When it comes to photography you fall into one of two camps; those who think editing is cheating and those who think a little touch up here and there is okay. Whilst imperfections are beautiful, there are times when a little post-photo magic is needed to make the photograph the best it can be.
Knowing the ropes with Photoshop is part of the photographer package these days, but if you’re less adept at using photo editing software then take a look at the expert advice from Xchange Training on the must know Photoshop tips.
Ever spent ages editing your photo to decide you want to take away a couple of the elements you changed but leave the rest as it is? Using the layers feature allows you to layer up different editing effects on top of your photo, rather than editing the original. You can also place layers on top of each other and link them together, so if you decide that particular edits you’ve made work together then linking them can make it easier to manage them as a whole rather than individually. The opacity of each layer can also be changed so if you want one layer to be stronger than another then you can easily change it.
Layer masks also work within the layers feature and give even greater control over specific areas of the image you are working on. For example, layers will change the photo as a whole, but a layer mask will allow you to make changes to one particular area.
The curves adjustment is designed to adjust the brightness and darkness, add contrast and shift colours. Many often shy away from using the curves edit as it can be hard to get to grips with at first, but once conquered it’s often the first port of call for many.
Create an adjustment layer and choose curves to allow you to make edits in layers rather than on your original image. You can then create anchor points and drag the line to edit tones in the image. Where you place your points (you can add up to 16) will determine how the image is edited. As you add points and move them the curve changes shape, in turn editing how the image looks.
Think of the patch tool as a digital plaster. It’s fairly similar to the healing tool, but you work with a pre-defined area to fix rather than a brush. The patch tool can be used to remove or correct imperfections or things you’d rather weren’t in your final image.
It works by selecting the patch tool in the left hands side panel, and then making sure you’ve chosen the source option. It can then be used similarly to the lasso tool to draw around the area you want to patch up, and then dragging it to the area you want it to copy.
When editing a photo you may find that there are different variations you create. Layer comps enables you to switch between different edits and compare the different versions in the same document, rather than creating different files for each design. This feature is particularly handy if you’re presenting different designs to clients.
To create layer comps select the option under the windows tab. Then select create new layer comp to view the current layers in the panel. You can then name the composition, add comments and change the visibility and appearance.
Avoid These Photo Sins…
Don’t over sharpen images – a high quality camera will capture the image perfectly so resit the temptation to overdo it on the sharpen feature and keep images looking realistic rather than fake.
Try not to colourise the photo – working with colour is hard, especially as when something is used for the web or print it can look vastly different to how it initially looked on your computer screen. Make sure you keep colour touch ups as close to the original as possible and calibrate your monitor every so often to ensure that the colouring isn’t off.
Not getting your photo right first time – post photo production is part of the process but there’s only so much editing you can do before it’s time to admit defeat and retake the photo. Make sure the original photo is the best it can be before you add it into Photoshop and end up over editing to compensate.
Photoshop is there to enhance the image, but try not to get too carried away and detract away from the original. Less is always more.