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Steve Randles

Optimising Photographs

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This is a very rough or bare bones tutorial for Photoshop users, there are many ways to adjust a photograph to improve it. Heres one method I use to "clean up" a "dirty" photograph in photoshop.

 

1.Curves

 

Open up your phtograph and then click on Image --> Adjustments --> Curves, you'll now be faced with a box like this with a diagonal line from top right to bottom left. This is the line we are going to adjust.

 

curve1.gif

 

But first grab the top of this "curves" box and move it so you can both view your photograph and also use the "curves" box.

 

Okay we need to make a diagonal "S" shape out of the diagonal line in the curves box, to do this we click on the diagonal line and drag it about. Inside the curves box there are also 3 horizontal and 3 vertical guide lines. If you click on the diagonal line at the point where the top guide intersects the righthand guide, and drag it upwards and slightly left, and click on the diagonal line where the left hand guide intersects the bottom guide and drag that one down and to the right, untill it roughly looks like this..

 

curve2.gif

 

Dont get confused, its the diagonal line your moving, not the guides.As you do this you'll notice the photograph changing, the adjustment top right lightens the picture, so as you adjust this part lighten more than you need as the adjustment bottom left will darken it back to a normal level. If you have done this correctly, and assuming your photo needed this help it will now be clearer and crisper.

 

 

If necesary you can do one or all of the following stages...

 

2.Brightness and Contrast

 

Click on Image --> Adjustments --> Brightness/Contrast.You'll probably need only very finite adjustments here, again watch your photograph as you adjust.

 

3.Hue and Sauturation

 

Click on Image --> Adjustments --> Hue/Saturation.When this box opens you'll be faced with three sliding adjustment tools, just move the saturation slider slightly to the right to boost the colours slightly.

 

4.Shadow and Highlight (Only available in Photoshop CS2)

 

Click on Image --> Adjustments --> Shadow/Highlight.Here again there are just two sliders to adjust, they each bring out details in the photograph that might have been hidden by incorrect exposure or ISO setting.

 

 

Remember that in all of the above, less is more and that correct exposure at the right ISO speed will render the above as pretty useless. However on those occasions where exposure was not right, or a cloud passed the sun just as you where taking the shot, then photoshop can save a photo that film users may have discarded. With my camera the quality is good enough that I hardly ever need to adjust a photograph, which has saved me lots of time in post processing, but I remember only too well my digital camera before this one, it was a 1.3mb point and shoot. This always seemed to give me shots that had a grey film over my pics. So this is where I found the above information on processing usefull. Do use google also as there are many ways to achieve the same end in photoshop.

 

If there is enough of a response to this or a need for it, next year I will do a series of mini tutorials on common photographic correction techniques


There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. - Ansel Adams

 

Focal Planet

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photoshop leaves me fuming (probably my fault) if you adjust contrast or most other things in psp a box opens with the before and after picture within it and sliders that directly change the image also by clicking a clicky thing within the box you can veiw your pic with the changes carried out (and using edit undo it)

i tried with photoshop but nothing apears to happen ?? theres so many other boxes everywhere parked about its difficult to see the one in use :(

is it possible to have it startup without the boxes to the right ???

 

"4.Shadow and Highlight (Only available in Photoshop CS2)"

its available in CS version 8?

having a problem starting photoshop after i'v connected to the web ,it runs fine whilst offline but becomes unresponsive (locks up loading fonts) whilst browsing and refuses to shut down <_< does it detect an online status and maybe want to do something ???

Edited by chesters1

Believe NOTHING anyones says or writes unless you witness it yourself and even then your eyes can deceive you

 

There is only one opinion i listen to ,its mine and its ALWAYS right even when its wrong

 

Its far easier to curse the darkness than light one candle

 

Mathew 4:19

Grangers law : anything i say will  turn out the opposite or not happen at all!

 

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical." Thomas Jefferson

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yes..go to "window" and untick everything except tools..


There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. - Ansel Adams

 

Focal Planet

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its crashed at the mo will try on next reboot :(


Believe NOTHING anyones says or writes unless you witness it yourself and even then your eyes can deceive you

 

There is only one opinion i listen to ,its mine and its ALWAYS right even when its wrong

 

Its far easier to curse the darkness than light one candle

 

Mathew 4:19

Grangers law : anything i say will  turn out the opposite or not happen at all!

 

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical." Thomas Jefferson

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Great article, Steve. Just the sort of stuff people want to see.

 

Will give it a go soon. Like chesters, I'm a psp fan. However, after a recent hard drive crash, I appear to have 'lost' my licence ;)


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I'm new to computors, know almost nothing about anything related to computors, and would welcome open armed absolutly anything that will help me improve my photography, and secondly my computing. Unfortunatly it needs to be in idiot guide formule for me!

 

The idea of buying a comp was to learn, and improve my digital photographs, I've been digital little over 1 year, but used an SLR for over 10.

 

So here I am: feed me :D

There must me more out there wanting the same?

 

Regards

Andy

Edited by Cameraman

If all else fails, follow the intructions.

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Guest CJS2
I'm new to computors, know almost nothing about anything related to computors, and would welcome open armed absolutly anything that will help me improve my photography, and secondly my computing. Unfortunatly it needs to be in idiot guide formule for me!

 

The idea of buying a comp was to learn, and improve my digital photographs, I've been digital little over 1 year, but used an SLR for over 10.

 

So here I am: feed me :D

There must me more out there wanting the same?

 

Regards

Andy

 

Yep, in a similar boat to 'Cameraman' although I use an old copy of PS 'Elements 2'. I've been messing about for a long time, back when 2m pix was the bees knees. Have a problem with dislexia which slows me down but I dont let it 'get me down'. I do a little semi pro work for the fishing media, but demands on final quality are not so high, 'in focus' is the main criteria. Thats problem number two, have to rely on auto focus, as the 'minces' are not what they used to be, use infinity focused 'Binos' for the same reason.

 

Any help would be appreciated as I have stagnated recently, relying to much on me' Cannon S50, instead of raking out the Nikon D100. Thats the new years resolution, 'get back to taking some proper photos rather than the snap-shot way that I have fallen into'. Although I know excelent pics can be had with this new breed of pocket 'D' camera, seems a shame to wast a good SLR . . . A good SLR wont make me (Sir) David Baily however.

 

Any advise on the Elements Program, I read the other day that the latest incarnation is very close, when compared to the full blown PS? Its just the cost!

 

:ph34r:

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