Make Your Amateur Photos More Professional
With everyone and their grandmother having a digital camera you can make almost anybody look like a professional photographer, well, better-than-amateur at least. You can use this simple process on almost any photo you take.
Let’s start with our regular, old, point-and-shoot photo. This one was taken with a little higher-end camera, but it can still use a lot of work.
First, we’re going to sharpen our image a bit using the Unsharp Mask [Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask]. We don’t want anything too drastic, so I used some low settings. Amount: 40%; Radius: 0.9 pixels; Threshold: 1 level. You basically want enough to make a difference, but you don’t want any glowing or hard edges.
Now we’re going to add a Levels Adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels]. When the Levels dialog opens, just click on Auto. A lot of people frown on the Auto Levels, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, they’re a lifesaver.
Next step is to add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast]. Increase the Contrast a little bit, 10 is usually a good standard amount. Too much and it looks fake.
One more adjustment layer… the Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation]. Increase the Saturation very slightly. I usually never use more than 5-6.
Now you can probably already see how much of a difference these few steps make. One of the features of Photoshop CS is the Photo Filter Adjustment layer. I went ahead and added a Photo Filter Adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter], with the default Warming(85) setting.
It’s a subtle change, but it usually makes the photo look nicer.
You can stop now and still end up with a nice photo, or you can continue on to add a little bit of background blur.
I’m going to start by duplicating my Background Layer [Ctrl + J]. Then go to [Filter > Blur > Lens Blur]. I left the settings default, and just lowered the Radius down until I get a decent, but not too drastic blur.
Now add a Layer Mask to your blurred layer [Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All] and paint the focal areas black to hide the blur. Once you’re done, you can even alter the opacity of the blurred layer to reduce the amount of the blur.
Here’s a comparison to the original:
- Posted at April 4th, 2005 05:22pm
- Posted by Tommy Maloney
- Filed under Photography
- Tagged with camera, digital, Photography, photoshop, Tutorials
- 16 Comments have been made
- Aging People
- New Slim Urban Friendly Camera Backpacks
- Canon XSi unboxing
- Photomerge: Snapshots to Poster Prints
- Creating Sunsets with Silhouettes