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3 Basic Photoshop Tools

Digital cameras have turned lots of us into aspiring photographers, even if it's just snapping pictures at a soccer game or a birthday party. But digital photos can be a little flat and often can benefit from simple Photoshop tricks.

Jami Edman is a professional photographer who teaches classes in photography and Photoshop and she shows the difference that a couple tricks can make.

As a professional photographer I often get asked how people can improve their photos in Photoshop. Many people buy expensive cameras expecting beautifully colored photos. Digital photos come out of the camera naturally flat, this is especially true with DSLR cameras. A few simple steps can give your photos a color pop. Photoshop also allows you to remove unwanted objects. And it has tools to darken areas of your photo in order to draw your eye to the brighter area of the picture. Today I demonstrated these steps using Photoshop Elements these steps also work in Photoshop CS5.

Removing objects

As with everything in Photoshop there is usually many ways to get the same result. Today I showed how to remove an object using the clone tool. The tool is in your tool palette and looks like a stamp. You pick the clone tool and go to a good area of your image and hold down the alt key and right click on the good part of the picture, then move the mouse over the area you want to remove. In this picture it was a wall vent and click on it. Photoshop takes the reading from the good part of the picture and covers the bad part. Great for removing blemishes, baby snot, lint, etc. The healing brush and spot healing brush are also tools that remove objects. You can find numerous tutorials on You tube that show you how to remove objects.

Color Pop

As mentioned above the color in digital pictures are often flat. The key to a good color pop is having a picture that is exposed correctly. If you have that, go to layer > adjustment layer> levels and then in the pull down menu pick soft light. A histogram will then pop up where you can adjust your midtones. Once you have done that you will see you have a new layer in your layer palate. You can adjust the opacity of your soft light layer with a slider at the top of your layer palate.

Burning (darkening edges)

In the tool palate there is a tool that looks like a curved hand, it is called the Burn tool. This is a brush that darkens areas of your picture. When you look at a photo your eye is automatically drawn to the brightest part of the picture. So if you darken the rest of the picture, the bright part will pop even more. I caution that less is more here. You want it to be subtle. It takes some practice. But when done well you can really pull the eye to the subject of your photo.

I know photography and Photoshop can be overwhelming. There is a learning curve. Don't give up there is lots of resources on the web. I teach a Photography Boot Camp class that is a hands-on class that covers photography (getting the correct exposure, composition, lighting in everyday situations, etc.) and Photoshop. I actually bring models to the class so we practice what we learn.

Visit my website for more information. Also visit my website to learn how you may enter to win a free spot in one of my classes.

Jami Edman Owner of Images by Jami- Custom Portraiture and Photography classes

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