Recently, a lot of people have asked me on how to photoshop images to make them look better. I have only one thing that I need to tell people here. The main part of photography is capturing what is there in front of your eyes effectively and as near to reality as possible. So then why photoshop? Well there may be a million reasons, if you are outdoors maybe that passerby’s arm just got into the frame or if you are home your child or pet just creeped in uninvited. That brings into discussion the question on how much to photoshop your image.
To set things straight, even before your photoshop, there are a couple of things you need to pay attention to.
1. First and foremost, you need to have taken the picture
2. The subject you wish to photograph needs to be in focus
3. It wouldn’t hurt if you have shot your image in RAW format(but im not discussing RAW processing here)
So that leaves it to just the framing part of it. Rule of thirds or not, only if the image has the subject of interest in the right place, it is a good photo. A little bit of colour correction to add/subtract hues or increase/decrease saturation and you have a good photo.
There are some don’t when you shoot photographs
1. Never ever shoot with the pretext that you can photoshop it later. It ruins your ability as a good photographer.
2. Don’t add things which are not there that alter the image totally. It is like adding an alien to your family photograph.
3. Don’t remove obvious things from the frame. An arm of a co-photographer is ok, but removing an entire building from the picture is not allowed. This is a big don’t unless you are a fashion photographer, in which case, removing moles, wrinkles are part of the job.
4. Don’t do selective colouring if you are not good at it or you don’t know how it should be done. A badly done selective colouring ruins the photo totally.
When there are some negatives listed, there should be some positives too. What can you do while taking pictures because photoshop is available.
1. Add some more in your framing. You can always crop it off in photoshop later.
2. You don’t need to take the picture in monochrome again. You don’t have to go in and adjust the settings in your camera. Shoot in one style and let the photoshop covert it to monochrome later.
3. You don’t need the neutral density filter anymore, shoot pictures with exposure set at +1 and -1 each and then you can merge it to give you the best results.
4. Add a border to your pictures. I personally have the habit of taking pictures in light backdrops, or I try to burn the background so it appears white. In such cases, when you add a dark border(black) the subject of your photo is more highlighted. That itself is very nice and pleasing to see.
One more very important use of photoshop is watermarking and copyrighting your image. In these days where people flick photos from flickr (guess they misunderstood the name of the site) watermarking your images is very important. Its not fool proof, but if the guy wants to steal, let him work hard for it. Not watermarking your image is equivalent to leaving your jewels on the streets of Bihar. If you wouldn’t do the latter, then why ignore the former. Infact watermarking your images is very simple, you need to select your watermark, save it as a brush and everytime you process a photo just use that brush and the watermark is there, just takes 4-5 clicks that is all.
Now what do I do most with photoshop, actually I do a lot with photoshop, but when it comes to editing photographs, I stick to adding a border, increase/decrease white balance, some hue and saturation correction, watermarking and some desaturating to monochrome jobs. I believe in altering images for posters and web designing. But for photos that you need to upload to your albums those things don’t work