Basic photo enhancement.

August 9, 2008

This is a tutorial for very basic photo enhancement. Basically, its just getting the right lighting for your pictures and adding a softer look to it.

This is my sister, Bethany, and her husband James. I’m going to use this photo to demonstrate. You can see how right now this picture is kind of overexposed.

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First, duplicate the layer. Now you should have two layers, both the same. Go to your top layer, and go to Image, Adjustments, Levels. Adjust the sliders back and forth, the one on the left is shadows, you can drag it forward to make the shadows darker, and the others are midtones and highlights. Just keep messing with it until it looks right to you.
Here’s the picture after Levels.

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It already looks a lot better! Now duplicate the new layer. Select the new layer and add a slight gaussian blur to it. (about this much)

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Then at the top of the layers palette, change the screen mode to Overlay and adjust the opacity from about 45-50%. Then, duplicate THAT layer, and set it to Screen with the opacity at around 25-30%.

And here’s what it looks like now!

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Merge your top 3 layers together by selecting them all in the layers palette and hitting CTRL+E.
Now click back and forth on the eye icon next to the layers to compare your changes!

BEFORE:
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AFTER:
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