Sunday, June 14, 2015

Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Your Digital Photographs: Photoshop Tips from Geri Murphy, Part 4

This the final episode of Geri Murphy's Photoshop tutorial that she sent to me recently.  It is a summary of what she discussed in the past three parts.

Here is Geri's contact information in case anyone reading these tutorials would like to contact her for information on her trips, private tutorials, etc.

Geri Murphy:

Hi Norb -

Here is the order that I usually tackle the chore of Photoshopping images.  I normally do these steps in order... Then I don't find myself second guessing whether or not I did a step.  Because then you start double sharpening (bad) and doing steps over and over by going back and forth.  If that happens, or you don't like the results, you have TWO options.... UNDO and FADE (whatever the tool). 

I only recently found out that the FADE tool is available for everything you do that is "AUTO"  For example,  Auto color, you can fade it...  Auto sharpening, you can fade it.  Even the HEALING BRUSH can be "FADED"  Amazing control.

Anyway, the steps are:
1)  Convert from RAW to JPG (in BRIDGE)
4)  SHARPEN - start at 2, 2 and 100% then slide the % bar higher
5)  SATURATION - Use the sliders SATURATION or increase HUE as needed.
6)  SAVE, SAVE, SAVE... I usually add the letter "E" to the name creating a new file so I have the Original untouched and I know for sure which one was "Edited".

Of course there are many, many other tools, but if you master just these few you will go a long way.  I do not use Layers.  Takes too much time and for what I do, I just don't need it.  This makes it simple.

TIP:  The center wheel in the middle of your mouse is very useful when using the healing brush.  Pushing the wheel up or down, ENLARGES or DECREASES the size of the photo.  When you are doing something delicate, blow it up so you can see it easily.  It's fast and it is at your fingertip.

AUTO TONE - Sometimes the Auto Tone does not change the photo at all.  But when it does, it is usually dramatic.  If you are shooting at a high ISO (600 and up) it does not work well.  You will get a lot of magenta.  This happens also when the animal is far away.  The closer you are to the animal and the more shallow you are, the better.  But when the animal is far away, Auto Tone usually just darkens the photo a little bit.  So, think Close & Shallow for the best results with Auto Tone. 

Also, sometimes Auto Tone is good topside.  I shot a dolphin leaping out of the water once and did not have a polarizer.  Using the Auto Tone was magic... It looked like I used a polarizer.  Some times it helps with skin tones, but as I said before, decreasing SATURATION will take the red out of skin tones.  Awesome tool - I use it on almost every single photo of H&S of people.

Here are the fives steps I used on your photo.  There was a lot of 'dust' or spots in the photo, but I took my time to make it perfect.  After I made it perfect, I increased the size by more than 200% and found all kinds of spots that I did not see when the photo was at normal size.  While some people can't figure out why the photos I work on are so perfect, it is because I take the extra step of really cleaning up the photo.  The results speak for themselves. 

Here are the photos in sequence.

1)  RAW to JPG (using BRIDGE)

2)  USE AUTO TONE (use fade if too strong)


4)  SHARPENED 120% - & HUE 7%


...After you Sharpen, you need to go back and do some more healing brush work (most times).  What happens is that you also sharpen any dust spots in the photo.  And sometimes they pop up after the sharpening tool.

...Once you have mastered these tools, the others will be simple and they will grow as you try different things.

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