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5 minute digital makeover – don’t let your photos out without it!

October 24th, 2010 No Comments

Part 1 – Getting started

Digital cameras are a marvelous invention, and something that is increasingly common. However, using them to take great photographs is a much more challenging proposition (see this article). If you are going to spend money on getting them printed on canvas you want to make sure that your pictures are perfect – including things like great colour and a strong central focus. In this three-part series of articles we are going to show you how to use Adobe Photoshop to give your photos a “digital make-over” that should take no more than 5 minutes. These tools are quick and simple, but they can have a great impact on your photos. By the end of this series, you should have a number of tools in your belt that will allow you to confidently get your photos printed on canvas.

The hints in these articles are intended for a beginner Photoshop user – but also apply to most of the other major photo-editing programs

Important tip:

Photoshop has multiple levels of undo. Undo is your friend, having multiple levels means that if you do a number of things to your photo and don’t like them, you can go back to the point at which you are happy with your work. To do this in Photoshop you need to select Edit -> Step Backward. If you try something and it just looks like it’s gone a bit far, then you can also choose toFade the last action. This just reduced the intensity of the last change you made, so you can fine tune your image. Again, you can select Edit -> Fade.

Many of the tools discussed in this article have automatic options, which will often do as good a job or better than you can manually, at least until you get more experience. However, sometimes it can go horribly wrong, and there are times when you may want to have more control. In these cases, you can adjust things manually.

Getting started:

The first step when you’re working on any file is to save a separate copy. Most cameras save their photos in the JPEG format, which is what’s known as a ‘lossy’ format. It reduces the file size of the images, but at the cost of quality (see this article). When you’re making changes to your photos, it’s best to save them in a ‘lossless’ format, that way you can keep the quality good throughout the process. To do this in Photoshop, open the photo, then go to File -> Save As. The best format to use while you’re editing is the default Photoshop format (psd), as this allows you to save various layers as well. Once you have saved a copy of your photo, close Photoshop and reopen the PSD file (or whichever format you chose). This is to make sure that you’re working on the copy and not the original.

We are now ready to begin editing your image, in the next part of the series we will learn how to use some of the great tools Photoshop has to get your pictures the best they can be and ready for print.

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