OK, so I realise not everyone has Photoshop but if you do, then this is for you. Especially if like me, you simply cba to learn the really advanced tools that Photoshop has to offer, and you just want to edit your blog and IG photos without needing a Masters degree in precision.
Full disclaimer: this advice is 100% amateur and best suited for those like me who just want to make minor edits rather than anything too complex!
These are just simple tips and tricks that I’ve picked up. You may already know them, or if you’re like the 6-months-ago version of me your mind is about to be BLOWN. Especially if at the mo your pics are a bit on the dark and dreary side and you want them to look more profesh.
Oh, and if you don’t have Photoshop, you can pay a monthly fee to get that and the rest of the pretty sweet Creative Cloud Suite here (not affiliate, just useful). Or you can acquire it other ways…but I won’t go into that.
So I originally learnt about the magic that is the Levels tool from Zoe London who did a really handy post on creating a washed out, matte vintage look for your photos. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll probably realise when I started using this way of editing my snaps.
The Levels tool can be found by going to:
Image > Adjustment > Levels.
There you’ll see three arrows pointing upwards underneath a graph that says ‘Input Levels’. I’d create a new adjustment layer to be on the safe side with this, so you can easily edit without effecting the original image if you need to revert a lot of changes.
Play with the arrows by dragging them towards the centre until you’re happy with the result. This can be a lifesaver when your photos come out too shadowy or you need to bring a little more depth to them. It’ll take some playing around with it to get it right, but this is a really easy tool that can make a big difference in creating a more consistent look with your photos.
Dropper tool – White Levels
For a while, I was really struggling to get my flatlay backgrounds whiter. They always came out really grey, even when using soft boxes to add more light. The problem with shooting flatlays is also that unless you have a lot of natural light in the right places, you’ll get lots of shadow. I still have more shadow in my photos than I would like, but this tool has been a big help at making the whites whiter and turned the above image from a grey dreary background to a much brighter one.
So how do you use it? Easy! Go to the right hand panel, then click on the levels graph icon then click on the third dropper down on the left hand side of panel that pops up
Next, click on the part of the image that you want whitened and BLAM! It creates a new layer and the whites of your image are brightened.
This tool is a little more complex and if you have a lot of white in your image, it can end up overexposing it. In this situation, you can try selecting a different area of the image as the white point.
You can also try the Selective Colour tool which is also quite easy to use, and dependent on the image can have better results!
A colleague taught me about this one, and it’s pretty nifty! The clone stamp allows you to select part of an image which has the colour you want, then it clones it as you fill in any blemishes. I have used this to mask scratches on my Macbook (cos lol clumsy) as well as my old phone case which basically just got scratched when you look at it.
To use the clone stamp, right click on the stamp icon and select the Clone Stamp option. Then, press alt on your keyboard and click a part of the image that has the colour you need. Then release the alt key, left click and hold down to ‘paint’ the area you need to fix.
You may need to play with the size of the brush to make sure you have gotten the exact tone and texture you need – and remember the original point you have selected to clone moves along with your brush to make a direct copy of the area… so this is really just for small retouches!
You know what’s a bitch when taking blog photos? Lighting. Indoors, or if it’s too sunny, photos can come out overly warm and almost orangey. Blergh.
I have recently started using the Colour Balance tool to try and adjust the tone of photos that come out too warm or cold. To access this tool, go to:
Image > Adjustments > Colour Balance
I tend to ignore the Magenta – Green bar, and just increase the blue and cyan to cool down an image, or do the opposite to add warmth. Experiment with this, as it will massively differ per image so there’s no “right” level to recommend!
Some bonus tips
So those are the tools I most often use to edit blog and Instagram photos, but just to spoil you, here’s a couple of bonus tips
Save for web and devices
You should try to remember to save your images for web and devices (File > Save for web) as this will compress the image without compromising quality so that when it’s uploaded online, it’s not a large file size that will be a struggle for slower internet speeds to deal with. Plus, you are also saving storage space on your blog.
WordPress darkening/saturating images
I’ve read several ways to prevent WordPress from sucking out some of the colour of images, and none have really worked for me. I tend to add a little more Brightness to my images before upload, so most of the time when WordPress does that annoying thing, it doesn’t effect the image quite so much. If anyone has found a surefire way of fixing it, I’d love to hear it!