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Present Your Photos

There are times when you need to take photos of your art work and present it electronically in the best light. How do you do this? This is one of the ways that I found that works.

Step 1. Take the photo.

I use a painter’s easel for this. Your work can be leaned against a box on a table if need be. The important thing is to get the light source coming over your shoulder onto your art work. I prefer day time inside.

Camera Settings:

Take three photos. The first with the correct exposure, one underexposed, and one overexposed. I use one stop only but experiment for different effects.

Download these three photos to your computer and open them in PhotoShop. These are my set of three. The difference is not easy to see but it is there.

Step 2. Put them together.

Float the three images in PhotoShop.

Window → Arrange – Float All in Windows

Pick any one of them to be the base then just drag the other two into this base picture. Look in your layers pallet to see the three of them there.

Save this immediately AS ANOTHER NAME. This is so that you always have your initial photo. Close the other two photos.

Next ensure they are lined up properly. There are a number of ways to do this. I turn the visibility off on the top two layers individually and move the picture if necessary to line up with the bottom layer. You can also select all layers and use the centre alignment tool horizontally and vertically.

Layer order doesn’t matter however I try to put the first one taken on the bottom. Experiment for different effects.

Step 3. Grid them up.

As you can see, perspective is still an issue regardless of how careful I am, but that’s no big deal.

Next I drag grid lines from the rulers at the top and left side until they are touching the edge of my art work.

Double click on the Background layer and save as Layer 0.

This picture shows the grid work.

Step 4. Remove edges.

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) with no feathering. Drag from the top left corner of this grid to the bottom right. If you have Snap to Grid selected in Preferences, the selection will follow the grid and should make a square of marching ants on the boxed grid lines.

That’s the part you want to keep so:

Select → Inverse

to select what you DON’T want.

In the layers pallet, select each layer then delete. This operation won’t work if all layers are selected. If the Background layer was still locked, it would leave a white area instead of transparent area.

Step 5. Fix perspective.

Deselect the marquee (CTRL D) then select all layers (use the SHIFT key) on the layers pallet.

Edit → Transform → Distort

Drag each corner up, down, out or in so that your art work alone is in the frame. Accept the changes (click the tick on the Options Bar).

Remove the excess edges as per Step 4.

Image → Trim

Last stage - In the layers pallet, change the blending mode of the top two layers to Overlay.

File → Save for the web → select PNG-8 and relevant size.

Final product