Ah, photography! The bane and the blessing of my creative life! I’ve always had great ideas about how I would like to capture a moment but with my ham-fisted ways, I seem to struggle in capturing the “essence” of what I’m photographing.
My usual approach to taking pictures has always been more of the “Point – Shoot – Pray” methodology. Imagine my joy when I discovered an alternative to my version of “PSP” with Corel’s PaintShop Pro!
Rather than talk about the great features available in the latest release of PaintShop Pro (of which there are many!) or about the technical highlights of the great tools, I thought I’d talk about PaintShop Pro X4’s ease of use in fully exploiting the creative process for the photographer!
To me, photography is such a personal exercise. I’m really a “snap shot” photographer with little understanding of the technical complexities carried out by skilled professional photographers – but I have visions of grandeur nonetheless every time I pick up my camera. For individuals like me, Corel’s PaintShop Pro X4 comes to the rescue!
Take a look at the snapshot I took of my son sitting quietly in his backyard club house. I was struck by the pensive look on his face. Once I had downloaded the image, I knew I had to do something special with it. Peter has such a wonderful imagination and tells fanciful stories of wild adventure and new experiences.
I wanted to capture the quiet moment in an otherwise exuberant boy’s life. I wanted to capture the majesty of this wonderful child’s imagination – PaintShop Pro X4 to the rescue!
The advantage I find with Corel’s PaintShop Pro X4 photo-editing software is that I spend less time trying to figure out the software and more time experimenting with my creative approach to a particular photograph. I am able to quickly establish what it is I want to focus on in my project and easily eliminate any distracting elements from the image. Once I’ve reached this point, I start to imagine the overall emotion of the moment, the nature and mood of my subject, and how I can best present this.
With this initial sense of direction, I try to experiment with establishing that mood. Using Layers in PaintShop Pro X4 gives me complete freedom to vary the mood through lighting, opacity, texture and more. I can quickly change from a somber mood to a more playful mood by adjusting the lightness and contrast of the image with a few simple keystrokes.
When removing elements that I don’t want in the final image, it certainly helps to have a drawing tablet and stylus! Trying to accomplish any detailed work within an image with a mouse is like trying to sketch with a brick! Sure, it can be done – but trust me! Your wrist and your sanity will benefit by using a capable drawing tablet and stylus. With this setup and the great eraser tools, it’s relatively easy to get rid of those distracting elements in your image and leave just what you want.
On the subject of setup, I’d add one more suggestion! Get yourself a dual monitor setup if you can. Corel’s PaintShop Pro X4 now supports dual monitor setup and it’s amazing how intuitive and fluid your efforts can be when taking advantage of that monitor real estate! I created multiple workspace setups to take advantage of the Dual Monitor support. Now, if I’m working a landscape image, I can easily select my customized Landscape Workspace. All my tools, palettes and menus are instantly placed on my portrait monitor leaving the landscape monitor with just the image! It’s like working with a real canvas on an easel with my brushes, pencils, and other media on a table next to me.
Having established a workspace that’s customized for how I want to approach a project, PaintShop Pro X4 provides me with the “tool box” I need to begin crafting the image I want. Like reaching into my artist’s tray, I can now put all my focus into creating the image I have envisioned without spending my time trying to figure out how to use the software.
Try it yourself! If you’re serious about capturing how you see an image in your mind, if you want to go beyond just fixing red eyes, cropping and other similar issues – if you really want to turn a snapshot into art – get your hands on Corel PaintShop Pro X4. See if your imagination will take you to worlds that never were.