Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Photoshop Tips From The Pros
Some of the best in nature photography share 11 techniques that will turn a good photograph into an award-winner
8 Landscape photos can present a challenge in terms of balancing the exposure of a bright sky and a relatively dark background. When I have such a scene, where the sky needs to be darkened (and I didn’t use a graduated split-neutral-density filter), the Gradient tool provides a solution.
I start by adding a Curves adjustment layer and applying the desired darkening effect for the sky (though at this point it will affect the entire image). Then I choose the Gradient tool, choose the Black to White gradient from the pop-up on the Options bar and make sure the style is set to Linear Gradient. Then I drag on the image from the bottom area (foreground) to the top (sky), identifying the range where I want to transition the adjustment. This will create a smooth transition between areas that are being darkened (at the top of the image) and areas that keep their original appearance (at the bottom of the image).
9 Whenever I have an image needing specific color-correction, using the Selective Color adjustment makes it fast and easy. The first step is to create a Selective Color adjustment layer. Then, choose the color that needs to be corrected and adjust the color balance for that specific color range. You also can reduce color from highlight areas, such as in clouds, by choosing the White channel and adjusting color balance there. This is a very precise way to remove color casts from particular colors within the image without the need for complicated masking techniques.
10 Photoshop CS4 came onto the scene loaded with new and exciting features, as well as some less obvious improvements and refinements to existing functionality. One such handy little gem is the On-Image Adjustment tool added to the Curves, Black & White and Hue/Saturation adjustments. Shaped like a pointing hand with arrows indicating the directions of adjustment, it can be used to visually adjust selected colors and tones by merely dragging the mouse directly on the image. To enable the feature, click the Hand icon on the Adjustments panel for the appropriate adjustment layer. Want to darken the sky when converting an image to black-and-white? Add a Black & White adjustment layer, click the On-Image Adjustment tool, move your mouse over the sky, and click and drag to the left. Presto!
11 You can use the same method in a Hue/Saturation layer to increase or decrease the saturation of specific colors (by dragging left or right) or in a Curves layer to brighten or darken selected tones (by dragging up or down).
Tim Grey has authored more than a dozen books on digital photography and imaging for photographers, and publishes the Digital Darkroom Quarterly newsletter. Visit www.timgrey.com.
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