As your wedding photography skills grow, you start to look for and pick up Photoshop tricks and tips to make your images better. As you begin to observe photographers, you realize their images aren’t straight from the camera. Post-processing plays a major role in the way their images look. There might be subtle or heavy work on those images.
If you love Photoshop, you probably have many favorite Adobe Photoshop tricks in your arsenal when it comes to editing. Maybe you use it to retouch or fine-tune images. Maybe you use it for some light graphic design. However you use it, you know that Photoshop is a powerful yet intuitive software that can help you bring out the best in your images. So if you feel that it’s an essential part of your workflow to edit pictures with Photoshop, then check out these tips below to either get you started or pick up some few more Photoshop tricks for your toolbox!
What is Photoshop and How to Get it?
In simple words, Photoshop is Adobe’s photo-editing, image-creation, and graphic design software.
Photoshop provides editing features for pixel-based images as well as vector graphics. It uses a layer-based editing system. Layers can act as masks or filters, altering underlying colors. You can add shadows and other effects to the layers. Photoshop includes automation features called Actions to reduce the need for repetitive tasks.
If you use Photoshop, you either participate in the Creative Cloud subscription and get all the great updates, or you purchased it as a stand alone. If you aren’t already a subscriber, you can take a look at the subscriptions here. The best part is that Adobe gives you a 7-day free trial of Photoshop before you pay for a subscription.
15 Photoshop Tricks for Editing Wedding Photography
Now that you have Photoshop ready to go, let’s begin learning some Photoshop tricks for editing your wedding (and all) photos. These tips and tricks will help you create the most stunning wedding images that hopefully will also make your work easier.
1. Crop to Improve Composition
Cropping is a very simple and seemingly inconsequential Photoshop trick in the photo editing process. Nonetheless, it makes a world of difference in improving a picture’s composition. To crop in Photoshop you need to follow the steps below.
Select the crop tool from the toolbox. Select your desired aspect ratio by clicking on the drop-down menu. Choose from Unconstrained, Original Ratio, or any of the Preset options. You can also enter your preferred dimensions in the text fields beside the menu.
Drag the corners or the edges of the photo to achieve your desired crop. Press Enter or click the check icon to finish the crop.
2. Duplicating Layer Masks for Other Adjustment Layers
Use this Photoshop trick to save time, like when you need a copy of a mask from one layer to another adjustment layer. Or, use it when you’ve used the brush tool to create a mask. Simply hold down the Option key on a Mac or CTRL key on a PC. Click on the layer mask and drag it to the adjustment layer in question. This makes a copy of the layer mask without having to redo it again.
3. Add Blend Mode Layers
Stacking layers of solid colors using Blend Modes can completely change an image. It will drastically improve an image that is poorly exposed, bland or lacking in dynamics. You can add a saturation layer, increase warmth, and highlights.
To add saturation:
- Hit Command/CTRL + Shift + N for a new layer. Fill the layer with black
- Set the blend mode to Color Burn
- Take the Fill percentage down to 15%
To add warmth to an image:
- Add a new layer and fill it with orange
- Set the blend mode again to Color Burn
- Set the Fill to 15%
Add some color back in the highlights:
- Add a new layer, fill it with blue.
- Set the blend mode to Color Dodge.
- Set the Fill to 10%.
4. Dehaze with Camera Raw Filter
This is a function in the Camera Raw Filter. It is usually used when importing RAW images from a camera into Photoshop for processing. This function adds selective saturation to the image.
To access it, hit Command/CTRL + Shift + A on the keyboard. Or go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter in the main menu. This opens a new window. At the bottom-right, you’ll see a slider control called Dehaze. This is one of our favorite Photoshop tricks because Dehaze adds contrast and saturation without going overboard.
5. Change the Brightness and Contrast
Use a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer to increase dynamics. Or improve the definition of an image. Use it to lighten or darken the image. To use this Adjustment Layer, click the icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. It says — Create a new fill or adjustment layer. Then choose Brightness/Contrast from the from the drop-down list.
You can preserve the original image by using adjustment layers. You can change the settings for the adjustment layer in the Properties window by adjusting the sliders.
6. Add a Curves Adjustment Layer With a Difference
In the Curves adjustment, you adjust points on the curve line to affect the image’s tonal range. The S-shaped curve is a classic tonal tweak. It boosts contrast and color saturation. To do this differently, add a curves adjustment layer. Change the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce the Fill down to approximately 55%. This gives a similar boost to color and contrast. We promise you’ll love this Photoshop trick when you give it a try!
7. Dodge and Burn
Create a separate layer, change the blend mode to Overlay. Now, fill the layer with 50% gray. Name this layer “Dodge and Burn”. The Dodge and Burn tools are your go-to method for making selected areas of an image lighter or darker. Dodge is for lightening an area and the Burn tool is for darkening an area. Use a soft Brush and set Exposure to between 6-12% to paint back in the areas you don’t want to be affected (or want less affected) by the Dodge or Burn Layer you created.
8. Layer Comps
The Layer Comps feature in Photoshop is one of the more complex Photoshop tricks. It is a useful guide for before and after comparisons. This has five stages from straight out of the camera, to the final image. Adobe has a very detailed explanation of how this works here!
9. Stamp Visible
If you use layers a lot (and may photographer do because it’s a great way to control image editing without affecting the original image). Try Stamp Visible. When you use Cmd+Shift+Alt+E for Mac or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E on a PC, it keeps all the layers in a Photoshop file and makes a merged copy on top of them.
10. Place Command
You can find the ‘place’ command under File>Place. You can use this function to import the image as a Smart Object automatically. This is great for resizing the image without any degradation.
11. Patch Tool
If you haven’t used the Patch Tool, you are missing out on one amazing Photoshop trick that is used mainly for fine-tuning. It is a function of the Healing Brush Tools in Photoshop. You can now use the Patch tool to select things you want removed from an image, and fill using the Content-Aware on a new empty layer. You can set the Adaption to Loose. Make sure to select Sample All Layers. Here is a more detailed explanation.
12. CMD/CTRL + T = Transform
This is a great Photoshop trick for resizing if you’re working on many images in the same document. Click on any element in your frame and use CMD/CTRL T. This will bring up draggable corner on the image and you can size adjust by pulling in or expanding the corners.
Pro Trick: You can import the images into a document by using the Place command. This means the images will convert into Smart Objects. This will ensure the resolution of the images isn’t affected when you are transforming them within the document.
13. Warp Tool
The Warp tool is great for fine-tuning an element of an image if you want to stretch or reduce something within the image or the image as a whole. This works especially if you are working on composites.
First, Select All (CTRL/CMD A) to select the whole image
Then adjust the image using the draggable corners that show up in your selected area.
14. Use a Vignette to Create Focus
Vignettes are one of the oldest Photoshop tricks – or even editing tricks – use by photographers, but it never goes out of style! By creating a vignette, you draw the viewer’s eye inward towards the center of the image and away from its environment. This increases focus on the subject. You can also use a vignette with the Curves adjustments to enhance the nostalgic look.
15. Opening a Second Window for the Same Document
This Photoshop trick will get you moving much faster! While retouching images to get rid of dust and blemishes, you may need to zoom in. You have to zoom back out to see how the image looks, and then zoom back in to resume your retouching. Instead, you can open a second window for the same document. You can open another window by Window>Arrange>New window for new_filename.PSD. Keep in mind to keep it at 25% (or fit-to-window).
Photoshop Tricks for Wedding Photography: Wrap Up
We hope our Adobe Photoshop tricks will help you improve your editing skills. We know there are a lot more tricks you can use in Photoshop. But we assure you our tips are enough to get you started and maybe even improve on your existing skills!
While Photoshop is fantastic for photo editing, it does have its limits. It’s the best for fine-tuning the images, finding your creative style, voice, and for the final touches. But for the work-horse tasks related to post-production, consider ShootDotEdit. We do everything you don’t want to do, including culling. Yes, we offer culling! Check us out and see what everyone is raving about!