Do you feel that the images you’ve taken don’t live up to your standards? Have you found some promising stock photos that could be exceptional with a few tweaks?
Look for different ways to darken and lighten your images
Most photo editing applications have features to lighten and darken images. While these features can be very effective, they are often too heavy-handed.
You should test them out on any images where you want to change the lightness factor. However, if they don’t work, you may want to use alternative features instead.
You may want to use the clone tool to change the lighting. Try using it at 15% opacity. You can also tweak the brightness contrast of your images instead. You may find the right balance much more easily this way.
The 80/20 rule is very important. In many pictures, 20% of the image makes 80% of the impression. You can make your image a lot bolder by cropping distracting and unwanted sections of your image.
The biggest mistake many new photographers make his only cropping obviously unsightly portions. If you want to focus on a specific feature, it is best to crop out everything except the most valuable focal point of your image.
Use Curve Adjustments to Dodge and Burn
There are plenty of ways to shift the light of (dodge and burn) images. One overlooked option is to use the curve adjustment feature.
Here are some tips to shape the light of your images with curve adjustments:
- Try to bend the light in an S-shape. You will need to use at least three (usually four) points to form the curve properly.
- Play around with the white, gray and black filters until you see a presentation that you like.
This feature requires some experimenting, because there are so many different combinations. You can’t know exactly how a particular light bending effect will change an image, since the colors in every image have different light spectrums.
Drag Color Out of Monochromatic Images
If you have an image that consists of a single color, then you can extract it. You can adjust and replace it with a different color to see if a different color works better.
Here are some simple steps to pull colors from your images:
- Flatten the image. This is very easy to do. You just have to click Layer and then select Flatten Image.
- Duplicate the image. Click Layer again and select Duplicate Layer.
- Select new curves by clicking Image, then Adjustments, then Curves.
- Blend new colors. You will need to click Overlay and tweak the opacity.
Again, you will need to do a lot of trial and error. It may take an hour or so, but you should find a great new color option that resonates with your image.
Be Bold and Try New Things
There are so many different features that you can try when you are editing images. Unfortunately, you probably can’t envision the perfect color scheme beforehand. Experience helps, but every image is different, so it requires different modifications.
You just need to be bold and experiment a lot.