But, just because I'm not a pro doesn't mean I won't show off my baby boy. I snap at least a picture a day of Noah and yes, half of them are crap, but, for the ones that aren't, I fix with my beloved Photoshop. Preferably, Photoshop Elements. It's easy to use, easy to navigate and with basic, amateur knowledge, I can go from this:
No, it's still not perfect and the changes are hopefully subtle but I think it definitely improves the picture. I wish I could source all the places online where I learned these tricks but the best I can do is give you a step by step as to how I reached the end result.
-First, and I do this with every picture, I reduce the noise (speckles that lower the image quality) in the original picture by selecting FILTER, NOISE, and REDUCE NOISE.
I generally leave the settings to default but if you want to preserve more detail, just slide the slider and check out the preview to your liking.
- Next, I generally try to fix any color issues I have with the photo, in this case, there's a bluish tint to my picture. I had my settings off on my camera but by changing the color cast, this is an easy fix. Select ENHANCE, ADJUST COLOR, then REMOVE COLOR CAST.
A dialogue box will pop up instructing you to click on any part of the picture that should be white, grey or black. In this case, the blanket he's laying on is white so I selected the brightest corner of the photo.
You can see how it changed the hue of the blanket to a bright white. An improvement already!
-From this point, I brighten my picture. Especially since it's a portrait, I have a tendency to like them super duper bright. To achieve this, select ENHANCE, and ADJUST LIGHTING. From here, you can alter the shadows/hightlights as well as the brightness/contrast to change the amount of light you want in the photo.
(Note: you can also brighten the photo by right clicking the BACKGROUND in your layers (on the right hand side), selecting DUPLICATE LAYER, and then selecting SCREEN (or to darken select MULTIPLY). You can then adjust the opacity slider to your liking.)
You can certainly stop at this point but if you want to add any other effects to your picture, you can certainly do so. For instance, if Noah was on a dark background, I would use the soft light effect to enhance the image.
On the right hand side of your screen, right click over your background layer and select DUPLICATE LAYER.
Then, select SOFT LIGHT from the drop down menu above your duplicated layer. Once you've done that, you can adjust the effect by sliding the opacity to your desired level.
And there you have it. A few simple steps to liven up your portraits!