Beginner Photo Edit Tutorial for Pixelmator

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Easy Photo Edit in Pixelmator

This quick tutorial will show you how to make a very easy photo edit in Pixelmator. This is ideal for complete beginners and will show how using one basic tool,and only take a few seconds, can give your images a significant quality boost. Even if you're not that interested in photography, this is such an easy photo edit in Pixelmator, you can quickly improve the appearance of all your photos that you share with family and friends and ensure they get the maximum enjoyment from them.

If you don't own a copy of Pixelmator, you can read a bit more about this attractive image editor in our introduction to Pixelmator. It is an application that has been specifically designed for Apple Mac users with OS X and is ideal for beginners through intermediate users. It doesn't have the same power and feature set of Adobe Photoshop, but it costs a fraction of the price and has enough features to satisfy all but the more advanced photo editor users.

If you follow this quick tutorial, you'll see that you only need to open and tweak one single tool in Pixelmator, the Brightness and Contrast feature. Now if that isn't a very easy photo edit that even newbies can manage, I don't know what is.

On the next couple of pages I'll explain exactly how to edit your photos using the Brightness and Contrast control and within minutes you'll be making your own digital photos look that little bit more professional.

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Open the Brightness and Contrast Dialog

In this first step, you'll need to take a few seconds to open a photo and then the Brightness and Contrast dialog. This assumes that you have already launched Pixelmator.

You will need a digital photo that you think perhaps looks a little flat and dull, though you may be surprised how you can improve the appearance of photos that you previously thought looked fine. When you've chosen your photo, go to File > Open and then navigate to the folder where the photo is saved, click on it to highlight it and click the Open button.

With your photo open in Pixelmator, go to the Image menu and select Brightness and Contrast. This will open the Brightness and Contrast dialog on top of your photo. As you'll see, this is very simple, consisting of just two sliders, and is all you need to make this very easy photo edit.

On the next page, I'll show you how to give your photo a boost to make you look like a pro.

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Adjusting Pixelmator's Brightness and Contrast Feature

Having taken a few seconds to open your photo and the Brightness and Contrast dialog, just a few more seconds are all that is needed to complete this very easy photo edit.

As mentioned, the dialog contains two slider controls. The top one adjusts the brightness of the image and the bottom one adjusts the contrast. In most cases you will need to adjust both sliders, but don't feel that you always have to. The amount of adjustments necessary will vary from photo to photo and personal preference will also affect the degree to which you tweak these settings. Some people prefer to make subtle edits, while others enjoy more extreme adjustments that can really saturate the coloring of a photo.

Firstly slide the Brightness slider a little to the right and, as you do so, notice how the image lightens. On the image I used, this actually made it appear more washed out and that is quite common. You can counter this by pushing the Contrast slider to the right a little also and you will see that colors start to saturate and shadows darken, making the image appear stronger and deeper.

Do feel free to keep tweaking these a little until you get a result that looks right to your eye. However, take care not to over do it and make the photo appear unnatural. As a very general guide only, if you find yourself pushing either slider over 20, stop and look very carefully at the effect that you are producing. Feel free to push the controls far beyond this point if you like the result, but all of the time try to keep an eye on individual areas of the photo to ensure that they are not being degraded by extreme adjustments.

You can see in the accompanying image the settings that I applied to my photo and if you look at the first page again, you can see the before and after versions in a single image.