I'm not blogging about the last chapter of our book that covers the same topic, but about my own personal experience with editing my photos.
I've never photoshopped any of my photos until last week. I used the Adobe Elements program in the Wood's Lab on campus and I had a great time tweaking my photos to make them look better. I have to say that I am overwhelmed with how much better you can make a photo look with only 20 minutes or so of work. After I got the hang of it, the only reason it really took me that long was because I'm a fairly indcisive person and I kept tinkering with things and jumping back and forth between ideas. The thing I had the most trouble with was deciding whether or not to use a warming filter or a cooling filter or none at all. I found that 9 times out of 10 I opted for the warming filter if I used either. I think that the cooling filter created a more unnatural feeling to my photos while the warming one highlighted my images, but I have to keep in mind that most of my photos incorporated yellows, oranges and reds, so a warming filter went better.
The clone tool is probably the coolest thing ever, at least as far as photoediting is concerned. It was so easy to use and before I knew about it I was ready to forgo some of my images because of little human elements that ruined them, but the clone tool came to the rescue and I was able to remove them.
The two things that I utilized the most were gradient filters and adjusting the light with the histogram. With these two tools you can turn any decent photo into a good or great photo. I don't remember what Adobe calls it, but I call it the spot gradient tool or being able to place a gradient tool over certain parts of the photo without darkening the rest. This came in handy when I had an extremely bright or washed out spot in a photo and I was able to darken it so that it wasn't too distracting, while not darkening out the main subject which I wanted to remain bright.
I've determined that for my photography needs I need to buy two things before I even purchase a new dslr. First I need a new powerful laptop and second Adobe Photoshop software. I can work with my point and shoot and still produce images that I think turn out nice, but to edit them so that they become great (in my opinion), I need a better computer and Photoshop. That new dslr seems even further away now, but I know that my current computer can't hack it with the file size of the raw photos or with the amount of memory required to run Photoshop. My only solution is to win the lottery.
On a different note, I want to thank Dave for all his help and information in getting me on my way to becoming a better photographer. I've always wanted to take a photography class and I feel I learned a great deal of useful information during the semester that will come in handy on my future adventures. Thanks!