Easy Photoshop Techniques for Everyone
Here are some easy edits to get you started with Photoshop Software.
Although I have this software, I do try other photo editing programs here and there. I always consider the fact that there might be image editing software that will do the job just as well.
You might ask why I don't just use Photoshop software all the time? The main reason is that it uses a lot of memory. However, I find that Photoshop is the program I keep going back to. The reason is that it does just about everything and I have gotten very used to it, like an old pair of shoes. This translates to the fact that I know it so well that I can use certain Photoshop techniques quickly, and it helps me to enhance my images successfully.
However, I don't use all the features of the Photoshop software. I have explored many over time, but it is the basic tools that I use over and over again
. If you have Photoshop, or are thinking of buying it, here are some of the basic features I use repeatedly.
Brightness and Contrast
Save For Web
Adobe Photoshop Help
I like to make a Duplicate of my photo before I begin any image editing with the Photoshop software. The original image remains on the screen and a copy appears. In this way, you can take a quick look at the differences your manipulations are producing. You can also just then do a regular Save of this copy. Go to Images at the top toolbar and then click on Duplicate.
Here you will find sliders for Hue, Saturation and Lightness. I mainly work with Saturation to do some color enhancement and to add some richness. I rarely change the hue. (With Hue, you could, for example, make the blues greener.) I find it better to adjust Lightness with some of the other tools. Go to Images - Adjustments - Hue/Saturation.
You can do this in a very simple way, or you can choose to get more involved, as there are various Photoshop techniques for sharpening an image.
Go to Filter - Sharpen. Photoshop software offers a few different choices. Sharpen is the easiest. It does a quick sharpen. You may feel it needs more, and in that case there is Sharpen More. Or if you don't like it at all you can always Undo.
is a more sophisticated method. You can adjust the sliders and maintain more control. There are sites which explain exactly what each slider means and how to get the best results. If you want to delve into it more deeply, you can find a good explanation at Earthboundlight.com
Equally as good as Unsharp Mask, if not better, is High Pass Filter
. You must follow a few steps to use this sharpening tool, but it is excellent. There are many ways to adjust the sharpening for superb results.
Brightness and Contrast
This tool will make your pictures brighter/lighter or darker. By using Contrast, you can produce more definition to details.
I believe this was a new feature introduced in Adobe Photoshop cs2. This is a photo editing tool that really fine tunes many things in your photo. Once you open it up, it automatically brightens up your photo. From here, you can add or reduce highlights and shadow, do a slight color correction, add or reduce midtone contrast, etc. What I love about this tool is that if a picture has lost highlights, or just has an overall dark look to it, the highlights "magically" appear!
Once again, sliders are used, so you can take your time with each choice. As you make the adjustments, you can watch what it does to your photo. Any changes can be reversed. Image - Adjustments - Shadow/Highlight.
This covers Exposure, Offset and Gamma. I sometimes like to use it along with Shadow/Highlight. Image - Adjustments - Exposure.
Using the dashed rectangle tool in Photoshop software, you can drag a box around the area of the photo that you would like to keep. If you just want to see more of the center image and remove space around it or if you want to remove something in the image towards the outer edges, use this tool. Once you have selected the area to keep, go to Image and just select crop.
I know there are other programs out there for resizing and they can even be quick and easy, such as Web Resizer
. But I really like the way resizing works in Photoshop.
I have talked about the difference between a digital image's physical size and file size. Photoshop handles both beautifully.
Go to Help - Resize. Photoshop asks if this is to be resized for a Print or Online. I'm going to discuss the online resizing, so choose Online. Next you have to put in the physical size you want your image to be in pixels. Most of the pictures on this site have a width of 300 pixels. Photoshop automatically calculates what the other dimension should be. Click next. Then click Finish.
Now here is the good part. You can choose the file size. Go to File - Save For Web
. You will have five choices as to the quality and file size of the photo...low, medium, high, very high, and maximum. The higher the quality, the larger the file size. The key is to get the file size as low as possible with acceptable quality. As you make your choices, the file size will be shown on the lower left hand part of the screen.
There is also a great Clone tool
. This allows you to actually replace a part of the photo with another part. For example, if there is a mark on a face, you can just choose another area of the skin to replace it with. It's a great feature.
Choosing a photo editing program is a matter of cost and finding one you like to work with. Photoshop software is not cheap, but it is good. Another one to consider for excellent editing features is Corel Paint Shop Pro
, as it is sophisticated, but much less expensive than Photoshop.