Monday, July 20, 2009

Here's an Idea of What Photoshop Can Do

I often get asked Photoshop questions - or how I learned to use Photoshop. While I did take a college class or two about it, one class used the Adobe Classroom in a Book for Photoshop as it's cirruculum, and the other was over ten years ago. Really and honestly, 90% of what I know how to do on Photoshop is something I've discovered on my own or that I've learned for free from blogs or online tutorials. It's seems that about once a week I discover something new that Photoshop can do (as I really don't know how to do all that much!). Seriously though, I love this program! So I thought I would give you an idea of what Photoshop can do for your pictures. Now I need to say this though - I use the full version of Photoshop, not Photoshop Elements. I know that there are a lot of things that Elements can do, but it does not have a Camera RAW editor (as far as I know), and the RAW editor is probably the coolest thing that I've discovered in the last little while. When using my SLR, I shoot exclusively in RAW format.

You'll recognize these pictures from the Photowalk, I got to thinking about them and decided that I needed to do something about the sky in a couple of them. It was really blown out and I knew that somehow Photoshop could help me. So I played around a little bit and discovered something new the RAW editor could do. This could also be a lesson about why to read the manual - I probably should have known this. Little side note, I did not use any brushes on these pictures.

Before Photoshop (SOOC=Straight Out Of Camera):
You'll notice the picture is kind of dull - in that the colors and lines aren't as crisp as they could be. And the grass is too dark, but the sky is blown out. If your camera is equipped with it, you could shoot AEB to get an HDR image - which means that you set your camera on a tripod, push a few buttons and your camera takes 3-9 pictures (depending on the settings) all in different exposures. Then you use a program (like Photoshop) to combine the images into one image. That way, your sky shows up and the detail in the shadows shows up also. But then you've got to lug around a tripod with you. I prefer to shoot in RAW format and use my RAW editor.

After Photoshop:
I used the RAW editor to bring up the lowlights and the blacks. This brought out details in the shadowed part and made my colors and lines crisper. Then I changed the exposure on the sky and the wall where the sun was shining, and the rest of the picture to get it more even and detailed. After all that, I opened it in the regular Photoshop and ran an action on it to give it some boost.

Next photo... This is the one that was really feeling unfinished. The sky was really so beautiful when I was shooting this - they clouds looked so cool and I wanted to see if any of that was still there.

Before Photoshop (SOOC):
After Photoshop:
This is the great thing about shooting RAW - I don't know how it does it; I could go look it up, but it doesn't really matter to me - all the information is there. Even though the sky looked like it had been totally overexposed, somehow, the file contained the information. I have no words to describe how wonderful this is.

Great photography blogs:
Pioneer Woman Photography
Momtog Blog
mcp actions

As for tutorials:
Google and YouTube are the only way to go here. Just search for what you want to do and add the words: "free photoshop tutorial" and you'll get tons of hits!

If you've got any other great resources out there for photography or Photoshop, please leave a comment and share!! And if you like the pictures pre-editing better, feel free to share that too.

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine