Would you like to learn some secrets for making small adjustments that result in big improvements to your RAW images? We have easy Photoshop tips that photographers of every skill level will appreciate.
- Boost blacks to +5 points or so in the Basics panel, under Color. Deepening blacks will add richness to the image.
- Add a vignette to the image in the Effects panel. Take the vignette down to -15 to darken the corners of the photo and guide the viewer’s eye to the center. Alternatively, you can apply a +15 vignette to lighten the corners in a fall foliage shot or a wedding photo. This technique will add a bright, airy feeling.
- Use a graduated filter to add weight to the lower portion of a photo. Select the Graduated Filter tool, and set the exposure to, say, -33, then click on the bottom of your photo and drag the tool up through the bottom half. This will subtly add a natural foundation and a bit of density to the image.
- Adjust the shadows in the Tone Curve panel. Set shadows to -10 and the darks to +10. This will boost richness, as well as add subtle contrast to the overall image.
- You can tone down a too-bright blue sky by adjusting luminance. Click the HSL panel, then luminance. Next, click the Adjust tool at the left of the panel and position it at the top of the sky and drag downward. This will give you a natural-looking, rich blue sky.
- Forget to use the monochrome setting on your Canon Camera from Beachcamera.com? While Lightroom has a one-click button to transform color images to monochrome, you can get a subtle and more interesting effect by adjusting vibrance and saturation. In the Basic panel, set vibrance and saturation to -75. The resulting image will look like it’s monochrome but will retain just a hint of color. This adds an unexpected wink of life. Black-and-white images often benefit from additional contrast, so try boosting clarity to 50 or 75.
- Use clarity, in the Basic panel, to adjust skin tones in portraits. To add a bit of masculine roughness, increase clarity. To soften skin tones, decrease clarity.
- You can add grain to give your image, a pre-digital texture that counters the “plastic” look that many digital cameras create. Under the Effects panel, bump the grain slider to 5 or 10 points.
- If you want a very rich image but don’t want your children in the photo to have sunburned pumpkin skin, remember that it’s effective to increase vibrance more than saturation. That’s because vibrance, in general, works with cooler tones like blues and greens, while saturation is more effective with warmer tones like reds and yellows. If you increase saturation too much it will wreak havoc on skin tones. So crank up the vibrance two or three times more than saturation. For instance, you might push vibrance to 20 or 30, while boosting saturation to 10.
- Using your camera from Beachcamera.com to take some portraits? Use the Spot Removal tool to soften blemishes. Set the brush to the Healing Tool for a speedier, cleaner result. And consider using 80 percent opacity to leave a suggestion of the blemish for a more realistic effect.
You’ll want to use these Photoshop techniques again and again to improve your photos.