BEFORE YOU BEGIN
139 Set Up and Take a Picture
140 Use the Web to Get a Digital Picture
134 Add Pictures to Your Auction
No matter how good a photographer you are, you'll most likely have to edit your picture before you post it on your auction page. Perhaps you didn't frame it perfectly , or the lighting is off, or you have to reduce or enlarge itthere are many reasons you might have to edit the photo you've taken.
Many software products can help you edit your images, but for the balance between ease of use and power, you can't do better than Paint Shop Pro. This graphics editor offers a powerful set of editing tools, yet it is surprisingly easy to use. And it even includes one-click picture clean-ups to make editing photos even easier.
You can try the program for free before deciding whether you want to buy it. Go to www.jasc.com and download the trial version. If you decide to keep it, you have to pay $80$100, depending on how you buy it. You can buy it straight from the Web or from retail outlets, and the price of the application varies from place to place.
141. Edit the Picture
Another excellent choice is Adobe Photoshop Elements. You can try the program for free before deciding whether you want to buy it. Go to http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelwin/main.html and download the trial version. If you decide to keep it, you have to pay $99.99. You can buy it straight from the Web or from retail outlets; the price of the application varies from place to place.
If you want a less-powerful but lower-priced piece of software, try LView Pro, which costs $39 without a manual or $70 with a manual. You can also try it for free before deciding to buy it (visit www.lview.com). You can buy LView Pro directly from the website.
Editing photos can be very complicated, but here I cover the most basic tasks you'll use for preparing a photo for posting on eBay.
Paint Shop Pro has an incredible number of tools for editing graphics and photos. To learn about all of them, get Paint Shop Pro in a Snap (published by Sams Publishing).
Crop the Photo
Probably the most common problem when taking digital photos or using digital photos is that the picture hasn't been framed properly. Perhaps it takes up only part of the screen or isn't centered. Or maybe you've gotten a photo that has several items in it and you're selling only one of them, so you want to get rid of the rest of the images. In all these cases, you have to crop the photo.
KEY TERMCrop To take out sections of a photograph, leaving behind only the part of the photo you want to remain .
When you crop a photo, you permanently remove the parts of the photo outside the crop area. Before cropping a photo, you should make a copy of the image file so you have the original if you're not pleased with the crop.
Resize the Photo
Another common problem is that the photo is too large or too small to fit on the auction page. In that case, you have to resize the image. To resize an image, open it in Paint Shop Pro and then select Image, Resize from the menu or press Shift+S .
The Resize dialog box appears. In the Pixel Dimensions area, click the up arrow next to the Width or Height label. When you click the up arrow, you enlarge your photo size; when you click the down arrow, you reduce the photo size . Note that the width and height measurements are lockedif you change one dimension, the other changes automatically so that you don't distort the image.
Finding the exact size of a photo in inches is easy to do in Paint Shop Pro. With the image open, select Image, Image Information from the menu bar; you are shown the image size in pixels as well as in inches.
When you click Width or Height , you reduce the photo size by a percentfor example, if you select 105 , you're making the photo 105% of its original size. If you want to instead change by pixels, click the drop-down Percent box and select Pixels .
Rotate the Photo
Sometimes you need to turn your camera sideways to fit in the entire item, or for some other reasons, the photo is rotated improperly. You can easily fix that in Paint Shop Pro. Open the image file and select Image, Rotate . If you want to rotate the image clockwise 90 ‚ °, select Rotate Clockwise 90 ; if you want to rotate the image counterclockwise 90 ‚ °, select Rotate Counter-clockwise 90 ; if you want to rotate the image in any other direction, select Free Rotate . In the Free Rotate dialog box that opens, select the direction in which you want to rotate the picture, specify the number of degrees you want to rotate it, and click OK .
Remove the Background
You might have taken a photograph of the item that includes a distracting background. With Paint Shop Pro, you can easily remove the background to create a photograph that includes only the item itself. Open the photo file in Paint Shop Pro and select the Background Eraser tool from the Tool palette on the left side of the screen. (The Background Eraser tool might be hidden under the Eraser tool, so click the arrow next to the Eraser tool to see the Background Eraser tool.)
A menu appears across the top of the screen, allowing you to change a variety of options for how to use the Background Eraser tool, including how large to make the tool itself, the shape of the tool, and similar options. Until you're more familiar with the tool, leave those options as is. However, to make erasing easy, you might want to use a large eraser when erasing large areas and a small eraser when you need to erase the areas directly surrounding the item. To change the size of the eraser, click the up and down arrows next to the Size box.
After you're done erasing the background, save the file.
Adjust the Brightness and Contrast
Brightness and contrast are major problems for many photos. The photo you took might be too bright or too dark; it might not have enough contrast or too much contrast. To adjust the brightness and contrast, open the photo file in Paint Shop Pro and press Shift+B . The Brightness/Contrast dialog box appears. The left side of the dialog box shows a portion of the original image; the right side shows the same image, but this version changes as you change the brightness and contrast settings in the dialog box. (With the side-by-side comparison, you can see the results as you work.) To change the brightness and contrast, click the up and down arrows next to Brightness and Contrast . When you're done, click OK .
If you want to have Paint Shop Pro automatically adjust the brightness and contrast for you, select Adjust, Brightness and Contrast, Automatic Contrast Enhancement . The Automatic Contrast Enhancement dialog box appears. Click OK to use Paint Shop Pro's recommended settings. (You can also adjust the settings in this dialog box; when you're done, click OK .)
Use One-Step Photo Fix
Photos can have a wide variety of problems beyond brightness and contrast, such as ragged edges and images and more. It can be difficult and time-consuming to fix them all yourself. Paint Shop Pro offers a one-step photo fix that fixes them all for you automatically. Open the photograph file in Paint Shop Pro, click the Enhance Photo button, and select One Step Photo Fix . The fixes are all automatically made to your photo. Save the photo after the changes have been made.