Saturday, March 21, 2009

Photo Editing - Super Quick and Easy!

Here are a few things that you can do to just about any photo and make it look 10 times better... AND, it's super quick and so very easy. I will go step by step through these few easy steps using this photo. It doesn't seem like a bad photo really, but it can be so much better with a few clicks here and there. Let's get started. Here is the photo straight out of the camera...

Vibrance and Depth
There are many different way to brighten up your photos. But this is the quickest and easiest way I have found... and it almost always works.

1) First, click on your photo layer to activate it. Then right-click anywhere on the blue strip and choose Duplicate Layer from the fly-out menu.

2) You can name your layer if you wish, but it isn't necessary. Click OK.

3) Click on your duplicate layer to activate it. Then, click on the Blending Mode options and choose Soft Light.
4.) If you photo appears to dark or too saturated, simply lower the opacity of the Soft Light layer. (My photo was really light, so I left mine at 100%, but on more photos than not, I usually reduce the opacity to between 40% and 60%.)

See the difference?? :) I love how evenly this quick method boosts the vibrance and depth of your photo.

5) Now, choose each layer by clicking on the first layer, and then press and hold your SHIFT key while clicking on the last layer. Then right-click anywhere on the blue and choose Merge Layers from the fly-out menu.

Eyes and Teeth
Now lets work on the eyes. There is a more complex way to do the eyes in a photo, and i actually like it better, however... this way is GREAT when you're either in a hurry or the program you use doesn't have the features that the more complex way uses.

1) First, go ahead and zoom in on the eyes at 100%.

2) Choose your Dodge tool from your tools palette. Choose a circle brush, make it small and set the Hardness to "0". Your range should be Midtones and set your exposure to between 30% and 50%. Now run your brush over the whites of the eyes.

3) Now make your brush a little smaller and run it over the catchlights in the iris and the pupil.

4) Now make your brush a bit larger (and you may need to reduce the exposure a tad) and then in one soft motion, run your brush around the iris (in between the pupil and the darker edges of the iris.)

5) While you still have your dodge tool activated, go ahead and move down the photo and focus on the teeth. Simply adjust the size of your brush accordingly and subtly brush over each individual tooth. Sublte is the key.

6) Now to define the eyes futher, choose your Burn tool from your tools palette. Choose a circle brush, make it very small, and set the Hardness to "0". Choose Midtones for your range and lower the exposure to somewhere between 8% and 15%. Then, brush around the outter-most edges of the iris.

7) In a lot of photos (not necessarily this one), but sometimes the eyes tend to get lost a little. A great way to bring definition to the eye is to make the lash line stand out a little more. Your burn tool is perfect for this. Again, keeping your brush circular, small, and soft, with a low exposure, simply brush along the lash line. Once or twice is usually enough to do it. Sort of like putting on eyeliner or mascara when our own eyes don't seem to stand out enough. :) But again... be subtle.

8) Now choose your Sharpen tool from your tools palette. Set the strength to between 40% and 60%. Then brush over the pupil and iris only. (Don't sharpen the whites of the eyes.)

Cleaning Up
Now let's focus on the rest of the face. Dirt, flaws, blemishes...chocolate... they can all be easily fixed. :)
1) Choose your Spot Healing tool from your tools palette. Now simply place your brush over a spot and click.

2) Now, since the Spot Healing tool "pulls" from surrounding areas to cover what you're trying to get rid of, sometimes it gets confused. If there is a spot right next to a shadow or someone's hair, when you click it will sometimes "pull" an area from the shadow or from the hair. There is a simple solution to this.

3) Choose your Clone Stamp from your tools palette. Again, your brush should be circle in shape, small, and the hardness set to "0". Now the trick here, i've found is to lower the opacity way down, to somewhere between 20% and 30%. This way, it subtly pulls from your desired area a little at a time. This gives you much more control when working with the clone stamp. So now, place your brush over a similar colored area.

4) Press your ALT key (your cursor should change from a circle to a target shape) and click that area.

5) Now, release your ALT key and move your cursor over the spot you wish to correct and click until the spot starts to disappear. Be sure to click one at a time so you don't end up clicking too many times and having the spot look fake.

6) The same method works GREAT for shiney areas as well. Great for us when our face is shiney, great for kids with runny noses or messy mouths from eating or drinking before a picture. So simply repeat the steps outlined above and cover up that shine. :)

7) This works for yet another issue you see alot in photos. The discoloration under our eyes. Great for us adults who tend to simply carry dark circles or wrinkles, also great for kids... as in this photo, my daughter was kind of sickly and hadn't slept very well. She was therefore carry a bit of dark under her eyes for a day or so. Again, follow the steps above... only for this purpose, you will probably need a somewhat larger brush size.

That should do it. Our photo is now significantly improved... as you can see below.



These few steps should work to improve just about any photo.
I would love to know what you think about this tutorial. Please feel free to leave comments. And if you have any questions, feel free to email me at :)


Gail said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I have a few actions that do similar things, but it's nice to know how to do it yourself. Really appreciated the noted screen shots.

Yvette said...

This is going to be really useful.
I appreciate all the detailed shots and explanation! Just wonderful.

Jessica said...

I love seeing how to edit photos myself as opposed to always using actions... better control over the outcome. :) Thanks for another great tutorial!

Toni said...

great tutorial, you explained everything really clearly -- thaks!

Jill said...

awesome tutorial! the added graphics were great! thanks!

scrapgrrrrl said...

thanks a bunch! all turned out great.

Beth@playinwiththepaulsens! said...

wow! thanks this is so neat! techniques I have never seen! thanks!!!

AZK said...

Thanks for much for this tutorial. My version of PS is older and I also don't have any idea of how to use actions so this suits me just fine. I've tried some of your other tutorials too (take a peek at my blog--03/08/09). Thanks!!!!

Kristi said...

Thanks for taking the time to help people like me out. You really have a talent for teaching and explaining things in a manner that others will understand easily. I appreciate you!

Veronica said...

Thanks! I'm still "new" to PS and ANY tut is greatly appreciated!!

Lia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tammy said...

Thanks for the great tutorial, and sharing your talent.

juno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
juno said...

Hi Amanda!
Thanks for the fantastic instructions. Since I started adding "Newbie Notes" (very basic but very useful tips that we all had to pick up somewhere!) on my blog, I have a new appreciation for Tutorial writers!

Juno's Place

Anonymous said...

This is a fabulous tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing.

Karen said...

Thanks. I have some techniques for some of these adjustments, but I love trying new ones. Your explanations and visuals are terrific!

Anonymous said...

This is great - thank you! (Sandy_in_MD)

Donna E. said...

oh wow! i so love reading your tutorials and i still have a lot to learn! lol! thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us! love love love your tutorials!

Louise said...

Great tutorial, explained well with for easier understanding of how to do it! Thanks for sharing this.

Nath said...

Thank you so much for this tutoriel tremendous, I am going to serve as it a lot !!

juno said...

Hi again!
Just popping in to say - Come on over to my place where I have some CU Freebies to share. I know you can make your own but it's nice to have others as well? I like to give something back to all those who share so kindly.

Juno's Place


Georgia Visacri said...

thanks for sharing this amazing tutorial, Amanda. Once again I'm learning from you one of the coolest things to do with PS, thanks!

Christine said...


Just got your newsletter and hop to rush over here and say, I *LOVE* the new look!!! It's brilliant! Honestly, you are a creative genius! Could you share a little of it with us... oh, yeah, you do with every page and tutorial! ;) And LOVE the new kit! I had planned not to buy anything until I had worked through some of my huge stockpile but it's too good... I gotta get it right away! Thanks, girl! Can't wait for your spotlight!

Lia said...

The part os the eyes help me a lot, because I didn't knew how to use the Dodge/Burn correctely.
Thank you !

Maygirl said...

Thank you a lot. The tutorial is really great. It saved the recent photo of my son that I liked a lot.
It would be great to see as well more complicated way of improving the eyes you mentioned.

Joy said...

Thanks for sharing! Great tutorial!Keep up the great work.

Inge - Just Dreaming said...

This is a great tutorial! thx a lot :-)
In photoshop or paintshop you have similar actions, but they usually aren't subtle enough.
Thanks to your tutorial I can now do this editing myself. I love it!

Tina said...

awesome tips...thanks!

Rebecca said...

This rocks - thank you so much!

chloevanhee said...

Thank you for this tutorial. I use it in a loop on all my picks. Great. I love your work. I am completely adict of your blog !

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your talents! I especially loved the eye ideas! :-D

photo editing said...

Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

Luke said...

Good post and informative too.....thanks for sharing.

Clipping path,Masking,Retouch,color correction etc...

gayuh said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I have a few actions that do similar
things, but it's nice to know how to do it yourself. Really
appreciated the noted screen shots. thanks for sharing

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