Photo Friday

You have until the end of today to comment and be in the running for a new header. Anyone who has commented since Wednesday is in the running. Just so you know… the more comments the more chances to win.

I thought in the spirit of telling you what camera I use I would let you in on a little bit of my photo secrets. I photoshop. I photoshop big time and I’m proud of it. I try to take photos so that I have as little photoshopping to do, but most of the time there is some digital work done on images. Mostly it’s of me. Erasing zits, making my boob look less saggy on a table (yes, I photoshopped that), but on occasion I will photoshop the boy too. So I thought I’d give you a little tutorial on how to take a mediocre photo and make it into something worth while.

Find a photo that is sort of ok, but could be better. I picked this one*.

Step 1: Adjust the levels. This particular image didn’t really need the images adjusted, but I did it to show you how to brighten a dark image.

  • select images, then adjustments, then levels
  • locate the black and white sliders on either side of the big black mountain. Slide them in to where the low part meets the mountain to brighten and darken the photo as seen here.

Step 2: Reduce the red-eye. Photoshop has a built in red-eye reduction tool, but I don’t like it. I use a more complex method of red-eye reduction. I think it gives a better result.

  • In the layers pallet in the bottom right select create a new fill or adjustment layer (it’s the black and white circle).
  • Select channel mixer
  • when the box pops up make the following changes: red 0%, green 50% and blue 50%. You will notice your whole photo turns an ugly color, don’t worry. Click OK.
  • Choose the paint bucket tool (under the gradient tool if you can’t find it) and press d to make your foreground color black.
  • Fill the layer with black by pressing alt + backspace. Your original color is now restored.
  • Select the paintbrush tool and find a soft round brush roughly the size of the pupil
  • change your foreground color to white by pressing x.
  • Paint the pupil white to reduce the red eye.

3. Colorize the eyes. I don’t do this very often. As a matter of fact, the boy has really blue eyes so I don’t have to. But this is mainly to show you how to do it. It’s a great tool on a black and white photo.

  • select the elliptical marquee tool and draw a circle around both irises (draw 1 circle and then hold the shift key and draw the other). Don’t worry if the circle is larger than the iris.
  • in the layers pallet select new fill/adjustment layer and select hue/saturation. Make sure the colorize box is checked.
  • drag the sliders until the desired color is achieved then click ok.
  • use the paint bucket tool to fill each circle with black
  • switch to the brush tool and paint each iris with white to colorize the irises.

4. Crop the photo. This is the most important step. A photo with tons of crap in the background is just that. Crap. Crop your subjects in to highlight the person or thing you are photographing.

  • select the crop tool
  • draw a selection around your entire image.
  • grab one corner and turn the selection, press enter. The photo automatically turns, but you will have big black or white triangles.
  • use the crop tool again to crop out the triangles. In my photo the resulting image still doesn’t look right.
  • Use the crop tool one more time to make the photo a little off center and come in closer.

Here is a comparison of the original and the resulting image. Not too bad.

*I actually took this photo in February with my digital camera. A better one (without photoshop) is at the bottom here.

15 Comment

  1. Oh, I love this post. Photoshop stresses me out. I’ve never really figured it out. I will have to give it a try again with your great instructions.

  2. I need to get photoshop – its just so damn expensive. I have Corel something or other and it’s so hard to use. I can do some basic fixing and you’re right it can make such a difference sometimes – late night with too much merlot? Adjust a few settings and those dark circles are gone!

  3. I’ve never used photoshop…but I know lots of people that love it. I need to check into it…

  4. Carla says: Reply

    Which photoshop do you have? can you use actions? Do you want to know how much photoshop I do? and have you ever played around with the “Liquify Tool?” OMG….talk about great therapy in distorting people you are irritated with.

  5. Interested in working with me? I have no patience for Photoshop work. Clipping paths piss me off. I am an InDesign whore…oh how I love the folks who made that.

  6. Mom says: Reply

    First off, let me state my grandson could not take a bad photo! It is amazing however, the capabilities of computers. What did we ever do with out them?

  7. Mom says: Reply

    Hello……..I’m still PATIENTLY waiting….waiting…..waiting, for my new header!

  8. kate says: Reply

    cheers for the tutorial, l!

  9. We had Photoshop back in college (when we had the student addition), and although we would both like to have it, it’s a little too pricey for us right now. We’re really trying to get everything paid off before we move (no, we still don’t know when we’re going to move – some time in the next 2 years or so), and we’re cutting out all extras. Rather stressing, but the more we have paid off (especially the house), the better position we’ll have when we move. Not to mention more house buying power since houses are more expensive down there!

    Maybe I’ll put Photoshop on my wish list, and you can show me how to use it when we’re down? How much do you charge for one-on-one lessons? Do I get a discount for having the kids in the background? πŸ™‚

  10. Nice. I am desperately begging for photoshop. I had a “trial” but it no longer works. Going to have to start looking around….. you have inspired me. πŸ™‚

  11. Photoshop eludes me. I have just started creating my headers using ms paint and ms publisher. I know its the easy way out and looks less than spectacular but the ps programs just make my head swirl.

  12. Jenny2 says: Reply

    I’ve signed up for a Photoshop class so I can stop asking a friend to help me with my creative thoughts and pictures. Thanks for reminding me I signed up, but have no idea where the class is being held. Hmmm….

  13. okay, so my little plain text header has grown on me. i’m content. but i still like to comment! ;>

  14. Lauri says: Reply

    I need to check photoshop out

  15. Lauren says: Reply

    I love this post. I have photoshop but only know how to do a minimal amount of things. I am definitely going to give this a try.


Leave a Reply