We all realize that every photo found between the covers of our favorite magazines is digitally enhanced. Blemishes are removed, skin tone is improved, and models look better than they ever could in the real world. Here are four (4) Photoshop tips to help elevate your pictures to this unattainable standard of perfection.
You’ll Learn How-to…
Though she probably won’t be happy about it, I’m going to use a picture of my fiancé Cassandra with my mother’s friend Jeff to illustrate how to perform each of these tasks. To show you what we’re working towards, here is a before and after of the two of them at a holiday get together.
As with most pictures you’ll take, unless you have absolute control of your environment, you’ll be forced to contend with your surroundings. There always seems to be something that is fighting with your subjects for attention. One way to refocus this attention is to blur the unimportant portions of the photo. Here is how I did it with the example image above.
I opened the photo, and switched Photoshop into quick mask mode. You can do this by clicking a button on the bottom of your toolbar. Once in this mode, you essentially paint the area you want to blur. We could attempt the same with the Lasso tool, but using the quick mask option is much easier.
So, I pick a brush, and start painting. Once I’m finished, I switch back into standard mode, and see that “marching ants” have surrounded the area I just painted. I go to “Select > Invert” (Shift+Ctrl+I) to select the inverse area, in this case, the background.
Now all that’s left is to go to “Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur” and play with the settings until I’m happy.
Let’s face facts. None of us have perfectly white teeth. It’s not the end of the world, but if you want your smile to pop in photos, using the same selection technique mentioned above with quick mask mode, you can make your teeth look like spotlights.
First, switch to quick mask mode and paint the area you want to whiten.
Then switch back to standard mode and select the inverse (Shift+Ctrl+I). Now that we’ve selected the mouth area, we can go to “Image > Adjustments > Replace Color”. Using the color sampler, select a color in the smile that you’d like to replace. Now we just increase the lightness and check the difference with the preview option to transform a slightly yellow smile, into a bright white one.
When you’re out “in the field”, colors tend to be washed out by your flash or surrounding light. Again, using what we’ve learned about the quick mask mode of Photoshop, we take these colors and make them shine.
In this example, I chose my subjects clothing. After painting, selecting, and inverting my selection, we can go to “Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation” and increase the saturation to a level that helps restore the color’s original luster.
This is by far my favorite Photoshop trick. It’s simple, but would have been a godsend for my high school senior pictures! Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those handy, so I have to embarrass my fiancé just a bit further.
All you have to do is select the blemish you want to remove the “Filter > Noise > Dust & Scratches” filter will do the rest.
Watch Out Heidi Klum
I’m sure there are even more great ways to pretty up your pictures, but I haven’t learned them yet! Good luck out there. Now go make yourself look like a supermodel!
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