Despite the fact that Photoshop was originally more of a graphic design tool than a photo manipulator, professionals everywhere have taken it under their wing and the versions that exist today have made great strides in making it a photographer-friendly program. If you do photography on any type of a professional level, you certainly wouldn’t be handing over your photographs without a little digital enhancement via Photoshop or a program like it. That’s why before you can call yourself a pro at anything of the Photoshop variety, you should be able to do these few simple tricks that will make a world of difference in your finished products.
Get Rid of Those Blemishes – The healing tool is by far one of the most useful tools that Photoshop has come out with, especially if your photography deals a lot with people. The spot healing tool takes the pixels from areas surrounding the blemish and replicates them over the area you’re trying to get rid of, making a more even skin tone just by dragging the tool over the affected area. Don’t get this confused with the cloning tool which simply replaces the affected area with an exact copy of the area you’re trying to replicate.
Change Your Photo’s Colors – You’d be remiss if you thought you were done with an image before toying with its color levels. Monkey around with the highlights and shadows in your Levels pane to really make your image pop. Likewise, experiment with the hue and saturation of the photo. Increasing the saturation can do wonders for the colors in your photo, but be wary not to go overboard. Pushing the saturation too far can make your photos appear fantastical or totally manipulated (unless that’s what you’re going for).
Sharpen That Thing Up – Nearly every image you have will benefit from a little bit of sharpening. There’s an unavoidable amount of digital noise that comes out in your photos dependent upon what kind of camera or settings you use. If you’re planning on printing the photos out on a home computer, you probably don’t have to worry a ton about sharpening the image as your photo will only turn out as good as your printer. But if you’re planning on putting the photo up in a digital setting, a decent amount of sharpening will make sure that the image doesn’t appear grainy or blurry when viewed online.
This is a list of the basics every Photoshop user should know, but there are obviously a million other tools and techniques hidden in the depths of the program. If you’re serious about learning the ins and outs of Photoshop, consider buying a guide and dedicating some time to working through the examples they give you. There are also a number of helpful websites out there (free and otherwise) that offer tutorials on basic Photoshop functions and features. But the best way to learn the program is to just get started – so enjoy!
This article was written by Gary Klungreseth, owner and manager of a number of art related e-commerce websites including Blue Horizon Prints, the ultimate personalised gift solution for any occasion.