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Top 5 Tips for Photoshop Techniques

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As a photographer, one of the elements that makes you stand out from the hundreds of other photographers in your area is your Signature Style and the effects you add to your images. After you send your images to a wedding photography post processing company and receive the color corrected images back, this is the time for you to make your images unique and stand out.

In our webinar, Photoshop Techniques for Photographers, fashion photographer Lindsay Adler shared how to create simple yet eye catching visual effects in Photoshop. She believes that by utilizing Photoshop effectively, you can change your vision of beautiful imagery, while optimizing your wedding photography business at the same time. Here are the top 5 tips for Photoshop techniques that you can use on your next set of images.

1. Use Adjustment Layers and Layer Masks

In any photo, if there is a color or tone you don’t like, you can change it through the adjustment layers. By using the adjustment layers, you can alter your photo and make the colors work for your overall vision that you have for the image. For example, with the adjustment layers, you have the ability to alter and minimize or maximize the color hue, saturation, and vibrance of an image to achieve the desired look you are aiming for.

Related: Make your images stand out by creating drama with 7 simple tips

In addition to adjustment layers, Lindsay suggests using layer masks to selectively see or hide part of the effect you applied on your adjustment layer. While on a layer mask, select the brush tool and choose black or white as the paint color. By using a black brush on your layer mask, you can erase your effect and revert that selection back to the original layer. If you switch to a white brush, you can re-apply the adjustment if you accidentally erased it with the black brush! You can add several adjustment layers to each image, allowing you to apply certain effects to different parts of every image.

Tip: As a time saving technique, instead of relying on the Undo button whenever you want to fix something on your image, you can use the black and white brushes on your layer masks. This will allow you to quickly change the part of the image you want to, rather than continually undoing and redoing your actions.

2. Learn to use Blend Modes

If you want to add a texture or pattern to an image, achieving this look by using blend modes is a simple way to do this. Utilizing blend modes will change how two images interact with each other. Select the two images that you want to work with, and drag one image on top of the other image (remember to maintain the aspect ratio by holding the Shift key to avoid distortion!).

Once you have one image placed on top of the other, you can change how the top image interacts with the bottom image through the Layers Palette in your right-hand toolbar. This palette defaults to “normal,” and there are many blending options you can select from, including lighten, darken, and multiply. Each option will blend your two images together in a different way – for example, if you choose lighten as your blend mode, any part of the top image that is lighter than the bottom image will appear. As you first start using blend modes on your images, Lindsay recommends that you take time to play around with the different modes to fully understand the effects that you can achieve with each of the settings.

3. Work with the Liquify Tool

In addition to using the liquify tool as a body shape adjustment tool, it can be a great tool to use to enhance your blend modes and make them look more realistic. For example, if you place a patterned image onto your subject’s dress, you will want to ensure that the pattern does not just lay on top of the dress, because it will not look natural. You will want the pattern to bend and crease with the natural flow of the dress, and this can be achieved using the liquify tool. As you use this, be sure to be very subtle with your adjustments as to not distort the pattern too much, making it look unnatural.

Related: Are you interested in adding your Signature Style to Your Color Corrections?

4. Experiment with Different Brushes

Photoshop comes with an extensive array of brush types. Not only do you have the ones that originally come in Photoshop, but there are thousands of brush packs that you can download from the Internet for free! Using different types of brushes can give your images unique textures that fit your creative vision. As you work with these paint brushes, be sure to create new layers so you are not working on the original image – this way, it is simple to add multiple layers without destructing the original layer.

Tip: Lindsay recommends searching for “Photoshop Brush Pack” through Google to find many free brushes to help optimize your photos.

5. Retouch your Images

When it comes to the final touches, you can give your image the edge it needs with a simple, retouching session. Using brushes and blend modes can add detail like color changes or even add makeup onto your subject. Retouch your images by using selective brushes and blending modes to highlight any crucial details. Lindsay recommends blending options such as “Overlay,” “Soft light” and “Multiply” when retouching your images. Also, remember that if you are working with subjects, this is a good time to remove any blemishes that may be visible on their faces or bodies.

With many ways to use Photoshop to achieve your creative vision, it can be easy to spend several hours working on your images in this extensive program. While it can be fun to see how many ways you can alter one image, try to visualize ahead of time what you want to achieve with each image. Remember, you can always outsource your post production needs to a photo editing company to take care of 90% of the work! There are so many things you can do in Photoshop, and by having a clear vision, you can efficiently work in the program and know the tools you need to accomplish your desired look.

For you to learn more effective ways to grow your business, download our How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business: 2015 Updated Edition!

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