Make your photo stand out!
A few basic Photoshop tips
Now that you have taken a photo, let’s discuss the basics of making that particular shot “stand out.” I have seen many pictures that look great composition wise (positioning, lighting, subject, etc), but lacks contrast, lacks good color, and/or improperly exposed (too dark, too light). The photo turns out “flat” as we say in photography terms. Even those of us that shoot with DSLR’s can have this issue. This is why using photo editing programs is a great tool to have if you are one that takes pictures quite often. If you plan on doing it professionally you better get very familiar with a good editing program too.
One thing I may add is read you camera’s manual. I know many of us just go straight into using a new product and finding it difficult to use when all we had to do was read the painful manual. Well your camera has many functions, especially DSLR’s. Their are slight tweaks that you can do on the “In-camera” settings like increase saturation (intensity of color), sharpness, contrast, etc. to help improve your overall shot. But for the most part, if you don’t like how the photo turned out this is when you do some post processing in the photo editing program.
Let’s talk contrast. Contrast is the difference in visual properties that makes an object (or its representation in an image) distinguishable from other objects and the background. In laymen terms the difference in brightness between the light and dark areas of a picture. When you post edit your photo in Photoshop (as an example) their is an option to adjust the brightness / contrast. Think of these adjustments as a light switch. They are their for a reason, and that’s to dramatically improve your shot. When I say “dramatically” I mean how far you would like to manipulate your photo. One thing you will learn in photography is that every person’s “eye” is different. We all see things in our own perspective, so what one person says about your shot will not be the same as the next and so on. Do what you like! Here are a before and after of a few photos that I can use as examples:
here is a photo straight from the camera. As you can see it is “Flat.” It lacks luster.
You see how the lighting in the background and foreground stand out “pop” that much more. Big difference don’t you think!?
Here is another example:
Now with added contrast:
Ok now onto saturation. Saturation changes the intensity of a color. This adjustment allows you to control the strength of color of the final image. When you see photos in the magazines of the crystal clear blue waters around islands; that does have some saturation added to it. Sure there is crystal clear water, but with added saturation it makes that image “pop” and that’s what we want to achieve. Again in a photo editing program like Photoshop you will see an option saying saturation. It may also be tied into “Hue” option as well, but saturation is the most basic editing you can do. Here are examples taken from the photos above:
This one already has the contrast added
But now let’s adjust the saturation just a tad bit more to make it stand out
You can see how the water is more of a deep blue and the redfish stands out a bit more.
Now let’s try it with the kayak photo:
Contrast already added
Now let’s tweak the saturation
Big Difference and it stands out!
When you are done with these edits, the final adjustment that should be done is to add some sharpness. This will aide in making your shot “crisp” as many say. Don’t add too much, just a slight adjustment will do.
These are the basics to help you achieve that “eye” catching photo. Make someone say “ohhh” or “ahh.” Just like using your camera, you have to practice a lot with the editing program. Many get overwhelmed at the sight of looking at all the options that a program offers, but if you are not doing it professionally, I say keep it simple!