Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The power of using Adjustment Layers

Adjustment layers are a nondestructive way to make edits to your photos. Adjustment layers allow you to make edits without damaging the original image and allow you to go back to make small adjustments as desired.
In the photo below, the background for this band student is distracting.  I wanted to tone down the background by making it much darker.
I selected the Adjustment layer icon in the bottom of the Layers panel and selected the Exposure option. Then I made the entire photo darker by moving the slider to the left.
This also made the subject in the photo dark too. However, the beauty of Adjustment layers is that they automatically come with a mask. In the photo below, I selected the mask and painted in the mask with black to reveal the original parts of the photo I wanted in the layer below.
Note: You should always use a soft edged brush with edits and don't forget that you can change the opacity of what you are painting/revealing in the Options bar. Make sure you have the mask part of the icon selected when painting.

Since this is an Adjustment layer, I'm able to change or darken the exposure of the background even more if I change my mind. I selected the Adjustment icon in the layer and slide the Exposure to be even darker. The mask we created continues to allow the original exposure in the photo to show in the untouched layer below.
At any time, I could delete the Adjustment layer and start over. Or, continue to tweek my mask and exposure settings on this Adjustment layer that we have created.
That's the beauty of Adjustment layers. The original photo in the layer below (Background) is never damaged. And, I can continue to work on the adjustment layer as needed. Keep in mind, you'll need to save your document as a .psd file if you ever want to go back to work on your adjustment layer again.



Tuesday, July 05, 2016

The amazing Quick Selection tool

Need to make a quick selection. Don't rule out the Quick Selection tool. It might be hidden under the Magic Wand Tool.

The Quick Selection Tool works by allowing you to paint a selection, with the selection snapping to details as you select. 
Follow these steps:
  • Select the Quick Selection Brush
  • Click the Brush menu in the Options bar to set a brush size.
  • Choose from the following options:
    • Sample All Layers: makes a selection based on all layers in an image.
    • Auto-Enhance: reduces roughness in the selection boundary.
  • Paint over the part of the image you want to select. As you paint near the edges of a shape, the selection area extends to follow the shape edge.
  • After making the first selection, the tool's option changes automatically to Add to Selection. Continue painting to select more pixels.
  • To remove pixels from a selection, click the Subtract from Selection option in the Options bar, then drag over an area that is already selected.

The Quick Selection Tool is great for selecting large areas of similarity like backgrounds, skies or similar colors.

Monday, June 20, 2016

What is purple fringing and how to I get rid of it?

There is a lot of debate about what causes purple fringing. Some people refer to it as chromatic aberration and it usually appears as a purple edge around dark objects against a bright sky.
However it occurs and whatever you want to call it I am always disappointed when it happens in my photo.
Let's take a look at an example and how you can get rid of it if it happens to you.
Look in the upper right middle of the photo. You'll see an example of this purple fringing that I'm talking about.
The next photo I'm zoomed in and you can easily see the purple fringing.
There is a tool in Photoshop just for this particular problem. You'll find in under Filter and going into Camera Raw.
After entering Camera Raw click on the Lens Correction icon. 
Make sure you have the Color tab selected and start adjusting the Defringe for Purple. Here I slide the amount back to 13. Keep making adjustments while zoomed into the photo. When the purple edges are gone, just click OK.
And, just like magic, all purple edges are gone!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday, May 05, 2016

How to Make a good shot when taking a picture

Here are a few simple tips when taking a photo to make it a good shot to start with before any post processing even starts.

Be selective Be selective about what is in your photo. Determine what the most important element is and make sure it is in focus. Leave out anything that can be distracting. Many times a good crop of a photo makes all the difference in the world.

Move in
Start by being too close and backing up. This is the opposite of what you may want to instinctively do.
Most photographs start too far back and try to zoom in. Many times the subject is lost.
FILL the frame with your subject.

Don't include EVERYTHING
This brings us right to leave a little mystery. You don't need to include everything in the photo. Leave the viewer wanting more and a little to the imagination.



 The Rule of Thirds
Avoid the middle. EVERYONE centers the subject in the middle unless they know better. Try the Rule of Thirds.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Photoshop - Vibrance vs. Saturation

I used to wonder what's the difference between Vibrance and Saturation. Both seem to add color to a photograph.
Saturation has been around a lot longer in Photoshop and I knew to use Saturation with caution as it could quickly ruin a photo.
In this train photo, I'd like to add more color.
I'll first start by adding Saturation by going to Image - Adjustments - Vibrance. You note that both tools of Saturation and Vibrance show up here.
I'll add too much Saturation to get my point across.
What Saturation does is to add color everywhere in the photo whether it needs it or not. Notice how the yellow that was prevalent is now way over done. This is one reason I don't use Saturation much.
When you use Vibrance, you are equalizing color through the entire image.  Colors that were muted are made more vivid while colors that are prominent get ignored.
Colors that needed help were boosted. I can increase colors quite a bit before it looks artificial. 
So, the next time you are looking at boosting the color in a photo, reach for Vibrance and ignore the Saturation.



Monday, March 07, 2016

Quick photo filter effects in Photoshop

You can quickly and easily change the mood of a photo using Photoshops photo filter tool.
In this photo the image is a little cold.

Warm photos tend to be preferred by most people so that's what we are going to add to this photo.
Notice that this warming filter changed the entire mood of the photograph. 
This process is quite simple. Create a new adjustment layer using "Photo Filters". Select one of the warming filters and adjust the saturation according to the overall look of the photograph.
Remember, we use adjustment layers so that we can go back later to either remove or adjust this effect we've added.