5 Simple Photoshop Adjustments to Enhance Your Photos

Photoshop can be very complicated to understand and figure out where to start when editing your photos.  Here are 5 simple adjustments to get started.

#1: Cropping

Cropping a photo is a simple adjustment that can make the photo more interesting.  Remember the rule of thirds when cropping a photo.  Also, I would suggest using a 300 pixel resolution when cropping.  This will make for the best print quality.  To crop, you will use the tool that looks like this Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.15.24 AM.  Once you click on it, you will have options of what size you want the photo to be and the resolution.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.17.18 AM

These are the settings I cropped the following photo to while using the rule of thirds.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.19.46 AM

#2: Levels

Before you begin, you always want to make a copy of the background.  This will keep the original photo from being altered.  You can find out how to make a copy here.  To get to the levels panel, click on the half black and half white circle on the bottom and select levels.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.29.47 AMThe levels adjustment box will pop up and show a histogram of the photo.  Usually, the two outside sliders should be moved to where the histogram ends on each slide, so for this photo, I will need to move the left slider slightly to the right.  This will adjust your photo to be exposed properly.  Cambridge in Colour has additional tips on using levels.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.29.59 AM

#3: Hue and Saturation

Hue and Saturation can be found under the same menu where levels is found.  The panel will look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.38.51 AM

I usually leave the hue where it is and increase the saturation of the photo slightly.  This will help in making the colors in the photo pop.  The trick is to not adjust it too much, which would lead to the photo looking unnatural.

#4: Shadows and Highlights

The shadows and highlights adjustment can be found by clicking on image on the top.  Then go to adjustments and find shadows/highlights.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.44.10 AM

The panel will look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.46.44 AM

According to photoshop essentials, the shadows and highlights can be adjusted to bring out details in the photo.  I adjust mine to my personal liking.

#5: Dodge and Burn

The dodge and burn tool is helpful for spots in the photo that may be too bright or too dark.  This tool is also used to help bring out details in the photo.  Planet photoshop has some tips for dodging and burning a photo.  The following button is where the tools are found.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.54.26 AM

For the settings of both tools, I set the exposure on the stop to about 3%.  This helps to keep the photo looking natural.

After the five simple adjustments, my photo went from looking like this:


to this:

IMG_1032 copy

What are your favorite quick adjustments to use in photoshop?  Share your photos with me on Instagram and Twitter!



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