Photoshop Tutorial 1



In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll start off with some basic adjusting, and then we’ll add some extra’s for a more dramatic effect.


1. Crop

To improve the composition of the picture and to let the viewer’s attention focus more on the arrow sign, we’ll start with a crop.

With this crop, I decided the photo should stick with its original aspect ratio, so I set that to 3:2 using the Marquee [M] tool. Then, select Image | Crop from the menu.

I prefer cropping use the Marquee tool over the Crop tool when I want to crop/select the picture with a fixed aspect ration. With the Crop tool, you can only set a fixed size.


2. Levels

Because the photo was underexposed, we’ll adjust the Levels to compensate for the exposure. If you’re using raws, adjust the exposure using your favorite raw editor.

Notice the blank parts in the Levels histogram. Basically, there are no light parts in this picture. For example: The white parts are grey and other colors are also darker than they should be. Widen the range by draggin the arrows.


3. Color Balance

I like my skies not to be “just blue”, and I like a pictures to have warmer colors. This can be done by adding red or yellow to a picture.

In this case, we’ll just change the Cyan-Red color balance. Not too much, as that will result in a purple sky.


4. Saturation

For this particular picture, I want dramatic look: To make it more trendy.

In the Hue/Saturation box, increase the saturation to make the colors look more lively.



5. Sharpening

To compensate for the digital image’s softness, we’ll add some sharpening. We’ll use the High Pass sharpening method.

  1. Select the whole picture (Select All [Ctrl+A]), then create a merged copy of that layer (Menu: Edit | Copy Merged [Ctrl+Shift+C], then Edit | Paste [Ctrl+V])
  2. Set the layer’s blending style to Overlay.
  3. Apply the High Pass filter (Menu: Filter | Other | High Pass...). Depending on the size of the picture and the amount of sharpening, change its value.

6. Retouching

I originally intended the sharpening only to make the bottom part of the picture look better. The sharpening is also too noticable in the top part of the picture. So we’ll change the previous step to only apply to the bottom part of the picture.

  1. Create a new Layer Mask (Menu: Layer | Add Layer Mask | Reveal All).
  2. With round Brush [B], color the top part of the picture black, this results in the layers beneath to show. (Make sure the Layer Mask is selected).

7. Gradient (1)

I also wanted a classic genuine look to the picture by darkening the corners of the picture.

Note that you can get an even better result with Photoshop CS2 using the Lens Correction option, this combines this and the next step.

  1. First create a New Layer
  2. In that new layer, create a gradient like in the example image.


8. Gradient (2)

Now finish up the gradient.

  1. Set the layer’s Blending Type to Multiply and its Opacity to whatever value you like. I chose 50%

9. Curves

The previous two steps resulted in the picture being too dark, so I decided to use Curves to increase the contrast.


End result

And this is the end result in the first Photoshop tutorial.

Did you like this tutorial?
I’d be happy to hear about it! And I’d be happy if you would link my website.

Did you use (part of) this tutorial on your own pictures?
Show me the end result!

Do you have comments or suggestions?
Just post them below!

8 Responses to “Photoshop Tutorial 1”

  1. Yasser says:

    Nice Kenneth real nice… Ik google-de mezelf en dit was dus de eerste hit…

  2. Priscilla says:

    echt leuk!! Heb em geprobeerd, ik mail em je wel :)

  3. Thijs says:

    Very nice!! I tried it, and the results were amazing :D

  4. Tracy says:

    This looks nice. Gotta try that.

  5. Augustine Floyd says:

    What a great and simple tutorial. Thanks so much. I look forward to trying these suggestions. You make it so easy to attempt.

    Thanks so much.

    Augustine Floyd

  6. Jen jen says:

    Cool tips and easy to understand.

  7. Jess says:

    Awesome. I love the useful tips!

  8. Vicky says:

    Cool! Looking forward to other tutorials. :)

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Kenneth Kwee Photography / SyndiCube Studios

About Kenneth Kwee





Shooting pictures since around 2001, professional photographer since 2005. Contact Kenneth Kwee for photography projects in The Netherlands, including weddings. Connect to Kenneth Kwee on LinkedIn.

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