Photography is a technical and practiced form of art. It’s not an easy form of fascination, since several aspects are at play in a photograph: lighting, focus, composition, subject and more.
Post processing is just as important as the photo shoot. No matter how good a photographer is, everyone needs to tweak a few flaws and emphasize details. Glamour, landscape, events, micro and portrait photographers need a handy photo editing software to improve their photos. Adobe Photoshop is a must have program for designers, artists, art students and now photographers as well.
After the birth of digital photography, photo processing is no longer done in a lab, but in a computer. As a photographer, you don’t need to learn Photoshop inside and out; you just need to know a few Photoshop tools that will help greatly in your picture taking hobby or profession.
Cropping is an essential Photoshop tool for all digital photographers. You can improve your picture by leaving out unnecessary or bothersome elements through cropping. With the right cropping skills, you can make any ordinary shot into a noteworthy, interesting photograph.
Cropping can be used to increase focus of the subject. It can improve the composition of the picture. During a shoot, you may not have the right lens, the time or the position that allows you to take photos with perfect framing all the time. Cropping through Photoshop will later save you from that.
Dodge and Burn
Dodge and burn are common techniques used in the traditional film dark room, and now you can manipulate photos by dodging and burning through Photoshop.
The Dodge and Burn tool is found on the Photoshop tool box. The burn tool is used to make an area of the photo darker, while dodge tool blocks the light to make the area of the photo lighter. The Dodge tool can even create the photographers’ favorite ‘Glassy Eyes’ effect in photos.
See how different and beautiful it looks when dodging and burning is applied? Dodge and burn is used to improve photos by:
- Improving the exposure
- Bringing out details
- Directing your viewer’s eye movement and
- Adding drama and impact through the use of highlights and shadows
Repairing photos and hiding flaws are now made easier through Photoshop’s Clone Stamp tool. Clone Stamp could remove annoying phone wires, leaves, freckles, people, and other unwanted elements. You can even clone other items to make the photograph more interesting–maybe add books, fill in background with people or add more flowers–these are all possible through the Clone Stamp Tool.
As you can see in the picture above, the rock and leaf are removed by cloning the grass into the area.
Blur / Sharpen tool
The Sharpen tool in Photoshop increases contrast in areas you want to emphasize. You can sharpen edges, or pop highlights on shiny objects for effect. It can save a blurred photograph, but don’t use the sharpen tool too much or it will end up overdone.
Blurring can also create creative effects to a photo. It sounds ironic, but too much sharpness can be too much of a good thing. This is true especially if a sharp background distracts viewers from your real, intended subject. When you blur unneccessary details, your subject pops, creating focus. Gaussian blur creates the soft, blurry look while Motion blur creates the impression of movement.
Black & White Tool
Black and White provides a dramatic and gritty effect that cannot be found in colored photos.
Unlike other editing softwares where they simply desaturate the image and throw away valuable color information, Photoshop provides you full control of how your final output will look like. It separates lightness values per color through the Black & White adjustment. The tools allows you to emphasize and de-emphasize areas of your whim.
Have full control of the black and white tones of your image. Light is separated by color: reds, yellows, greens, cyans, blues and magentas.
If black and white is too extreme for you, you can also try Photoshop’s Photo filter tool and adding color tints. You can see how a tint can change the overall mood and feel of an image: Sepia tones make it look nostalgic, blue tones make it look cold and unwelcome, and so forth.
These are not the only tools for photographs to utilize, but in my opinion, they are the five crucial tools to master – they’re easy to learn and very important. If you feel confident on learning more Photoshop skills to use for your photographs, try to experiment which you can use for your hobby or profession. However, don’t overdo post processing – your main objective is to improve or enhance your photo, and not to digitally alter the whole photograph from scratch.