Happy Friday! Autumn Baldwin here, stopping by with some photo-editing tips.
This time of year I always find myself wishing for blue skies and gorgeous views. Since it just looks gray out my window, I’ve been looking through photos from my trips to more scenic places. I decided to share today the easy, three step editing method I used for turning good scenic photos into great ones.
Look at the photos below. The top photo is just fine, a fun shot of the Statue of Liberty with lots of sea and sky surrounding it. But it’s not nearly as vibrant as it could be, and with just a few minutes worth of editing it goes from fine to fantastic.
I did my editing in Photoshop Elements and that’s what I’ll show you how to do, but most of what I do in Photoshop Elements is fairly easy to do in any photo editing application.
Step 1: Adjust levels to add brightness and contrast
Hit control-L (command-L on a mac) to open the levels box. You’ll see a histogram, which looks a bit like a mountain range, with three triangles underneath it, one in the middle and one at each right and left side. To brighten the photo, pull the rightmost triangle to the left until it meets where the mountain range begins. Then pull the leftmost slider to the right, which will add contrast. Play around with all three sliders until you like how the photo looks.
2. Bump up the color saturation
Control-U pulls up the hue/saturation box, where you can increase the color saturation. This works very well for scenic photos, where a little more extreme color is appropriate, but use caution bumping the saturation on photos of people (you can end up with strange skin tones and alien-bright eyes).
3. Use the burn tool to add depth
Click on the little hand icon to activate the burn tool, which acts like a paint brush that deepens the colors you swipe over. Choose a large soft edge brush and set it to midtones at a low opacity (about 15%). Paint around the edges of your photo to deepen them and create a slight vignette effect – this will make the center of your photo appear even brighter.
And that’s it! Three simple steps will amp up the vibrancy of your scenic photos so they’ll look their best when you add them to a scrapbook layout:
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