Photoshop Tutorial 2



Like the first Photoshop tutorial, we’ll start off with some basic adjusting. Instead of the High Pass Sharpening method we’ll utilize the Unsharp Mask filter this time.

We’ll also learn how to do some basic retouching: removing lens flare on a simple background.


1. Levels

Like the first tutorial, we’ll adjust the Levels to compensate for the exposure.

There are many functions within Photoshop which can help you change the contrast in many ways. Most beginners use the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer.

Two other ways are through the Levels adjustment layer and the Curves adjustment layer. Some people swear by the use of Curves only, some think using Levels is enough. I actually find different uses for the different methods. That’s why I often combine both to achieve the end result.


2. Curves

After changing the Levels, the picture still looks bland. So we’ll change the contrast by creating a Curves adjustment layer.

By creating a curve, you can make the darker areas darker and the lighter areas lighter, like in this example. However, you can also do the opposite: lighten darker areas, and make lighter areas darker. The Eyedropper tool within the Curves dialog box helps you getting it right.


3. Color Balance

In combination with the Curves adjustment layer, we’ll make the picture less dull by changing the colors in the Color Balance adjustment layer slightly and by changing the Saturation in the next step. I wanted the grey bridge parts be more brown by increasing the Red as well as Yellow values.

Move the Cyan/Red slider to the Red side and the Yellow/Blue slider to the Yellow side. I changed as much as I liked. The sky didn’t change in a freaky color, so I left the Color Balance adjustment layer cover the whole image.


4. Saturation

Again, gone with the dull colors.

In the Hue/Saturation box, increase the saturation slider.


5. Sharpening

To compensate for the digital image’s softness, we’ll add some sharpening. We’ll use the Unsharp Mask method. Because I like to keep the original image in touch, we’ll apply the filter on a Merged Copy of the image.

  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. Apply the Unsharp Mask filter (Menu: Filter | Sharpen | Unsharp Mask...). Depending on the size of the picture and the amount of sharpening, change its value. I used these values:
    • Amount: 30%
    • Radius: 2,0 pixels
    • Threshold: 0 levels


6. Retouching

You might’ve noticed the lens flare. Lens flares are basically spots that are caused by the reflection of (sun)light through the lenses of a camera. Because the lens flare doesn’t add anything good to the picture, we’ll remove it using the Clone Stamp [s] tool.

  1. Select the Clone Stamp [s] tool
  2. While pressing the Alt key, on the part of the picture that needs to be cloned: Click close to the lens flare (but not too close — otherwise the lens flare will be cloned again at a different place). See the example image of where you might click.
  3. Make sure Aligned is checked.
  4. Now paint over the lens flare to remove it.

I usually retouch pictures after adjusting it, not before. If you retouch pictures before adjusting the pictures (with Levels, Curves and all), the edited parts might jump out: It’ll seem obvious you edited the picture.


End result

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

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

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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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