Your home for everything artistic

Posts tagged ‘photo editing’

Making skin tones pop in your photography work

Whether you are a notice shutterbug or an experienced photographer, you have probably noticed that sometimes it can be a bit difficult to get the skin tone and coloration of a subject just right. This can often be the case with those who have a naturally fair skin tone. So, how do you handle making the skin color “pop” if you will? Well, here are three simple and highly effective tips that can make a major impact on any images you take.


1. Bump up the saturation

Find the saturation tool on your photo editor and slowly move the slider or number higher. Be careful not to go too far because the image can start to look unnatural.

2. Burn the dodge/burn tool

To darken light skin a bit, use the burn option starting out on a fairly low opacity, maybe 25% or so. You can increase the number if needed.

3. Add a warming filter

Adding a warming (probably orange-ish) style filter can add that sort of sun kissed vibe to a subject’s skin.

Bonus idea 

Using your program’s exposure tools, if there is an option to do so, increase the Gamma Correction slightly.

Taking one or more of these steps can really make a big difference in the quality of your photography.

How to create beautiful photos with no distractions

There are any number of things we can do with a good photo editing program.

And while that is always cool, isn’t it generally a good idea to try to do as much as you can to minimize the need for editing? For example, if you can properly adjust your exposure or white balance during the shooting there is no reason you will have to go back and mess around with it on your computer. The same concept applies to the use of depth of field.

If you’re not sure what I mean, think about the images you see of people, animals, plants…that provide a wonderful clear image of the focal point but sort of seem to blur everything else out.

Cameras are built to automatically allow the sensor to take a shot providing the most crisp and sharp clarity as possible to all elements of the image. Sounds good right? Well, not always. When either the background (or in rare occasions the foreground) can actually distract from the main focal point in the image, you may want to blur if you will, the parts of the image that are not the main subject. This is where depth of field comes in.

If you aim for a shallow depth of field, the foreground will be in focus with the background out of focus to some degree, see the second shot below. Conversely, if you use deep depth of field to blur the foreground and showcase the background.


Take a look at the image of the flowers above as opposed to the one below. The top image is one shot with a camera’s standard settings while the one below blurs the background to emphasize focus on the primary subject by making use of a shallow depth of field.



So, what’s the trick? Well, it’s all about your aperture settings. Basically, the lower the F# (or more widely the opening of the lens) the more you will be able to achieve an effect something like the one above with this stunning pink orchid. So naturally, the higher the F# (or more narrow the opening of the lens) the more you will produce the oppose effect.

For more tips, check out my e-books on digital photography on my official author website.


Two way to make great spot color photography

We’ve all seen those photos. You know the ones. They contain essentially an entirely black and white image with the exception of a small amount of color showing through like a beacon of beautiful light. This is called a spot color effect. And while it may seem like something that might be highly complex, that doesn’t have to be the reality in many instances.

Here I will explore two methods to create stunning spot color shots. One for beginners and those with a less demanding color need and the other for more advanced users or ones willing to be a bit adventurous.

Quick saturation adjust

To use this method for spot color, use your editing tool to find the saturation controls. In Photoshop, they are under the IMAGE TAB > ADJUSTMENTS > HUE>SATURATION select the MASTER option and adjust the individual colors to the left on the slider to remove them. This works great for all colors except variations of red being that red is what makes up most of a person’s skin tone and you can’t keep it if you want the body to be in black and white. Other programs should have similar tools.


Layer and erase

So, if you have any variation of red you want to keep in the shot or want to be a little more picky about the specific locations in the shot that you want to keep in full color, you can start by creating a new layer on top of the original. Then, go to the aforementioned HUE/SATURATION tool while on the top layer and drag it all the way left to remove all color. Next, get your eraser tool and simply go along the areas you want to show through in color. This is harder and more time consuming because you have to be more precise. This can be done is pretty much any decent photo editing program as well.



Give it a shot for yourself, I bet you’ll like the results.

Ask us about the site Image Aids to access great video tutorials on topics like this and more.

Surprisingly good, easy photo editing

As any reader of this blog knows, being a photography enthusiast, I tend to think that cell phone photography is generally a poor substitute for the real thing if you will.

Sure, there are some exceptions but usually a good old traditional camera or SLR is light years better than even the latest mobile phone in this area.

But, given that there are some exceptions, it only stands to reason that this would be the case with mobile editing apps as well. Enter Photoshop Express.  Yes, the first name in photography has done it again.

Recently, when I was having a very difficult time editing the coloration of an image, I figured I’d give PS Express a shot. I uploaded the image from my SLR to my camera’s Micro SD card and went to work. The results where fast, easy and incredibly effective.

Check it out, I bet you be glad you did.


A Few Tips For Photographing Food

Within the art of photography, there are many sub-categories.

Most of us can probably come up with some of the more common ones without giving it much thought – portraits, landscapes, wildlife… But one of the ones that has a huge industry onto itself that may not necessarily rank high on your list is food photography.

Think about it, many major restaurants, grocery stores and other similar businesses use images in their advertising. And just like is the case with any other form of photography, a well shot, well edited image is essential.

bad food phgotography

Example of bad food photography:

Notice how the color is bland, the image is washed out and it is actually quite hard to even know what the item may be.

good food photography

Example of bad food photography:

This image blurs out background distractions, features nice and even light and really captures the texture of the meal.

Here are a few tips that might just help anyone interested in delving into this sort of work.

1. Lighting and white balance

– Make sure you have an adequate amount of light for your shot but don’t do overboard. You don’t want to have hot spots in the image that can distract from the main focal point. Nor do you want to see harsh shadows.

2. Color and texture

– Do what you can to make the color as accurate and inciting as possible.  Same goes for texture. A few Photoshop tools that can help here are playing with the satiation and using the dodge and burn tools.

3. Remove distractions

– If there are any items near your image that might take away from the food itself, do what you can to remove them.

Good luck and have fun.

Photo editing sample and process

Editing is crucial

For any photographer who takes his or her craft seriously, editing is just a fact of life. And while it has its creative qualities, a lot of shutterbugs would agree that it’s not exactly their favorite part of the process.

When all is said and done though, the time used doing a thorough editing job is well worth it when you see the final product.

Some causal photographers make the mistake of thinking that some of these “editing” apps, online tools or quick-fix type programs can get the job done almost instantly. While it might not take a long time to edit an image sufficiently, any real quality editing can’t be done with just a click or two of the mouse.

Below is a sample of some photography editing I did after a recent promotional shoot for a young lady starting her own life coaching business. I hope these before and after images along with the basic steps taken to get from the original to the final version will give you an idea of what I mean.

Please note that all edits where made using a combination of Adobe Photoshop and a program called Portrait Professional. However, some of these edits can be made using any number of other programs that offer a wide range of similar features.

headshot editing

General overview of steps taken to edit the above photo:

1. Adjusting exposure

– Started out with “Auto Levels” before increasing the exposure a little more.

2. Tweaking colors

– An increase in overall saturation was used to add color and vibrancy

– Using the “Dodge/Burn” tool also helped.

3. Airbrushing

– Basic tuning with Portrait Professional softened the skin, reduced blemishes, removed pores and took care of assorted imperfections.

4. Small details

– It was necessary to use the” Clone Stamp” tool to match some skin tone areas and clean up shadows and glare cast by the glasses.

– Did some final burning to minimize hot spots and even out the color of her hair.

Reflections on a year gone by

Now that 2013 in nearing its end

(it’s 9:37 pm as I write this), I’d like to take a moment to reflect back on the past 12 months.

Quite honestly, this year has been far from the best for me and my family. There have been a lot of struggles, pain and heartache. And while I am always looking forward to the fresh start a new year brings, that is especially so this year.

Despite the negatives,  there have been some bright spots among the darkness. And many of those came in the form of arts.

So, without further ado, I would like to thank, acknowledge and recognize the following, all of which have had a great, positive impact on the year that was.

The models

To all the amazing models with whom I had the pleasure of working and creating some amazing art, thank you so much and I hope to work with you more in 2014.

Web design and Social Media clients

To all those in need of social media management or content creation and the development or revision of websites, I thank you for allowing me the opportunity as well as the challenge.

Fiverr buyers

To everyone on Fiverr who ordered one or more of my “gigs” allowing me to delve into a variety of artistic projects ranging from photo editing to custom limericks. It’s been great and I look forward to working with you guys even more this year.

The muses

To anyone or anything that inspired me over the course of the year to seek out that perfect photo, write that ideal line of poetry or otherwise create the best pieces of art that I could, you have been so amazing and I am truly grateful.

Tag Cloud


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 723 other followers