• Give yourself a safety net. Instead of working with the original digital image, make a copy of the image and edit that with your software. This way, if you goof up, you’ll still have your original image intact.
• Clone or copy. To repair creases, smudges, tears or other mysterious spots on your images, use your photo editing software’s cloning or copying tool. These options work by filling in flaws with similar elements of the picture. Try zooming in on the defective area to use these tools most effectively.
• Bust that dust. Remove scratches and dust marks by using the radius and threshold tools. Set both as low as they’ll go, then gradually increase the radius to find the setting at which the photo’s imperfections will disappear. Since this will also blur your image, try bringing the threshold all the way up and then gradually decrease it until you again find the setting that rids your photo of dust and scratches. If you’re only trying to remove a few large spots, try zooming in and editing the areas by hand with a cloning, smudge or paint tool.
• Banish red eye. Most picture editing programs feature a red-eye removal tool. In a pinch, you can also use the pencil and paintbrush tools.
• Use special effects. Employ the brightness tool to bring light back to darkened photos. Try the contrast tool to enhance middle color tones, and use the saturation tool to add depth to faded pictures. And if you’re feeling really creative, experiment with sepia tones to achieve a vintage look.
When you’re happy with your photo, use the unsharp mask tool to bring your image back into focus before saving. Now that you’ve crafted a perfect photo, why not show it off?
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