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Editing Tips That Will Help You Get Great Looking Photos

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

It’s great if photos look terrific as is. But if they don’t, well, thank goodness for editing software!

The right editing techniques can do wonders for your pictures, but just like photography, this is a skill you will have to master. If you are starting out with your software, here are a few tips and tricks that will help you take your photos to the next level.

Learn Shortcuts

Photo editing can be an extremely time-consuming process. Opening, editing, and saving can take up precious time that you may not have to spare.

Learning key shortcuts can help a lot. Even something as simple as copy paste will end up shaving time off the process.

Another useful shortcut involves holding H down to create an instant zoom. Holding the space bar down will temporarily enable the Hand Tool so you can drag the image around to check out the areas of your photo and see if they require editing.

Use the RAW Filter

Using the Raw Filter will help you edit quickly and easily. It will allow you to do fast layer editing in Photoshop. To enable the function, select the layer you are working with and then go to Filter-Camera Raw Filter.

If you wish to return to the photo for more edits, convert the layer to a smart object using Filter-Covert for Smart Filters. This will keep you from making edits that ruin the picture.

Learn the Tools Before Making Basic Adjustments

When you start to edit, tools like color, contrast and crop will be easy to manage, but there are more complex tools that should be explored first. Check out he Camera Calibration panel and familiarize yourself with the Lens Correction tab and the Enable Lens Profile Corrections option. These are recommended, especially if you use a wide-angle lens that might push some areas out of the image.

If you crop an image before checking out these tools, those areas will be gone for good, and you may have never even realized they existed.

How to Create Vivid Skies

A clear blue sky always looks great in a photo. If your skies need an extra boost, try using the HSL option in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom.

To enable the tool, select Luminance and drag the blue slider to the left. This will darken the sky to create a bluer tone. Be careful not to overuse is as it may affect the look of other elements in the photo like the clouds.

Another option is the Targeted Adjustment tool which can be used directly on the image. This can be accessed from the ACR toolbar or you can also put it into effect by clicking the bullseye on top of the HCL panel in lightroom. Once it is active, simply click on sections of the sky that need to be lightened or darkened and adjust accordingly.

A graduated filter, clarity and curves, vibrance and saturation will also help your sky look more vibrant.

Give Photos a Stylized Look

Stylized photos are photos that integrates different design ideas into one image. If you want to achieve this look in editing, here’s how to do it.

1. Upload the photo in Photoshop and select the brightness/contrast panel.

2. Adjust brightness to +25, contrast to +35 and saturation to -25.

3. Adjust the curves layer.

4. Choose red first. Select and drag down until you are clicking on the center of the red line.

5. Next choose blue and move it upward.

6. Select the green bar and move it up a bit.

7. Select soft light and blending mode.

8. Add a pale-yellow solid color adjustment layer and set its blending mode to overlay. Select opacity to 35%.

9. The second solid color adjustment layer should be f00ff. Select screen as its blending mode and set opacity to 30%.

Try Out the Preset Settings

The Preset settings will appear on the left of the interface after clicking Develop Module. They will give you a good base to experiment with.

If you make a mistake and need to remove an effect, go to History palette. It will allow you to scroll through previous states so you can undo any errors you made.

Try Apply Levels

Adjustment levels may be accompanied by a layer mask. The mask can be effective in hiding parts of the tweaks you made. The Brush tool will allow you to paint over tweaks using black.

These tips will get you started on your editing journey. Once you have them under your belt, you will be able to use resources as well as the knowledge you have to teach yourself. Rest assured, you will be looking at lovely, edited images in no time.

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