For this month I would like to walk you through my process that I do to edit almost every sigle pic I shoot and want to use either on my blog, or for scrapbooking, or BOTH!
To show some differing effects let me use two different pictures.
Sorry they're so big. Didn't feel like editing my unedited versions. LOL! The first one was shot in a park with a pretty bush in the background. The second I pinned up a black sheet in my kitchen to use as a backdrop
Okay so the first thing I'm going to do is crop. If you're a really good photographer you may be able to skip this step cause you framed your shot just right, well I'm a lousy photographer so I always crop after.
There are so many different ways you can crop a picture! It all depends on what you are trying to "say" with the picture. I'm going to leave them fairly zoomed out cause I want that cute pumpkin and I want to keep his full body in the other. Yo may want to crop right into the face. Just remember if you don't have a great camera, cropping in too close then making it bigger will stretch the pixels and you don't want to do too much of that!
Great! Looking better already!
You may notice the color on my park picture look a little dull. Let's see what we can do to liven them up a bit.
First let's play with levels.
Image - Adjustments - Levels
For the park picture we'll take the little arrows at the bottom of the scale (outlined in red). If we move the one on the right one (black arrow) the picture gets darker. If we move the one on the left (white arrow) the picture gets lighter the arrow in the middle is for your midtones. If you have a scale that is completely flat on one end you'll want to slide it to the bottom of your curve in the scale. Doing it this way rather than in you're brightness section maintains the contrast. I'm going to lighten up my picture just a bit
For the frog we're going to use a different method. See the droppers on the side of your levels panel? (outlined in red). Select the black dropper and click on the darkest black on your picture. For me it's a shodow of a crease in my backdrop. Then With the white dropper select the brightest whitest part of your picture. For me this was the highlight in the frog eye on the costume. This will even out your levels nicely on most pictures that have both black and white in them.
That's great! My park picture looks less grey and on my frog picture not only is the black true black and the white true white, but it practically elminated the creases in my sheet! Insta iron yay!(if you do not have a high contrast monitor this may not be a noticable change)
I want the colors on my park picture to be a bit richer so it really stands out. to do this I'm going to use a blend.
First duplicate your layer. You can do this by hitting Ctrl J OR right click on the layer and select Duplicate Layer
Then on that duplicated layer, select the overlay blending mode. Then lower the opacity (outlined in red) till you have the desired effect. Play with different blending modes if you like. It's neat what you end up with! Now we're talkin'!
One more thing I usually do. I've been on a sharpening kick lately. Probably cause I want a DSLR camera that captures those really sharp pictures if you have one you don't need this step, but I don't have one. :(
Merge or Flatten your layers
*If you're not certain your done playing with levels and color than make sure you save a copy with your individual layers (a .psd file for me) BEFORE you merge or flatten your layers.
Then go to Filter - Sharpen - Unsharp Mask
Play around with the settings but don't go out of control, we're just bringing out the a little, You want the photo to look like you're a natural photographer, not edited to death! above are the settings I used. This will be different depending on the dpi and size of your picture.
*If your picture ends up really pixelly after this step try Filter - Noise - Dust & Scratches BEFORE you sharpen. If you have too much noise (speckles) in the picture the sharpen still won't work very well.
Now I might on my park picture take some red out of his nose and minimize the bags under his eyes, as I did below, but that's on and individual picture basis. As far as what I do to EVERY picture, we are done! Not amazing differences, but certainly better!
Have fun editing your everyday photos!