Let’s be honest, good pictures draw me into a blog. If you can show me a great photo, I’ll keep reading. Since I’ve used it for a while, I’ll share how I easily edit photos with Photoshop. It’s super easy, I promise.
When I first started blogging, let me tell you, my photos were horrendous. A few days ago, I took a peak at one of my older blogs, and I was thoroughly embarrassed that those photos were still online. They were small, different sizes, blurry, dark, ugh! After years of playing around with Adobe Photoshop, I’ve developed a system of editing that works for me, and even though I’m learning new things all the time, I still stick to my routines. Today, I’ll show you my super secret (not really) way to edit photos with Photoshop. It’s fast, easy, and anyone can do it.
Shoot, Load, and Crop your photos.
First, you’ll want to open up Photoshop and bring up the photo you want to edit. Click FILE>OPEN. Now, if you’re experimenting, you’ll want to save the file under a different name so that you don’t ruin your original photo. Click FILE>SAVE AS and rename your file. Press SAVE.
Examine your photo and decide how you want your photo to look. If your photo needs to be cropped, do that now.
How to: Click the CROP TOOL on the left sidebar. Mark your crop area, and press ENTER to crop.
TIP: Place the center of your subject slightly off-center. ensure both right and left sides of the photo have equal amounts of “negative/empty space”.
Brighten and Add Contrast.
Unless you have immaculate lighting (natural daylight is pretty close), you’ll need to brighten your photo and add some contrast. You can use any number from -1 to 100, depending on your needs. If you need to make the photo brighter than the max level of 100, apply level 100, press OK, and do it again until you have reached the desired brightness. You can do this as many times as you need, but pay attention to your photo quality as you edit.
How to: IMAGE>ADJUSTMENTS>BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST
TIP: Stick to one brightness level so your photos look uniform throughout your site.
Filters, cause you fancy, huh.
In the photo progression below, you’ll notice that I placed a light fade filter over the photo. It’s very subtle, which is how I like it, but feel free to mess around with the settings.
How to: IMAGE>LEVELS> then look at my settings in my photo below.
TIP: See notes between edited photos.
For a slight fade, adjust CHANNEL: RGB.
For a cooler/warmer photo, adjust CHANNEL: BLUE.
If you don’t want your site to load too slowly, you’ll want your photos to be the appropriate size – not to big, not too small.
How to: IMAGE>IMAGE SIZE
TIP: Make your photos the same width as your content so that the edges line up. For my blog, I set all of my wide photos to 2000 pixels (width). My theme adjusts the photos to the width of my blog posts. Different programs and media channels have various size requirements, so check their sites to determine what is the optimal size for photos.
Protect Your Work with Watermarks.
As much as you want to believe in the honor system, there are very shitty people (and businesses) out there who will steal your photos and market them as their own. I’ve seen entire blogs copied and put under a different name. It’s ridiculous and thievery, but it happens. PROTECT YOUR WORK.
How to: Click the HORIZONTAL TYPE TOOL (T) in the left sidebar. Click on your photo, and type your name/blog name. Edit your Font and Size in the toolbar above the photo. To move the watermark around, click on the MOVE TOOL, which is the first arrow in the left sidebar.
TIP: For my watermarks, I like to use white colored font, because it’s easier to hide. If you click out of your text and want to go back to edit the text, make sure your text layer is selected, click the TYPE TOOL and click on your text to edit.
If you want to flip your text around, go to EDIT>FREE TRANSFORM. You’ll see a box appear around your text. You can resize, rotate, and move the text. Press ENTER when you’re satisfied with how it looks.
Show or Hide Your Mark.
As always, it’s up to you whether you want to display your mark or if you want to keep it hidden. If you want to show it, you can save your file right now. If you want to hide it, I’ll show you how.
How to: In the right sidebar, you’ll see LAYERS. Make sure your Text Layer is selected. Do you see the tab that says LAYERS? Under that, you’ll see NORMAL, and further right, you’ll see OPACITY. Change the opacity to 5%. If you like how that looks, leave it. Play around with the percentages, and see which one works best for you.
TIP: Place your mark in a spot only you can see. Try not to obstruct the subject, because watermarks can be aesthetically displeasing to the eye.
Save your work.
Ideally, you want to be saving throughout the time you’re working on your project, in the event that technology decides to suck. If not, that’s cool too. Save your work now, as you like.
How to: FILE>SAVE AS…
TIP: Photoshop automatically saves photos with other elements like text as Photoshop files. Make sure you click JPEG as the file type you’re saving as.
When saving as a new JPEG file, this window will pop up. You’ll want to put QUALITY: 12. Press OK. File saved.
Before and After.
- When you want to work on a particular layer, make sure you have that layer selected. Your layers show up on the right side under LAYERS. Click the layer you want to work on. Any edits will show up in the selected layer.
- To UNDO/DELETE something you just did, find the HISTORY tab on the right side. This is where all of your actions show up. Select the action you want to undo/delete and click the trash can on the lower right side of that box.
Since I’ve been using Photoshop for a really long time, I figured I’d start sharing what I know, because it doesn’t come so easily, especially if you’ve never played around with the program before. I hope you’ve found this useful and aren’t too terrified of using Photoshop.
How do you prefer to edit your photos? Any other tips you’d like to share?
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