Whether you are a professional photographer or just taking pictures as a hobby, you still need to tweak around with the photo to make it look better. And you don’t need a lab, as it was before digital photography, all you need now is a computer and photo retouching tools.
Photoshop, as always, is a must have. And if you are using Photoshop only for quick photo retouching you don’t need to master all and everything about the program. You will need the most essential tools. Some of them I will show you today.
These tools are the basics and I will only show the basic usage for you to get familiar with the stuff. All you will need for more advanced methods is practice.
So let’s say you have taken some nice pictures and want to make some changes, corrections and so on and on. Upload it to your machine and open with Photoshop.
Tool #1: Levels
This one is the first tool I start to play with as I open an image. It gives you control over brightness levels of an image histogram. It is very useful when you want to make shadows darker, or the front object brighter, or the skies more vivid, and so on. Try it.
The controls in red circles can be moved to left or right. The drop down menu in green circle gives you control over color channels of an image.
Tool #2: Photo Filter
Photo filter tool is very handy when you want to apply some color to the whole image, changing it’s “mood” (you will want to give a yellow-ish color for an autumn picture and colder, blue-ish color for a winter image, right?).
You can select from default filter presets in drop-down menu or apply your custom selected color and adjust the density of the chosen filter. I’ve chosen Cooling Filter for my image to enhance the blue tone of waters:
Tool #3: Dodge and Burn
Actually these are two different tools, but I put them in one category since they do just the opposite of each other. Basically, the Dodge tool makes affected areas lighter and the Burn tool makes them darker.
With those two little tools you can dramatically enhance an image, giving it a totally different look. Check the example below, which I made quickly to let you see the least of what you can do:
Tool #4: Spot Healing Brush
This one came with CS2 as I recall. A super handy tool when it comes to digital “healing”. Almost every girl will complain on her picture like “remove this spot, I don’t want this mole” and so on. No problem, with Spot Healing brush tool you will make her happy!
I’ve removed the famous Cindy Crawford mole with just one click:
Tool #5: Blur
The Blur tool is best used when you want to focus on an object or some area of a picture. There is a more comprehensive tool for blurring in Filters menu, which has various blur methods but the one I am showing you is the basic tool, which is used like a brush, meaning that it applies to the area under your mouse.
Making the background blurred gives some depth and definitely different look to your image:
Tool #6: Content-Aware Fill
Now this tool is not a basic one, I will later make a separate article on that one, it’s a Harry Potter’s magic stick for sure. It is featured in Photoshop CS5 only so if you have an older version…sorry.
With Content-Aware Fill you can remove unwanted things from a picture without losing the background in just no time. Before CS5 it was not an easy task, but now it all became so simple. But of course it is not ideal and perfect, and mostly, to get best results you will have to make some amendments but still it does the job pretty well.
Just select the object, give it a little space around by expanding the selection and apply the fill (Edit->Fill or Shift+F5):
That’s it for today. Check back for more tips and tricks.
TrueKolor.net Owner. Professional Graphic Designer.