Fast Photo Fixes In Photoshop For The Most Common Picture Problems

Using Adobe Photoshop, it's easy to make some fast changes to digital photography.

Adobe Photoshop really IS the best thing since sliced bread. It can be difficult to take the "perfect" photo. Now, with the help of Photoshop, you don't have to take the perfect photo, you can create it! Instead of throwing away pictures with red eye, too much background, or faded colors, you can use digital technology to make them into ideal snapshots for gift giving, scrapbooking or decorating your family's walls.

Red Eye

A common problem with photos is known as "red eye". This occurs when light from a flash is reflected from the subject's pupil. To make your subject look less demonic:

1) Open your photo in Photoshop. Make sure that your foreground is black, and your background is white. If they aren't, enter D to get back to these default colors.

2) Zoom in on the eyes of the subject. You can do this by entering (Ctrl) (+). Select the hand tool (the one that looks like a cartoon character's hand) to move the eyes into the center of your screen.

3) Select the elliptical tool, which is available if you click the arrow next to the rectangular tool, and use it to draw a selection around the pupil of the eye.

4) Click on Select, and then Transform Selection. A box will appear around the area you selected with your elliptical tool. Using the solid squares on that box, drag the box to fit the pupil. When you're satisfied, hit Enter to accept the selection.

5) Click on Select, then Feather. Enter an amount between .5 and .7 where prompted.

6) Pick a brush from the brush presets.

7) Click on Options, then Mode. Select Color.

8) Paint the red pupil the right color.

9) Save your photo.

Too Much Background

Often, photos will include very little subject with a great deal of background. Sometimes this is good, but if it's not what you want, you can trim away the excess background and center your subject.

1) Open your photo.

2) Select the Rectangular tool.

3) Drag the rectangle around the image that you wish to keep. Use the solid square in the rectangle to move or resize the square.

4) When you have the image you want, click anywhere inside the rectangle.

5) Just in case you change your mind, when you save this image, use Save As and give it a separate name. This will keep the original and the newly cropped image.

Faded Colors

Even the best photographers grapple with the issue of lighting. Some photos appear washed out, have too much of one color, or not enough contrast. In film photos, there's not a whole lot a photographer to do to manage this issue. In Photoshop, digital photos can be enhanced.

1) First, save a copy of the photo you want to work with. Enhancing colors is a trial and error type of process and you don't want to take a chance on inadvertently ruining your original.

2) Open the copy.

3) The easiest fix it to let Adobe Photoshop do the work. Select Image, Adjustments, Auto Levels and Photoshop will alter the photo to fit's its definition of a good photo.

4) You can also try to see if it's a contract issue but clicking on Image, Adjustments, Auto Contrast.

5) Next, click on Image, Adjustments, Auto Color. You can use any or all of the Auto features in any combination. If these don't work for you, go to Edit, then Undo to get back to your original.

6) If you would like to adjust the colors manually, click on Image, Adjustments, Brightness and Contrast. Slide the arrows around to adjust the photo. Make sure the Preview box is selected so that you can see the effect the adjustments have on your photo. Click OK when acceptable.

7) If you feel that your image has too much of one color, yellow for instance, you can change this by clicking on Image, Adjustments, Color Balance. There are 3 sliding rulers. Each color has a spectrum range. The first is Cyan to Red. The second is Magenta to Green. The third is Yellow to Blue. To decrease yellow tones, slide the third ruler away from yellow, towards blue until the color correction is acceptable.

Eliminating Elements of the Photo

Reality isn't really an issue when you have the ability to change it with Photoshop. Let's say you want to take a picture of your new house to mail to friends in your old neighborhood. The only problem is that you have really ugly power lines leading from the road to your house. Using Photoshop, this is not a problem- just change reality.

1) Open your photo and save a copy.

2) Using the Clone tool, which looks like a rubber stamp, choose an area in the sky near the power line, and enter (Alt) (Click). This selects the area you want to clone, based on your brush side.

3) Click along the power line, and it will be covered up with the blue from the sky. Any image can be adjusted in this fashion.

Working in Photoshop can be addictive. The more you use it, and the more you explore its capabilities, the better you become at manipulating your photos. Make sure you work with copies in case your creative genius runs amok so that you give yourself a second chance!

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