Touch Ups

Photo Touch Ups
Now you are able to use the tools in Photoshop and know where to find them. Maybe now you want to know how to use Photoshop to improve your pictures? I hope so, because that is the next lesson.
The reason is that even if you can do manipulations in Photoshop, you need to know how to touch up your pictures to make them look better.
Touch ups include;
  • Resizing to appropriate size
  • Fixing the resolution (DPI)
  • Adjusting the brightness and contrast levels
  • Burning or dodging the picture if necessary
  • And lastly, Cropping the image.

The first thing that you are going to do is open the image in Photoshop. Once you do, your screen should look similar to the one below.

The reason that it is important to resize your pictures when you first enter them into Photoshop because if you don’t the picture could become pixelated later on when you print them. To resize the image, go to the Image tab, and go down until you see  Image Size. When you click on it a window should pop up that looks like the one below.
When sizing an image, you often want to use the size 7 1/2 inches by 10 inches for a basic standard. If you know that you need the picture to be a certain size, that would be the size you would want to enter. The width and height depend on the orientation of the image. More often than not, the image will come in at a much larger size than you would think. One example is having a picture go in and be similar or larger than the dimensions shown below.
In this image, the file that was brought into Photoshop was 22.2 inches by 16.67 inches. Most likely, you will not need the picture to be this large and the image may appear to be more pixelated because there are only so many pixels per inch. This leads us into our next touch up.

Changing the resolution of an image can help to fix up the pictures. Resolution is usually measured with dots per image, or DPI. The resolution level will depend on what your intended goal for the picture is. If you were going to be keeping the image on a cellphone the resolution would not need to be as high as if you were having the image printed professionally. The closer a viewer is going to be viewing the image, the larger the DPI should be.
Either printing pictures or having them printed: 300 dpi
Posting pictures to an online sight: 72 dpi
An example is shown below. When you originally bring in the image to Photoshop, the dpi will be 180 DPI or lower.
Once you have the resolution set, your next step would be to adjust the brightness and contrast levels of your image.

Brightness & Contrast
Brightness & contrast is another important step when touching up images because it enhances the image. Below is an example. The first image has no changes to brightness & contrast, while the second has been adjusted.
In the first image you see the shell sitting on cement with a building in the background and a car passing behind it. In the second image the contrast was brought up and not the texture of the shell is more apparent and the ground has more texture and there has been a feeling of depth that has been brought in, by increasing the shadows. that are clearly seen. This is a tool that is simple to find. All you have to do is look for the Image menu, and select Adjustments, before selecting Brightness/Contrast, as seen below. The second image shows the window that will pop up once you click on Brightness/Contrast.
Once the window opens, you can move the slider to set both the brightness and contrast to the levels that you think are the best for your image. There is no set level to make the picture better because each picture is different. In some cases you need to use another tool along with the Brightness & Contrast and this is the burn and dodge tool.

Burn/Dodge Tool
When using the burn/dodge tool, it often follows the brightness & contrast tool because changing the brightness & contrast will often expose lighting issues that may have been unnoticed before. A good example is the image used above. When the brightness & contrast was raised, the little bit of color in the sky started to vanish. To correct this issue, simply select the burn or dodge tool from the toolbar. In this case, the burn tool is needed. If you do not see one or the other, click and hold on the one visible until a side menu pops up and then select the tool you want to use. The side menu is shown below.
With some pictures, burning or dodging may not be necessary and can be skipped. When this happens, all that is left is to see if the image needs to be cropped.

The last step to touching up an image is to see if there is any cropping that needs to be done. The image that is above is good, but can look better. To crop an image, look on your toolbar for the icon shown below, that resembles two intersecting right angles.
Once you click on this, the screen should change over to what is shown below.
Photoshop will help you with cropping by darkening the area that it will be erasing, so that you know exactly what will be left once the image has been cropped. As you can see above, the original image was a little too close to the center and to close to creating a bullseye image, which is when the object of focus is centered in the middle of the picture. Cropping also removed the majority of the car, which was drawing away from the shell with the bokeh building in the background. (Bokeh is when the background of an image is blurred out instead of in focus.) Once you confirm the crop, the image is done and all that is left is to save the image. When you save the image a window will pop up, similar to the one below
More often than not, you will want to save the image at the highest quality, which is 12. Once you hit OK, you are done and have successfully touched up a photograph.

Now that you can do basic touch ups, it is time to begin the manipulations. The next lesson will be on how to add people to images, mainly those people who are not around when the group photo is taken.

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