures taken professionally.

©magentadot brands

Advertising and promotional, Arts organization, Convergence Dance Studios, Documentary photography, Logos and symbols, People, Photography, Typography, Web design

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