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How to Photoshop your photos

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PHOTOSHOP 101: How to touch up your photography

Straighten skew pics

FOR most photos there should be some kind of visual clue that indicates whether a pic is skewed or not – such as a horizon in the background or something lying horizontally flat in the photo. Use a line guide to find the horizon and rotate the image until it’s straight. Go to “image” then “rotation” and play around until things are straightened out.

Crop your way to the good bits

If your image was rotated it may have left behind ugly looking black triangles in the corners. There is often also a lot of excess background in photographs which can all be cropped off using the most popular Photoshop tool – the Crop tool. Crop closely around your subject(s) using the tool and hit enter to perform a crop. Holding down ctrl+shift while cropping will keep things square.

Touching things up

The Clone Stamp tool is probably one of the most contested Photoshop tools as it can be used to change an image quite drastically. If there are a lot of similar looking objects or shapes that you want more of, simply clone them in. With the Clone tool selected, press alt+click over the object you want to clone. Alternatively, the Clone tool can be used to remove unwanted elements. Cloning the sky over storm clouds is a common example.

Photoshop Before and After pic

Photoshop Before and After

Photoshop tends to judge, so touch-up your human subjects

Heal your handiwork
If your image consists of close-up of a face, put your morals aside and get rid of any spots or blemishes using the spot healing tool. Zoom in close to achieve the best results and simply click on the spotty areas with this Spot Healing Brush selected. You can also use this tool to blend the edges of an altered subject to better fit with the rest of the background. It may appear as if you’re erasing the background, but worry not.

Drawing and blurring details

Using the line or paint tools to fill in details is not recommended as things can get messy pretty quickly. Trying to draw freehand using a mouse rather than your own trusty digits is a whole different story. However, if you do decide to add in a little detail be sure to use the Blur tool afterwards to soften the edges. This will also replicate the look of the original photo.

The quick and easy way

Photoshop takes a lot of practice to master as there are literally hundreds of things you can do to your photos. But if you are a little pressed for time or bewildered by all the tools there is a very quick touch-up method. Open your pic(s), go to “image”, “adjustments” and select “auto levels” (ctrl+shift+L). Viola!

– Article adapted from the December issue of Stuff magazine

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