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Post Production | Day 22

external hard drive for digital media photographyOkay – so you’ve done it. You’ve taken your photos and now it’s time to upload them onto your computer to see what you made! First let me say this, do this step as soon as humanly possible. Do not leave them on your memory card; get them on your computer, and backed up to your external hard drive or DVD immediately. Only when you have two backups should you reformat your memory card.

Not sure how to store and manage digital media? A couple years ago I wrote a 3-day mini series on digital media. It needs some updating, but it’ll get you started: Digital Media 1 | Digital Media 2 | Digital Media 3

This is where this gets really fun for me, ’cause this girl? loooooooovves Photoshop. Now, before I get too far and get carried away in my ballad to Photoshop, please know this: No amount of Photoshop can fix a bad photo. One of my photographer friends likes to say, “You just can’t polish a turd.” The word “turd”, although terribly crude, makes me giggle like a 12 year old.

Are you all still reading? I embarrass myself.

The point of that memorable-little-tidbit is to make you realize that Photoshop is an enhancement tool. It’s not a replacement for proper technique. And I’ve seen Photoshop bring back photos from near-death, but if your photo is out of focus – no amount of Photoshop will fix that. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Photoshop is such a cool tool that it’s become a verb, like Google and Windex. And while there are lots of cool post-production programs out there, none have acheived verb status. Not because they’re not good, but because Adobe has been the pioneer.

Try Photoshop free here.

Some other worthy post-production programs include:
Lightoom – the companion to Photoshop. Great organizational tool, too. – $299 – Free trial here.
Ps Elements – the little sister to the mighty Photoshop program – $99.00 – Free trial here.
Corel PaintShop Pro – often just called “PSP” in the biz lingo – $99.00 – Free trial here.
Gimp – GNU Image Manipulation Program – free
iPhoto – Mac’s version of photo-editing software
Picnik – free online, limited but one-click edits – free

Several brands like Canon, Kodak and even Creative Memories scrapbooking company have created programs to help you make more with your photos. And while I am going to address Photoshop here – many of these same things can be accomplished on your photo-editing software of choice.

I’ve created a very basic introduction to the Photoshop software. There are no tutorials in this video, it’s simply a tour – so if you’re already familiar with the program, I just saved you 5 not-very-interesting minutes.

Photoshop is absolutely NOT an mandatory thing with photography, but in today’s market – if you make money in photography, you’d be hard pressed to find a pro portrait, wedding or commercial photographer who doesn’t use some combination of Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw (comes boxed with Photoshop), Photoshop or something comparable. Photoshop is a fun, creative way to make edits to your images not possible in camera.

And Photoshop allows you to get really creative with your photos on your blog – with actions you can make fun collages like this one in about 2 minutes:

blog collage using MCP Actions Round It Blog Board

Collage made using MCP Actions *brand new* storyboard & template Photoshop actions. Just released today!

Over the next few days I will walk you through some of my most-requested Photoshop steps. Feel free to leave your requests in comments, and I will try to tackle as many as possible in this series and beyond. Many of the tutorials you’ll find here have comparable tutorials for other programs, so if you see something here you want to learn on iPhoto or PSP – chances are great the tutorial you want already exists.

Disclosure: this post is loaded with affiliate links. Thanks for shopping through m3b! It allows me to be motivated to make more tutorials and covers the costs of pricy screencasting software.


  1. Nice!
    Very good job with the screen cast.
    Now every time I read a post, I’ll hear your voice!

  2. I loved hearing your voice 🙂

    I do love photoshop too and MCP actions ROCK!

    I will be purchasing the new storyboard and collages too 😉 For those who don’t have photoshop you can make awesome collages on picnik.com


  3. “You can’t polish a turd” I say this to myself everytime I am trying to fix a really crappy picture. I just tell myself ” Krystal, you can’t polish a turd. So, just give it up and spend your time working on getting it better in camera”. I,m not at ll into bathroom humor but it is just a reality check for me.

  4. Thanks Darcy for all this work you’re doing to put together this information. I’m finding it all really helpful and appreciate it! I’d LOVE to know how to keep one portion of the photo color while changing the rest to black & white. I’m thinking I’d have to draw around the object in Photoshop and change the saturation and maybe some other things, but I’m just wondering if there’s not a short cut step to that or another program that does it different. I’m thinking that it seems hard to get a clean edge while drawing around something. My husband said that he could do it, so many it just takes practice. Which he has, but I haven’t played around in Photoshop enough to feel like I could do it without a lot of frustration.

  5. I just love you. You said turd.

    Those boys all have your beautiful eyes. (they are your boys…right?!)

    And also – do you know anything about Aperture?

    • I don’t know anything about Aperture. It came loaded on my MacBook Pro and I deleted it as soon as I got home, so I could keep the laptop running fast. But I know of at least one pro who uses Aperture exclusively for editing, and his work is STUNNING, so I know it can be very, very effective.

      Here is his blog – he is *awesome*: http://fxmixer.blogspot.com/


  6. Oh my goodness! Darcy, I can really see your Handy Man in your oldest and you in your middle child. Your baby a perfectly cute mix! Their photos look so gorgeous in that storyboard. (I’m kinda partial to cute kids and rounded corners.)


  7. I would really love a basic comparison of all the different Adobe products. I’m making do with Gimp, but long for the smoothness of Photoshop. Or do I want Lighroom? What’s Illustrator for? I try to explore these things on Adobe’s website, but end up getting overwhelmed.

  8. I would love to hear your take on how to use Lightroom effectively. I’ve been trying to figure out how to work in into my workflow and I can’t make it more time saving that what I do now….I need help 🙂

  9. Thanks for your instruction on Photoshop. I took a digital photo class in college and many of the details have escaped my memory.

    I found your blog through Catholic Gadget and love your photos (and the nicknames for your boybarians!).

  10. I love Photoshop Elements and Iphoto. My daughter loves picknic and bought the membership so she has more options.

    I would like to someday get Photoshop, but really Elements works great and more people are coming out with actions and textures that can be used with Elements.

  11. Sadly most of my photos fall under the “t-word” category. That’s right, I’m too immature to even spell it out. But I’m looking forward to learning the basics of photoshop. I’ve never invested in anything beyond free photo editing software (iPhoto, picnik, picasa) because I haven’t really felt that limited thus far. I’m sure you’re tutorials will blow the lid off of that idea!

  12. I love your blog – especially the info on photography. I use Photoshop and would love to learn how to lighten a certain area of the photo to make it look like it blends in with the rest of the photo. I find when I try to lighten a portion, it doesn’t look natural (ie: lightening just a face)
    Thanks!! Looking forward to more photog tips!

  13. This is one of the most helpful and delightful blog series’ I’ve ever followed! So inspirational and informative. Thank you! I’d vote for covering a simple work flow of what to do once you’ve copied over the photos. I always get bogged down by either processing every single photo or neglecting the pack in frustration. I use Elements.

  14. Okay, you’ve convinced me. It’s time to download (translation- pay) for some actions. Crap.

  15. Thanks Darcy!!! So helpful. PS is so intimidating to me so I can’t wait for more of your tutorials.

  16. Man, I’m so proud of you for that tutorial! You are providing people with some awesome info this month!!! XO

  17. I’ve always been intimidated by Photoshop, although my husband is pretty comfortable with it. He has been encouraging me to learn as well so I’m really looking forward to your tutorials!

  18. I like to call it…”slapping lipstick on a pig” (I have more girls than boys, al though the boy prefers the turd expression and giggles at the mere mention of it!)

  19. Darcy, I bookmarked this series way back when you were doing it to have on hand whenever the time came that I bought a dslr. The time has come, and I have done a lot of practicing already thanks to your tutorials. I now have to comment because you made dignifying comments about iphoto. I have never seen anyone give iphoto the time of day. It is one simply awesome little power tool if you ask me. Although I bombard apple frequently asking them to please add a text tool. It is the rare photo that I switch over to PSE to use the clone tool or do something fancier with the layers. Thank you for showing iphoto some love. 🙂 And thanks for a really great series!

  20. First of all I would like to thank you for a great series of articles. But there is one think I simply can’t agree. GIMP ISN’T A POST PRODUCTION TOOL!!! 😀 As the name suggests it’s a image manipulation program 😉 You don’t agree with me? In my opinion if a program doesn’t support RAW files it can’t be considered as a post processing tool… and GIMP doesn’t support RAW. It can support RAW by UFRAW plugin, but there is no “in-GIMP-integration” for RAW files. If you are looking for a post processing tool for Linux try UFRAW itself or a better program (IMHO) called RawTherapee (the 4.0 version).


  1. […] Photoshop is an enhancement tool by Darcy @ My 3 Boybarians: I loved this post because, being someone who loooooooves Photoshop [and photo editing in general], non-photography related people seem to think that a great photo is created with Photoshop…that you can take a really crappy picture, and suddenly make it okay in PS. Not. True. […]

  2. […] Photoshop is an enhancement tool by Darcy @ My 3 Boybarians: I loved this post because, being someone who loooooooves Photoshop [and photo editing in general], non-photography related people seem to think that a great photo is created with Photoshop…that you can take a really crappy picture, and suddenly make it okay in PS. Not. True. […]

  3. […] Post Production […]