Adobe Photoshop For the Family Photographer

For a more comprehensive education and step-by-step guide to mastering Adobe Photoshop, check out our online Photoshop course to get started. For some simple tips, today we’ll talk about how to adjust some common errors we photographers tend to make in routine shoots.

Photo albums are often littered with pictures that are too dark because the photographer didn’t turn on their flash. In this picture, the photographer should have used fill flash to illuminate the bride and groom’s faces. All is not lost however. In fact, it’s a pretty simple fix most of the time. In Adobe Photoshop, choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels. A histogram will open up. Slide the white triangle on the right until it lines up with the first peak on the right side of the histogram. Slide the black triangle on the left until it lines up with the first peak on the left side of the histogram. Then, you can move the middle triangle to the left until you get a pleasing amount of brightness in the photograph. Do not go too far or you’ll start to see artifacts and other damage to the pixels in the picture.

Sometimes, there’s not a problem with the photograph, it just isn’t the picture you want to see. For example, let’s look at this picture of a red and green bathroom. Quite festive, but what if you wanted to see what the room would look like painted in a different set of colors. You could go out and buy a couple of cans of paint and then spend the better part of a day or two repainting the bathroom for optimal family photos. Or, you could adjust the photograph to see if you like the color choice. First, choose Select > Color Range. Then, choose a color range from the pull down menu, or use the “eye dropper” to click on a color. In this example, we choose to adjust the red tones. Then, slide the Fuzziness arrow until the selection seems to cover the area you’d like to change. To complete the change, choose Image > Adjustments > Hue / Saturation and change the Hue to experiment with the look of the room. If you have an image with walls that don’t select easily using the “Color Range” technique, try using the Magnetic Lasso Tool to select them.