15 Tips to Create Better Images in Photoshop

by Brant Wilson

on April 2, 2013

in design

Photo editing can be real hard work if you are not familiar with the software you’re using. It’s important to have the software that’s tested and proven to create professional looking images and there’s no better software out there right now that can compete with Photoshop. Many professional photographers and editors have used Photoshop and even amateur photographers now know how to use it. With this program, you can create wonderful digital images and make a boring photo into something that you would want to hang on your wall.

Make sure you familiarize yourself first with Photoshop to get the hang of how it works. Play around with it, try out different tools and see what they can do to your photo. Soon you will learn what these tools are intended for and you can be as creative as you want and add different designs to your photos. The choices are endless really and Photoshop is the best tool you can find.

Here are the 15 tips you can try to create better images in Photoshop.  Give them a try and find which ones of these tips will work best for the type of image you have and what result you have in mind.

Tip No. 1- Blur and Overlay

This technique will enhance the color of the image you have. The lighter tones will look lighter and the darker tones will appear even darker and soft. Therefore, with this type of technique, the contrast of the colors is greatly improved and the after effect looks a lot better than the original photo.

First thing you need to do is to duplicate your photo layer by dragging it to the new layer icon or press Ctrl+J. While on this, choose the Gaussian blur by clicking on filter then choose Blur and look for the Gaussian Blur choice. Start blurring the photo until you are satisfied with it. It should retain the shapes of the details in the photo but must be blur enough that you can only see a blur image and the details are not so distinct.

Then, go to the layers palette and look for the blending mode and change it to Overlay. As you can see the photo looks more enhanced and vibrant. It feels like it’s going to pop out of your screen because of the beautiful color contrast.

Tip No. 2- Background Filter

This technique will show the subject in the photo, the one you want to highlight, and the background will be filtered to your liking. Start by duplicating the layer of the photo you’ll edit then use the lasso tool and select your image subject then type Ctrl+Alt+D to feather your selection. Choose a large enough feather size then go to layer, choose new then choose the layer via copy. In your new layer you should have just your subject with fading on its edges. Then choose layer copy to be under your subject layer then try to filter out this layer. You can choose different types of filters such as brush strokes for this.

Tip No. 3- Photo Blurring for Softness

Start again with duplicating your layer and then apply the Gaussian Blur once again. Make the photo blurry but try not to overdo it then set the layer opacity to 50% or whatever percentage opacity you think would be best. Then overlay. The photo result will be a lot softer.

Tip No. 4- Have Fun with Neon Glow

The neon glow tool will actually give more drama to your photo if you know how to use it. Start once again with duplicating your photo layer then choose the neon glow tool from the filter tab and choose artistic then neon glow. Choose the color for your neon glow that would be complementary to the colors in your photo. Think of what will create a beautiful accent to the photo for your neon glow. Choose the size of your neon glow and set the glow brightness. It may not be perfect the first time but just try to tweak it until you find the right size and brightness. Then change the photo’s blending mode once again to overlay and choose the type of light you want. The effect would look amazing.

Tip No. 5- Turn Boring Photos into Paintings

There are photographs that are just badly taken and no matter how you try to artistically improve it, they’re just plain lousy. Turn those photos into paintings and you’ll most likely have the best result. Even bad lighted photos look great when you use the art filter with paint effects.

Tip No. 6- Vector Format

This is most of a professional photo editing technique. Learn about how you could vectorize the image and you’ll be able to save those photos with low pixels.

Tip No. 7- Turn the Image into Monochrome

Black and white really adds drama to the photo. Add a bit of extra colors into the picture and you’ll have a wonderful monochromatic picture like a pro. The most preferred colors to add to black and white are green and blue but you can play around with different colors. Just make sure the color blends in to the emotions you want the photo to depict.

Tip No. 8- Image Noise Addition

Image noise will actually add more life to a photo. If the scene looks boring or lifeless then this trick will give justice to the photograph. Go to the noise filter and play around with the amount of grains you want to add to your photo.

Tip No. 9- Give it a Lomo Effect

This is another difficult process but once you learn how to give the Lomo effect you surely would want to keep on using it. It requires several steps so if you can find a script online for this, the better. The Lomography is the type of photography that we used to have before the digital photographs existed. The colors were different with Lomo and you can still achieve that effect by converting digital photographs to have the Lomo effect.

In making the Lomo effect you need to create the vignette look that is well known with Lomos. You can do this in Photoshop by creating a circle lasso with the feather set at about 80 px before you create the freehand circle. Then you need to invert it by pressing shift+ctrl+i. Then add the layer for Levels that will give the layer a masked-out look on top of the layer of the original photo.

Now you need to recreate the effect called as cross-processing by flattening the image by clicking menu then layers then merge layers.  Add a layer that is curved then another layer that is on top of the 2 previous layers and here you can set it to be filled with black paint. Then you should go to the blending mode with the hue and reduce it to 40% opacity. After this you need to sharpen the photo and you’ll end up with an image that has the Lomo effect.

Tip No. 10- Image Sharpening

It is a great idea to sharpen the images especially if you plan on converting it to a different size. By sharpening the image you will be getting a more vivid looking photograph. This is a very easy thing to do and it’s quite straight to the point. Just go to the mask filter and go for the sharp filter. You can even click the unsharp mask filter so you can get a preview of how sharp your photo is so you can make the adjustments until you are very happy with the result of your photograph.

Tip No. 11- Remove Unwanted Elements from the Photo

Have you ever had a wonderful photo taken yet something’s just ruining it? It’s possible that you have taken a wonderful photo of an infrastructure but someone walked by and ruined it. If that’s the case then there’s a way to get rid of that unwanted element in your photograph. Just go to the clone stamp tool and use it to get rid of that unwanted element. It might be a bit tricky and not all unwanted elements can be removed but it’s worth a shot to save that image.

What you need to do is to use the patch tool. Select the unwanted element and click inside the line and drag it with the mouse. The patch tool is then going to blend in through the area you selected. The clone stamp tool is a tool you can use if you want to recreate certain patterns so it won’t be obvious that you removed an unwanted element from the photo.

Tip No. 12- Color Effects

It’s very easy to give your image some color effects. This is the type of trick used for many music albums and you too can create your own image with wonderful color effects. Just open the image you want to edit with Photoshop then go down the layers palette and look for the option for Hue/Saturation and click on that. Set the Edit at Master then set hue at 0 and saturation at -70 with lightness at 0. The result would look a bit like black and white because of the saturation of -70.

Now you need to create a new layer and in this layer you need to set it at the mode for soft light blend then choose a hard brush of 48px and use it to paint around your photo with colors that you want to use. Now you need to adjust the Gaussian Blur to 90 pixels. You now have a wonderful edited image and you can add captions or whatever else you want to add. You can set the color to look like a rainbow, the choice is yours to make.

Tip No. 13- Creating a Panoramic Image

Sure there are cameras now that lets you shoot panoramic images to give a better view of the place. If you happen to be enjoying a wonderful scenery and you really want to capture the view but you don’t have a camera that can take panoramic images then you can still get the same effect with a bit of editing using Adobe Photoshop. It’s not as easy but it will definitely be worth it. Take a lot of photographs of the place on different angles but only from one spot so the size would be the same. By stitching the photographs together you can achieve a wonderful panoramic view.

Tip No. 14- High Dynamic Range

The high dynamic range effect is a wonderful effect that you can easily achieve when you use Photoshop editing software. You need to take several photos with at least 3 exposures to create the high dynamic range image. Make sure all photos look the same but only have different exposures such as low light, high light, mid tones, etc. If you are taking a photo of an object or a place, keep your camera steady and take shots when the exposures change. If you’re in a studio, you can achieve this by changing the lighting.

Once you have at least 3 images with different exposures you can combine them altogether layer by layer and what you’ll get is a high dynamic range image. It will look like it’s taken by a professional photographer.

Tip No. 15- Create Dynamic Lighting

If you don’t like your flat photo and want to change it to be more dynamic then this is the trick you need to follow. You’d take pleasure at how wonderful the end result would look like. You can mix two photos together. For example, if you have taken a photo of a background with a wonderful cloudy sky and you want to incorporate that with another photo then this is how you do it. Start with the lighting effects with the first photo which will be the main focus of your image. Click on Filter then Render then choose the lighting effects.  You can choose where you want the light to be coming from, either from the top right or the top left, center or wherever you wish.

Choose the Soft Spotlight as the style with the light type as spotlight. You can then choose the intensity and focus, gloss, material, exposure and ambience that you want. Now, you need to select parts of the photo that you’ll be hiding and use a pen tool to make the selection. If you want to change the sunny sky with a beautiful cloudy sky then you can select the sky then while it’s active you add a new layer mask.

Now it’s time to start duplicating the layer for the background. You don’t want to use it as it is but make sure you use the Gaussian blur and adjust it with a radius of 4 pixel or of a different pixel depending on your taste then go to the blending mode and set it to overlay. Now you can use this photo as a back layer then copy this layer with the Blending Mode set to a lighter color. The end result is going to be dynamic. You can play around with this technique and create other dynamic lighting styles.

Conclusion

These are the 15 tips that you can easily follow to give you better images with Photoshop. You don’t need to be an expert photographer or Photoshop user to get that professional looking image. Photoshop makes it easy even for amateurs to create wonderful photos. Just keep on practicing and eventually you’ll get the hang of how you can utilize the different tools offered with Photoshop.

There are many other techniques that will boost the quality of image you create. You can even discover how to make these techniques by tinkering with the number of tools and creating different layers of your photo. When you give this a try you will eventually learn how Photoshop can make your photo editing a lot easier.  Some of the tips offered here may take a bit of practice especially when you need to merge two photos together. It may not be a walk in the park type of technique but once you master it you’ll surely want to keep on doing it and create even more remarkable photos. You can also merge these tips together. For example, if you want to create a lomo effect photo with the monochrome style of lighting then you can do that too. Just create different layers until you achieve the look you want. The high dynamic range photo style is a very easy technique but it will surely make a big difference to the images you create if you simply follow this technique.

The Adobe Photoshop software is really a dynamic photo editing software and you wouldn’t need any other software to make great photos. Amateurs and professionals alike rely on it and the end result image greatly depends on your experience and expertise so continue to practice using the software and your images will also greatly get better.

Powered by Shutterstock

About Brant Wilson

Brant Wilson is a staff writer for the DesignMag network. Brant enjoys all things design and development, dogs, and candy. Brant is passionate about training freelancers. Learn how how you can earn $125+ per hour freelancing. Start learning for free now! Connect with Brant on google+