Jan 29, 2005

NEW WAYS TO USE YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA FOR FUN AND PROFIT

by Valerie Goettsch

If you’re only using your digital camera for vacation and family photos, you’ve just scratched the surface of your camera’s uses. Digital photography has opened a new world of possibilities. Here are some fun, practical, and maybe even profitable, ways to use your digital camera.

Enhance your photo before uploading to an online dating service
As online dating services become more and more popular, you may be considering this option to meet Mr. or Ms. Right. You’ll want to look your best to capture the attention of your potential mate, so how about brighter eyes and whiter teeth? It’s pretty easy to enhance your digital photo using inexpensive photo editing software such as Foto Finish or Jasc Paint Shop Pro. You can adjust the overall brightness and contrast to generally brighten the image. Zoom in on your eyes and using the software’s polygon or magic wand tool, select just the whites of your eyes. Then use the ‘adjust color’ or ‘adjust exposure’ tool to make your eyes brighter and less red. Similarly, you can zoom in and select your teeth, then adjust the color and exposure. And voila! A fresher, more alert and attractive-looking you.

Selling goods on eBay
Research shows that merchandise with attractive photos sell at better prices. People are naturally drawn to appealing images. To show your items at best advantage, you can rig an inexpensive tabletop “studio” using a sheet of non-glare white plastic and a PVC pipe for support. The important points to remember are having a uniform background behind and below the object and even lighting, either with shop lights or natural sunlight (through a window—it’s best to shoot indoors). You may need to adjust the white balance on your digital camera, which is easy to do on most new cameras. Then you can watch the auction bids rise on that antique clock you’re trying to sell.

Archive photos of your personal possessions in case of fire or theft
Using your digital camera, you can quickly and easily take photos of your personal possessions such as TVs, DVD players, stereo equipment, furniture, computers and other expensive items so you have a record of them for insurance purposes. Be sure to log serial numbers and keep a record of purchase prices too. For safekeeping, transfer the images to a CD and keep it in a safe deposit box, or upload the images to an online photo storage service that offers unlimited storage, such as Smugmug.

Digital Scrapbook
Digital scrap booking, or computer scrap booking, is the newest way to preserve your family memories. Using inexpensive, easy-to-use scrapbook software, you can create entire scrapbook layouts and add fun fonts and graphics to take your scrapbook project to a new creative level. Computer scrap booking has really taken off in the last year because people are finding it is less expensive, fast and takes up less space (no more taking over the family dining table) to make a computer generated scrapbook versus traditional scrap booking techniques. Most people already have a computer and digital camera, and once you have a scrap booking graphics software package and perhaps invested in a scanner for older photos, you're ready to go. You can easily color correct images, lighten dark photos, crop out old boyfriends, and even erase scratches from old photos. Most software programs come with special effects so you can enhance your photos and pages with antique sepia tones, torn or burnt edges, crinkles, soften or fade the edges, add digital picture frames, and much more.

Have fun with your camera and let your imagination explore the boundaries.

About the Author

Valerie Goettsch publishes the digital photography website http://www.digitalphotos101.com featuring reviews of photo editing and album software and digital photo printing services.