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How to Adjust Your Etsy Photos with Picasa

Even the best Etsy product photos can use a little tidying up. For example, you may want to adjust the image’s brightness or contrast, tweak the color in an image to make it really pop, or crop the image to make your subject stand out.

Don’t use image-editing software to try to “fix” a bad photo. Some photos — photos that are dark, blurry, or otherwise foul — are simply beyond repair. Image-editing programs are for enhancement purposes only.

Fortunately, any number of image-editing programs are available to you, ranging in price from free to the cost of your arm and your leg. If you use a Windows PC, you can also use the Paint program, which came free with your computer. Yet another option is to use the software that came with your digital camera.

Unfortunately, covering the ins and outs of all programs is difficult. But to give you a basic idea of how it’s done, the following instructions use Picasa, a free online photo-editing service, to fix your photos. (Note that the steps outlined here pertain specifically to Windows 7. If you use a different version of Windows, or a Mac, the steps may be slightly different.)

You can download and install Picasa. (Note that you must have an account with Google to download and install Picasa.)

Before you install Picasa, be sure to copy the images you want to clean up from your camera to your computer. Picasa will automatically detect all images on your hard drive.

Adjust your photo’s exposure and color

Suppose that your photo is a little bit dark. Or maybe your subject is slightly washed out. In either case, you can adjust its exposure. In addition, you can tweak the color. Here’s how:

  1. Launch Picasa as you would any other program.

    Picasa opens in Library view, displaying thumbnail versions of images on your hard drive.

  2. Navigate the folders on the left side of the screen to locate the image you want to clean up.

    image0.jpg

    Alternatively, you can search for the image by typing its name in the Search field in the upper-right corner of the screen.

  3. Double-click the image you want to open.

    Picasa displays the image in an editing window.

    image1.jpg

    The Commonly Needed Fixes tab (the one featuring a wrench) offers several tools for adjusting your image’s exposure and color.

  4. For a quick fix, click the I’m Feeling Lucky button. Alternatively, click the Auto Contrast and Auto Color buttons individually. To adjust the fill light, drag the Fill Light slider.

    If you don’t like how the image looks with the new settings applied, simply click the Undo button.

How to crop your photo

If you’ve captured some extraneous items in your image, or you simply want to focus it more tightly on your piece, you can crop it. Here’s the drill:

  1. Click the Crop button.

    Picasa assumes you want to set the dimensions of the crop manually. Other options are available from the drop-down list that appears.

  2. Click in the image and drag to create a box.

    This indicates where the cropping should occur. The area of the image outside the box will be cropped from the image.

  3. To move the box, click inside it and drag it until it covers the part of the image you want to keep. To resize the box, click any of its four edges and drag inward or outward. To resize the box but keep its proportions intact, click any of its four corners and drag inward or outward.

    image2.jpg
  4. Click the Apply button.

    Picasa crops the image. If you don’t like how the image looks with the crop applied, click the Undo button.

Product images bound for your Etsy shop must be at least 570 pixels wide; for best results, opt for an image that’s between 800 and 1,000 pixels wide. That being said, if your image file is too large, you’ll have a hard time uploading it to Etsy when you create the item listing in which the photo will appear.

For this reason, when you save your image in Picasa, you must ensure that it’s no larger than 250KB and doesn’t exceed 1,000 by 1,000 pixels.

To ensure that all your hard work doesn’t go to waste, you must save your edited photo. To do so, simply choose File, Save As, and save the file in the desired folder. Note that the file must be a JPEG, GIF, or PNG; Etsy doesn’t support other file types.

How to watermark your photos

If you want, you can apply a watermark to your photos — that is, you can superimpose text over your image to prevent others from using it without your permission. Watermarks are especially useful if you’re a photographer, painter, or some other type of graphic artist, and you sell prints of your images.

If you do watermark your image, keep it subtle; otherwise, the watermark may overpower your image. Be aware, too, that Etsy will usually avoid using watermarked images in any promotional way — for example, watermarked images rarely appear on Etsy’s front page.

To apply a watermark using Picasa, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Text button in the Commonly Needed Fixes tab (the one with a wrench on it).

  2. Choose a font, choose a size, and set a level of transparency.

  3. Click in the image and type the text you want to add.

  4. Click and drag the text to move it as needed.

  5. Click the Apply button.

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