Grin, Grimace and Squeak!
Ok, so you've taken your photos in natural light against a good backdrop and now you are ready to edit. For this, may I suggest using GIMP, a free downloadable editing suite which does pretty well everything the expensive ones do, only it doesn't cost you anything and I find it much easier to use. Even better, most of the people who've done online tutorials do so in plain english with pictures- like this :) So, first up, visit the website, click the download button and choose the one that suits your computer.
Next up, you need a photo....we'll use that purple mask again for this so you can compare the end results. It has been cropped and resized to 1000 pixels wide at a resolution of 150dpi so it's already the right size, we just have to make it look pretty. These tips work with most editing suites so if you already have one, you can still play along.
When you have opened your photo in GIMP, look to the top bar where your options are and click on 'colours', then from the drop down menu select 'levels' and a little box will pop up that looks like this.
That black mountainous shape represents the light levels in your photo. You can see that there is a big gap at the right hand side where the brightest parts should be, you want to grab the little white triangle at the bottom of that bit and start dragging it across to the left. You will see your picture getting brighter as you go. When it looks about right, click ok at the bottom of that box and that's your levels done.
Moving the other arrows changes the brightness of your shadows and mid tones- have a play and see what you get. It's a much more subtle, controlled way of doing things than the old 'brightness and contrast'.
When you save your picture, give it a good descriptive name like 'purple wire mask' so that it will show up in image searches- we get a lot of traffic that way !
In the next post, we will be getting the colour balance right and looking for fluff- see you then :)