Great photo editing tips for designers

By Richard Epps, Presentation Editor, The Detroit News

Jeff Neumann of The Denver Post gave designers a number of valuable tips for photo editing in his session this morning.

“Cropping is the greatest tool a designer can use to influence the page,” Neumann said.

Neumann explained the rule of thirds to the group, suggesting designers draw a “tic tac toe” board across a photo and try and crop a photo so that the most important part of the photo intersects with one of the areas where the lines intersect. “This can make the photos much more dramatic,” Neumann said.

Neumann also showed some amusing example of “mergers,” where an object intersects with the subject of a photo to create unintended effects. He showed a photo of President Barack Obama in which the background behind him made it appear as though there was a large object coming out of his head.

Neumann spoke about paying attention to the lines in a photo, and whenever possible to look for photos with diagonal lines, as opposed to horizontal or vertical lines. An example he showed was of President Obama stepping onto Air Force One, where the image was shot from the opposite end of the airplane, so a diagonal line was created leading along the airplane to where the president was standing.

He said he tries to stay away from photos in which there are words in the background, a situation that often happens with billboards at sporting events.

He also suggested staying away from selecting photos in which a person is holding a portrait of someone else, often a loved one who has passed away. “This woman is not just a prop,” Neumann said when showing his example of a mother holding a portrait of a deceased loved one. Neumann suggested running the image of the deceased person as a secondary image, and going with a more emotional image of the main subject.