Photoshop is a kind of darkroom for digital photos. Every amateur and professional gets the best result after at least minimal image processing. The best way to turn a good shot into a great photo is to fine-tune the image during the editing phase.
Method 1 of 3: Color and Clarity
Step 1. Use the Brightness / Contrast sliders to get deep blacks and vibrant whites
Regardless of the shot, the difference between the darkest and brightest parts of the image (Contrast) must be pronounced in order to get the most attractive shot. Your final goal is a well-lit shot with deep blacks and bright, crisp whites. Use the brightness control to make the picture clear.
- Click Image → Adjustments → Brightness / Contrast ….
- Check the box next to Preview to see how the image changes as you move the sliders.
- Almost any picture will be better if the contrast is increased by 10-15 points.
Step 2. Increase the saturation of the image to make the colors more vivid and vivid
It's important not to overdo it so it doesn't look like the world of Willy Wonk's universe, but saturation is an important aspect of correcting almost any image, especially when using an inexpensive camera.
- Click Image → Adjustments → Hue / Saturation.
- Try increasing the saturation of the image by 5–10 units in increments of several units until you achieve the desired level.
- Move the saturation slider to the left to get a black and white image.
Step 3. Change the color tone of the image if all objects are painted in the wrong color
This situation may be caused by indoor lighting, causing the picture to appear yellow or green. Color tone settings in the same menu item allow you to change the overall color palette of a photo to give it an unusual artistic effect or to correct color problems.
- Click Image → Adjustments → Hue / Saturation.
- Take your time, as even the smallest movement of the slider has a strong impact on the picture.
Step 4. Use the Shadow / Highlight settings to remove overly bright areas and brighten shadow details
Most often, the function is used when the sun forms a larger and ugly spot of white light in one of the corners of the image and washes out part of the image. Also use this item if the shadow obscures part of the face. The Shadow / Highlights item affects the brightest and darkest parts of the picture and does not change the midtones:
- Click Image → Adjustments → Shadows / Highlights.
- Lower the shadow slider to lighten dark areas.
- Raise the Highlights slider to darken highlights.
Step 5. Use a sharpening filter to correct slightly blurry or unclear images
This filter is not omnipotent and will not be able to sharpen strongly blurred photos, but it will definitely make slightly “out of focus” images sharp with clearly defined lines. How to use the filter:
- Select the "Filter" tab in the top menu of the program.
- Under "Sharpen …" select "Sharpen" for small changes, or "Smart Sharp" for deeper details.
- Under Smart Sharpness, use the Effect slider to adjust the amount of sharpening, the Radius slider to sharpen lines, and the Reduce Noise slider to smooth out areas that are too sharp.
Step 6. Try downsizing heavily blurry or low quality images to reduce the scale of problems
The larger the image, the more visible any problems or defects in the image. A smaller size will allow for a little sharper clarity, since pixels will be more compact and our eyes will correct blurry and noisy areas on their own. How to reduce the image:
- Click Image → Image Size.
- Resize in inches, pixels, or even a percentage of the original image size.
- Be sure to include the chain icon to keep the aspect ratio of the image.
- Try to reduce the image by 25% or more.
Method 2 of 3: Composition and Defects
Step 1. Crop using the "Rule of Thirds" for an eye-catching photo
It should not be assumed that the initial composition of the shot is the best possible choice. The Rule of Thirds is one of the oldest and most reliable guidelines in the art of photography. It follows from the rule that when cropping an image in thirds horizontally and vertically (9 mini-squares), the most interesting elements of the image should always be on such lines and intersections of lines. In Photoshop, these lines will appear automatically when you crop the picture, which makes things easier.
- Even a slight change in the frame can dramatically improve the picture. Are there unnecessary elements in the photo in the corners of the frame that you can get rid of and focus on more interesting objects?
- All major lines of the image, such as the horizon, should be placed on the third line.
- Press the "C" button to open the crop tool.
Step 2. Use the Red Eyes Tool to make beautiful eyes in any portrait
To call this tool, you need to open the Patch tool, which is located under the eyedropper icon on the toolbar. Alternatively, press the J key, then click and hold the patch icon to select the desired tool. All you have to do is click and drag over the eyes to remove red-eye.
Step 3. Use the Spot Healing Brush to remove small imperfections and blemishes
Would you like to get rid of a small pimple on your forehead? Spot recovery will help you. To do this, click and hold the pointer over the Patch tool icon (press J), and then select the desired tool from the small menu. It simply replaces the selected point in the image with surrounding pixels and provides an accurate blend. This allows you to quickly erase small details such as pimples or wires in the background without spoiling the picture.
The Healing Brush works in the same way, but you choose the area from which the program will take pixels for replacement. To select the "repair area", hold down the Alt / Opt key, click, and then repair the unwanted defect
Step 4. Use Content-Aware Fill to remove objects and simple imperfections
For example, dust got on the lens at the time of the photo, resulting in a large brown spot in the landscape photo against the sky. Content-Aware Fill hides this flaw. Use the Quick Selection tool (below the Lasso icon) to select a spot. Further:
- Click Selection → Modify → Expand.
- Expand the selection 5-10 pixels.
- Choose Edit → Fill.
- Select Content-Aware from the Content drop-down menu and click OK.
Step 5. Use the Patch tool to replace a small area of the photo with another area of the image
Let's say you took a great shot of a soccer player during a game, but in the background you can see a fan at the fence, which is not needed in the photo. Of course, you need to remove the person, but keep the fence behind him, which may seem impossible! The Patch tool uses a different section of the fence and makes a copy over the unwanted person.
- Use the selection tool (Quick Selection) to select an unwanted object or object in your photo.
- Select the Patch tool by pressing J. It can also be found under the eyedropper icon.
- Click on the selected area (unnecessary place), but do not release the mouse button.
- Drag the selection to the point you want to replace it with, and then release the mouse button.
Method 3 of 3: Working Effectively in Photoshop
Step 1. Use the "Save as a copy" function to create a duplicate of the image before starting editing
It is always recommended (especially for beginners) to save a copy of the image before starting processing. After that, you can safely experiment and not be afraid to make a mistake. You can always click Cancel, but it gets more complicated after a few actions like cropping, changing the color tone, and sharpening.
- Click File → Save As, or press Ctrl + Shift + S (Windows) or Cmd + Shift + S.
- At the bottom of the Save As window, click Save as a Copy.
Step 2. Learn to use adjustment layers to constantly monitor all changes
The last thing you want is to experiment with colors, contrast, saturation without the possibility of returning the previous settings. In addition to advising you to always make a copy of the image before editing, adjustment layers and masks will allow you to correct all settings at any stage of your work, as well as toggle them on and off without the Undo option.
- Click the Window tab on the top bar.
- Select "Adjustments".
- Choose the adjustment you want from Brightness / Contrast to Gradient Map. This will create a new layer.
- Delete, reorder or opacity layers at any time, or change settings by double-clicking.
Step 3. Set up the ability to open photos in Camera Raw to quickly make small changes without affecting the original
The Camera Raw filter tears off a new copy of the image and lets you change color temperature, contrast, lighting, sharpness, saturation, and cropping. Make quick changes with real-time display. Set the necessary settings for the picture to automatically open in this mode:
- Click "Photoshop" in the upper left corner.
- Select Preferences → File Handling.
- Under File Compatibility, select the Use Adobe Camera Raw format for supported Raw files check box.
- Click Camera Raw Preferences and set JPEG & TIFF Handling to Automatically Open All Supported Files.
Step 4. Use "batch processing" to automatically make the same changes to multiple snapshots at once
For example, all of your pictures are slightly dark, so for all you need to increase the brightness by 10 units. Instead of manually processing each photo, let Photoshop do the work for you for multiple images. Let's say you want to add 10 units of brightness for 15 images:
- Click Window → Operations to bring up the operations menu.
- Click Create New Activity at the bottom of the menu and name it according to the desired activity. The button looks like note paper.
- Click Image → Adjustments → Brightness / Contrast and add 10 units of brightness.
- Press the square Stop button in the Operations menu to end the recording.
- Click File → Automation → Batch Processing at the top of the menu.
- In the field "Operation" select the created operation (with your name).
- Click "Select …" and select the photos you want.
- Select the Suppress File Open Option Dialogs and Prohibit Color Management Messages check boxes, then click OK to edit all snapshots at once.