Photo Editing Tip of the Weekend

If you're relegated to using a crappy 3 megapixel point-and-shoot digital camera, but need some photos with more pizazz, there fortunately are a few things you can do to make your snapshots look like photographs. These tips are a few basics, but only scratch the surface of what is possible.

  • Begin by following principles of good composition. Make the photo as visually interesting as possible while maintaining sharp focus, and good use of lighting

  • The predominant things you'll need to fix are your camera's lack of saturation and vibrancy. Typically, the midtones appear washed out, so begin by using Photoshop's "Curves" adjustment. Typically lowering the midtones on the curve will make the blacks blacker and keep the whites whiter. This adjustment can also be made with the "Levels" adjustment if you find that easier to use.

  • Adding depth of field is easily achieved as well. Begin by duplicating your background layer, and putting the new layer directly above the background layer. Add a gaussian blur to the top layer. From here you have two choices (below):

  • Option 1: Faux Depth of Field. Add a layer mask to the top (blurred) layer. Using the gradient tool, make a black/white circular gradient on the mask to sort of fade the blur out, keeping the central object focused.

  • Option 2: Faux Depth of Field + Lighting Effects. On the top (blurred) layer, play around with some dramatic effects. Adjust the color balance to make it yellowish gold. Cool it down by making it blue, etc. From there, change the blending mode on the top layer to multiply, overlay, vivid light, etc. and see what changes are made. Adjust the intensity of the effect by turning up or down the opacity of the top layer.

You're well on your way to great photos!


Amanda said…
Great tip! It'd be really cool to see some before and after pictures.

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