Five easy, basic steps to editing on Photoshop

Summary:Adobe Photoshop can appear daunting to first-time users with its plethora of options and uses. But it's quite easy to use with practice, and even by using just a few of its features, you can liven up your photos quickly.

Adobe Photoshop can appear daunting to first-time users with its plethora of options and uses. But it's quite easy to use with practice, and even by using just a few of its features, you can liven up your photos quickly. Here are five tips to get you started.

1. Crop: Quite often we take pictures with far too much excess around the edges. By focusing in on the subject of the image, it can become much more powerful.

Before

After

2. Photo Filter: (Image > Photo Filter...) This is a fun feature to play around with and you can really inject personality and mood into a photo by overlaying it with varying colors and intensity.

3. Adjust Levels: (Image > Levels...) Adjusting the Levels of a photo alters how vivid the black and white colors in the image turn out. You can brighten or darken a photo more subtly this way. By using the select tool, simply draw around the part you want to focus on (or Select All if you want to adjust the entire image), and then play around with moving the levels between black and white until you find something that works. (Note: When selecting a section of the image, its best to input a big pixel number in the Feather box, somewhere between 90-120, if you want a very subtle distinction).

4. Adjust Curves: (Image > Curves...) Like Levels, you can adjust the color saturation of a photo more naturally, using the Select tool again. This works well for landscapes when the color in certain sections (either sky or ground) is too dark, too light or just plain dull.

5. Sharpen Filter: (Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask) Even if you use autofocus, your photos somehow don't always turn out as clear, or sharp, as they should be. Therefore, one way to try to remedy a blurry situation after the fact is using one of the Sharpen filters to clear up a spot. The Unsharp Mask often works best for me when it comes to sharpening up faces and smaller details, as there's a preview box and you can determine how much you want sharpened based on radius and intensity quite easily.

If you have any Photoshop tips and tricks, please share and TalkBack!

Topics: Censorship

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.