'How do I bring my photo to life?'
This is something we get asked a lot, and in all honesty we hardly edit our photographs. BUT, when we do, photoshop is the place for us. With a plethora of options, it's often hard to know which button to press, which colour correction tool to use, and how to make your picture look good without going overboard! Today I'm going to show you a few easy adjustments that you can make to bring your picture to life!
For example purposes, I'm going to use this parfait image below. There's not much wrong with the raw image itself, but I will still be able to show you some basic tips. Let's bring it to life!
This is probably the window that I use the most. It allows you to alter many aspects of the image without changing the image itself. The adjustment actions create a new layer on top of the image which can be deleted/hidden at any time without having to go crazy on the undo button.
Here I have used the brightness/contrast adjustment. As you can see, a new layer has been added on top of the background. The image has been brightened, and as mentioned this can be turned on/off at any time by simply clicking the eye icon next to the layer.
2. Shadows and Highlights.
Let's see what it does to this image. You can use the preview option to compare the changes.
The burn and dodge tool are perfect for targeting specific areas of an image. The Burn tool darkens an area whilst the dodge tool lightens it. You can change the size and exposure of this tool just like you would a standard brush.
There's not much to change on this image, but by using the burn/dodge tool I'm able to accentuate the shadows on the toppings:
4. Spot Healing Tool
Also known as the magic eraser, the spot healing tool removes blemishes no matter how big or small. If you've got crumbs or water drops on your table, have no fear, this tool will do the job. You may need patience with this tool. If it doesn't work first time, have a play with the size of the brush. It takes reference from surrounding areas, so i recommend using a brush size that is similar to the size of the object.blemish you are looking to remove.
I don't use this too often, but if my image is still lacking oomph, then the curves is the tool you need to be using. Again, by using the curves option that is part of the adjustment window, you can alter the image on a whole new layer without making irreversible alterations to the image itself.
The curves change with the shadows and highlights of the image again. It's really a case of trial and error, but you can turn the layer on/off to review the changes that you've made.
As a general rule, we try to follow our general photography tips in order to get a great snap first time around without requiring many edits. Too often people go way too overboard with their editing that their pictures go from good to tacky in a matter of seconds. If you're happy with your image as it is, I'd recommend just playing with the brightness slightly before settling. Often that's all it needs for the added va-va-voom.
Keep sourcing natural light, incorporate vibrant colours and play around with your angles. Practise makes perfect...you should see some of the images that I thought were good three years ago. (They remain firmly in my recycling bin!! ;)
Let me know if my tips help! X Hannah