Digital cameras make it so easy to click away and then delete the bad photos. But what if your baby has a particularly cute expression, but the background’s cluttered? Or if all the shots from your sister’s wedding were overexposed, or came out yellowish because of the strange lighting at the reception?
But digital photos can be digitally fixed, and you don’t need to be a computer geek. Here are step-by-step instructions for the most common photo software (Adobe Photoshop). In just a few clicks, you can turn those ‘ugly’ shots into frame-worthy masterpieces.
1. Red eye
1. Look for ‘Toolbox’ and click on the Zoom Tool. The arrow icon turns into a magnifying glass with a plus sign in the center.
2. Manouver the mouse to the red eye on your photo, and click. The screen zooms in, making the eye larger and easier to fix.
3. Go back to the Toolbox and right click on the Spot Healing brushtool. Left click the Red Eye tool. The arrow of your mouse changes into a crosshair (+).
4. Now back to your photo. Click and drag the mouse to select the red-eye.
5. Release the mouse key. The red eye is adjusted.
6. Repeat steps four and five until all the red-eye is removed.
2. Washed out or overexposed photos
1. Open the photo in Photoshop
2. Left click on ‘Image’ to show the drop down menu.
3. Move mouse pointer to ‘Adjustments.’ Left click the ‘Autolevels’ command.
4. If you think you’ve overdone it, click ‘Edit’ and select the ‘Undo’ command.
5. You can stop here if you’re happy with the results, but if you want an extra boost, go to the ‘Layer’ palette. (Can’t find it? Left click on ‘Window’ and select ‘Layers.’)
6. Drag the background to the new layer button on the layer palette to duplicate it.
7. Change the blend mode for the duplicate layer to ‘Soft Light.’
8. If the results are too dark, lower the layer’s opacity.
9. If the photo is still too light, drag the copy to the new layer
button to duplicate it again. Adjust opacity as needed.
3. Dark or overexposed photos
1. Open the photo in Photoshop
2. Try the ‘Autolevels’ command first.
3. Made a mistake? Use the ‘undo’ command.
4. You can stop here, but if you’d like to enhance the photo further, use the ‘Layers’ palette. Can’t find it? left click on ‘Window’ and select ‘Layers.’
5. Drag the background to the new layer button on the layer palette to duplicate it.
6. Change the blend mode for the duplicate layer to Screen.
7. If the results are too light, lower the opacity of the layer.
8. If the photo is still too dark, drag the copy to the new layer button to
duplicate it again. Adjust opacity as needed.
4. Too many shadows on the subject
1. This is a typical problem of photos taken in the summer: the ocean (or other landscape) looks bright, but the person standing in front is cloaked in shadows.
2. Click on Photoshop’s ‘Shadow/Highlight’ tool.
3. Left click ‘image’ and move mouse pointer to ‘Adjustments.”
4. Left click ‘shadow/highlight.’ Drag the Shadows slider to the right to reveal the detail hidden in the shadows.
5. Cluttered backgrounds
1. Cropping a busy or cluttered background changes the focus of an image. This helps you to zero in on the subject.
2. From the Toolbox, select the ‘Crop’ Tool.
3. If you already know how large you want your photo prints to be, select the cropping size: 4×6 inches for 4R and 5×7 inches for 5R. You can also experiment with different values for height and width.
4. Set the cropping resolution to 300 pixels/inch
5. Position the mouse over the area of your photo you wish to crop. Click, hold and draw a quick selection around the image. When you release the mouse button the non-selected area will gray out.
6. Happy with the selected area? Press Enter or right-click and select ‘Crop.’
7. Made a mistake? Press ESC or right click and select ‘Cancel’ and repeat step 5.
8. Always save under a different file name.
Thanks! I've been planning to edit my photos but didn't know where to start. This is very useful.
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Joshua Mangle says
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Great list of how-tos. Now I have a handy checklist of what to do when using Photoshop.