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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tip Tuesday: Enhancing Photopass pictures -- a how to guide

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

I've finally managed to get all my Photopass pictures enhanced from my last trip to Walt Disney World. As I was enhancing photos, I was posting my progress on my Facebook page. Several people commented that they weren't aware you could enhance photos or how to do so.

Well now you're going to find out because this week's tip is a DIY for enhancing your Photopass pictures -- and best of all, no photo editing software is required -- and it doesn't cost anything extra!

So let's get started!

First, of course, you need to have some Photopass pictures to work with. In my very first Tip Tuesday post, I talked about how Photopass works, so be sure to go back and read that post for more if you're not familiar with how to get Photopass pictures in the parks. Can you believe that was two-and-a-half years ago?? Anyway, I digress...

Once you have some pictures loaded onto your Photopass card, you'll need to go to the Photopass Web site at If you don't have an account set up yet, take a moment to do so.

Once you're logged in, enter the code from the back of your Photopass card. Your photos will be loaded into your online account and will show up grouped by location. You also might have some bonus content as well! I'll save that bit for a future tip.

Now it's time to start enhancing! Just select a photo you want to enhance. For the purposes of our demonstration, I am using one of the bonus photos from my most recent trip. As you can see in the image above, you have several options in the window to the right of your image. There are two main enhancing sections -- adjustments to the photo itself and borders you can add. For the most part, you will probably be adding borders. If you want to get a bit fancier, you can manipulate the image itself and have some interesting results. The best news is that no matter what you do, you're not changing the original image.

So to add a border, simply select a border in the window and click on it. The main image will now be shown with your border applied. If you want to change the border, just click on a different one and the main image will be adjusted again. Once you have the border you want, just click "Save as Copy." In a second or so, your image will be saved. You can easily tell that your image has been added when you see something like this:

Notice how the "Save as Copy" button now says "Save" and you're got a new thumbnail in the list of images at the bottom of the screen?

Now what if you want to add another border? No problem. Just select the original image again. It's the first image in that series of shots -- loot at all the Mickey and Minnie images in the screenshot above. The first one in the series is the original. You'll know when you're editing the original when the "Save" button again says "Save as Copy." Just select a different border, and again click "Save as Copy." A new thumbnail will appear. Before you know it, you will have many different enhancements to the same image. Just look at the image at the top of this post. They're all different enhancements of the same photo.

Want to add another enhancement? Just go through the same steps again and again and again. You can add as many enhancements as you want. One caveat, though. You can't add multiple enhancements to the same image. For instance, you can add each of the fab five characters to some shots. Unfortunately, you can't add ALL five at the same time -- only one at a time.

Want to get really creative? Click on the "Edit Photo" tab and you can manipulate your original photos in a number of ways. With "rotate image," you are rotating the actual image 90-degrees counter-clockwise. I've never used this particular option, but it's there.

"Position" allows you to move the position of the crop box. This used in conjunction with the "zoom" tool will help you tighten a shot that you think is too wide. Just be careful you don't zoom in too far that you don't leave enough room for border enhancements.

"Rotate crop box" is very useful for taking a portrait photo and adjusting the crop box so it's in landscape orientation. I've used this frequently when a photographer forgets to take a landscape photo. Sometimes parts of the background may get cut off, but since this is a copy of the original image, there's no harm in making that change. Best of all, you can still add enhancements by clicking on the "Add Borders" tab, but now you're enhancing a landscape photo, not portrait.

My most favorite effect is to convert the image to black and white and then apply a color border. It creates a pretty interesting photo. See for yourself -- look at the montage at the top and check out the bottom left photo.

Another caveat -- not all enhancements are available for all shots. It just depends on where the shot was taken and what enhancements Disney wants to make available for that shot. For instance, a photo with Mickey Mouse will include the option to put Mickey's signature in the shot, but you can't put in Donald's.

On the plus side, Disney is adding new enhancement options all the time. This is especially true during special events. You just might see special enhancements for the Flower and Garden Festival for those shots taken in Epcot, or see special holiday enhancements for images taken during the holidays.

One downside of this capability is that you have to make enhancements one at a time. Most unfortunately, you can't select all the enhancements you want to apply to a photo and click once to apply them and get multiple additional images. That's why it can take a while to enhance Photopass images. The effort is well worth it, especially if you plan to get the Photo CD - which is by far the only way to go.

As I said before, there's no additional cost at all to enhance photos. Again, if you're getting the Photo CD, it doesn't matter if you started with 150 images and ended up with more than 750 (which is just about what I did for this last trip) the price is the same.

So if you know you're going to get the PhotoCD, be sure to get lots and lots of Photopass images that you can later enhance. They are perfect for making those scrapbooks that much more magical!!!

What's your favorite enhancement? Have some other neat effects to suggest? Post a comment!

1 comment:

Cassidy said...

This is a great and highly detailed post. I will definitely refer back to this next time I have a trip and use photopass!!

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