This post is sponsored by BeFunky!
BeFunky Photo Editor
When it comes to editing pictures, I need help. While I’m actually pretty good at special effects-type editing (morphing one person’s face onto another person’s head, or making someone look like they’re holding a turkey leg instead of a pen), I do not have a good eye at all for making ordinary pictures look better. I have folders and folders of pictures on my computer that I never used for anything because they’re blah. I currently pay for two online photo editors, and I might as well be flushing that money down the toilet, because when I try to fix things myself they look unnatural.
I hate that my own private photos of my family and trips aren’t as good as they should be. But my lack of photo editing talent is especially bad considering that I blog for a living, and pictures are an important part of telling stories! So I’ve been limping along, occasionally taking amazing shots that don’t need improvement, but most often (especially if I’m using a cell phone camera), I do some quick fixes that sometimes look better but not great. Other times they just look weird (I have a habit of making people and food look yellow).
I’ve been using the BeFunky Photo Enhancer for a week, and I want to cry I’m so happy. It does all of the things you would expect from an online photo editor (and does them WELL!), but what I really want to tell you about are their four new effects. With just one click, they are making my photos so much better than I ever could on my own.
These new features can all be found in the BeFunky online photo editor in the “Edit” tab on the left side of the screen, in a box that says “Enhance DLX.” Between them they can tackle the most common photo problems, like low exposure, dullness, blurry images, and noise.
All four of the effects can work with just one click, and the software will analyze your picture and apply the effects the best way it knows how (that’s what I’ve done for three of the four examples below). Or, you can play around with individual settings (but you don’t have to, which is great for people like me).The @BeFunky online photo editor can fix many of the most common image problems with one click! Click To Tweet
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
High Dynamic Range is a layering technique used in photography to…make pictures look better? I’m not a real photographer! I don’t know how to do it! What I do know is that our eyes can adapt to a wide range of lights and darks better than a camera can. That’s why sometimes I look at a spectacular scene and take a picture, and the picture looks dull and flat in comparison to what I’m actually seeing.
I was walking in lower Manhattan one day and turned a corner, and was struck by what I saw: the clouds were beautiful, and the reflections in the glassy buildings were dramatic. So naturally, I whipped out my cell phone and took a picture.
But when I got home and looked at the image on my computer, I was not impressed. The whole scene was dull. The reflections on the buildings weren’t as striking as I remembered, and the buildings on the sides of my photo were dark.
Check out what happened when I uploaded that picture to the BeFunky photo editor and clicked on HDR DLX:
I can see more detail in the dark buildings and the side of the truck, the reflections in the buildings show up much better, and the clouds are how I remember them! That was all with one click. And it didn’t make anything that was already bright too bright, which is what happens when I try to lighten photos up on my own. The HDR DLX effect knows which parts of a photo need to be enhanced, and leaves the other parts alone.
Great uses for the HDR DLX effect are landscapes, portraits taken in sunlight where there are lots of shadows on the face, scenes without enough light, and scenes that are backlit.
It can be painful to get home, start flipping through your photos, and discover that something you thought was good was actually blurry. Or, in the case of the pictures I took on the Cave of the Winds tour a couple weeks ago, I *knew* that my pictures would be blurry, because in order to get up close and personal with Niagara Falls I had to put my cell phone in a plastic bag. That doesn’t make for the best pictures.
But sharpening photos can be difficult, because it can make them look extremely fake and processed. Sharpening works by trying to identify the edges in your image, and manipulates the lights and darks at the edges to make them look sharper. But if the program treats all edges the same, you get a weird fake looking picture with highlights that are way too bright and darks that are too dark. The Sharpen DLX effect in BeFunky analyzes the edges and determines whether they’re hard or soft, and treats them accordingly so that you get a more natural look.
One click with the Sharpen DLX button, and I could see details in the water and rocks! And if I’d known those wet people in the picture, I probably would have been happy to see more detail there, too.
The Sharpen DLX effect is useful for low-light shots, moving shots, and images that have a lot of texture. Or, you know, when your camera is in a plastic bag.
Vibrant Colors DLX
Here’s where I really get myself into trouble: my answer to dull pictures is cranking the saturation level up to 11. This is a photo I took of some French Toast I’d made (it had Nutella and bananas in it, it was amazing!), and then what I posted to Instagram after boosting the saturation and brightness with my usual editor:
The bananas are way too bright and the strawberries don’t look right, but I posted it because it looked better than the original, which was dull.
Here’s what happened when I uploaded the original to BeFunky and clicked the Vibrant Colors DLX button:
The bananas are yellower, the strawberries are brighter, even the grass showing through the holes in the table is greener. But most importantly, it doesn’t look like I messed with it!
The last new effect helps to take away the graininess in photos and smooth things out. Maybe you took a picture of a really dark sky and it looks grainy. Or in the case of this photo, it just looks harsh – it’s hard to look at.
I don’t remember what I was trying to do to those cherries that day (candy them?), but both the recipe and the photo were a failure.
But using the Denoise DLX effect, the image is softer and prettier!
This time I didn’t just hit one button and leave it, I also went into the Denoise settings and lowered the “Fine Details” setting to zero, to get things just a bit smoother.
And that’s it for the new features! I love this program so much that I’m not renewing the other two online photo editors I’ve been using. BeFunky does everything they did and much, much more. My other favorites from this week? The incredibly flexible collage maker, the lens flare tool, and a vignette tool that you can manipulate to the size and strength you want.
I urge you to try it out for yourself. The four Enhance DLX effects I talked about require a BeFunky Plus Account (as do some of the other effects and tools), which is just $2.91 a month when you sign up for a year.
Not sure if you want it? You can try the effects out on your photos for free and see how well they work, and then if you want to apply the effects you can get a BeFunky Plus Account!
Check out some more images I fixed with the BeFunky Photo Enhancer. The ones above just used one enhancer each, so that I could show you specifically what each one does. But these pictures below combine effects for great, natural looking results!