Photoshop Tricks for Beginners

I happened upon this tutorial over at A Piece of Lisa that covers basic photo editing to enhance color, contrast, and light using Photoshop. First of all, I have to say that I kind of love Lisa and her ability to make manageable what seem to me like impossible feats. Am I being overly dramatic?

Truth be told, at first I thought there was no way that playing with three Photoshop adjustments (contrast levels, screen overlay, and soft light overlay) could do anything of value to a photo. So I tried out Lisa’s suggestions on a few ho-hum pics from our last couple of Europe trips (which we blogged about here and here).

*Note that all of these photos were taken with our travel-friendly pocket-sized point-and-shoot Canon.


As you can see, the brightest thing in this photo of Notre Dame was the bicycle sign on the lower right. It had to go.


Lisa’s tips enhanced the building’s architectural detail and a tiny crop eliminated the sign.

Moving around to the side of the cathedral, it becomes painfully obvious how badly I could use a few lessons in shot composition. This pic is dreary and has a weirdly angled perspective.


I applied Lisa’s tips and cropped it as a vertical so the rose window could be the main focal point (ignore the roof scaffolding, please. thanks.):

And now let’s head from France to Iceland, where the sun provides light all day and all night (rhyming, yo). Applying Lisa’s tips brightened up this photo of Chris (and isn’t he handsome!!):


The true mark of a good travel partner? He carries most of my stuff! Moving on…


And no, this time there is no chance that I am being overly dramatic. We all have a few photos that are pretty much useless because of unfortunate lighting (cough, cough, and lack of photography skilz, cough). But Lisa’s tips can save them!

Exhibit A, our good friends Elif (of Turkey) and Niina (of Finland), taken while at our Icelandic friends’ wedding. Love these sweet faces!

Elif and Niina1

And exhibit B, here I am with Niina at a lunch shack on the bay in Reykjavik:

Teresa and Niina1


And last but not least, after Lisa’s tips, cropping by the “rule of thirds” gives this weary traveler a little something more to be looking toward:


So now do you see why I’m all in love Lisa?? I may now know how to make only three PS adjustments and do a little basic cropping, but already such a difference! Please try it out—your photos will thank you!!!

Happy photos,


This entry was posted in Uncategorized, What's going on with us and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Photoshop Tricks for Beginners

  1. airsquadron says:

    Nice and simple trick ;)

  2. Mom says:

    Amazing! I thought you had to make all the adjustments on the camera to get pictures like these!

  3. Mary says:

    in the “OLDEN DAYS” it was the camera that you had to adjust. Now it is just sitting in my recliner with my lap top and we can make pictures perfect…. Problem, I am always busy trying to get things up loaded and forget to fix them first! lol.

  4. Dave says:

    Hey T, a rule that I ALWAYS follow now is to shoot JPG and RAW format. If your little Canon camera has the ability to shoot in the RAW format, DO IT! You may fill your cards faster cuz RAW takes a lot of space example: a JPG file is 3.5mb the same picture in the RAW format could be as much as 15-20mb. The difference is that when you take a picture your camera processes what it thinks it sees (JPG), whereas RAW keeps ALL the data so that you can process the picture later on the computer. There are free programs to use to process the RAW images, it’s really cool with all the stuff you can do with a RAW picture. You think the couple things you learned from Lisa was impressive, RAW will blow you away! But, if your camera is not capable of shooting in both modes then I just tired out my thumbs. Happy shooting.

  5. Katrina says:

    Thanks for sharing this, I to start learn how to ‘make my pictures pop’ !! :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s