Categories: Graphic Designer and Illustrations Articles

5 Easy Photoshop Tips to Make Your Pics Pop

Photoshop is the most powerful image editor available, and the industry standard for professional photographers. But with just a little bit of practice, that power can lead to some big improvements in your own photos as well. These 5 easy photoshop tips will work great in other image editing software, such as GIMP, as well

1. Crop

This should be your first step in polishing up any photo. Good cropping improves photos by cutting out extraneous details, by helping the eye focus where you want it to focus and by correcting the wonky composition errors that you made when you took the shot. As you’re cropping your photo, remember to use the golden ratio to compose your shot
beautifully. In CS6, the crop tool is located near the top of the toolbox along the left hand side of your image. It’s easy to use; just select the tool, then drag the corners of the cropping box to where you’d like them to be.

2. Lighten Up

One of the most common problems amateur shutterbugs see with their photos, especially when using cell phone cameras, is that the shots are too dark. Click on Images > Adjustments > Levels, and use the sliders to tweak the light levels until your image pops.

3. Look Sharp

Once you’ve cropped and adjusted your light levels, another easy fix is to sharpen the edges of your image. Go to Filters > Sharpen > Sharpen and adjust the sharpness until you like what you see. This can really make certain elements of your photos pop nicely. Don’t overdo it, though, or your photo will start to look pixelated.

4. Contrast

Bring out the darker lines and accentuate details within dark and light areas using the contrast tool. Contrast helps prevent an image from looking flat or washed out. It can really “bring an image to life,” because it adds definition and depth to photos that just seem to lack “something,” that you may not be able to identify. Use it sparingly though, as too high contrast photos look overly sharp and unreal.

5. Let the Healing Begin

Use the Spot Healing Brush to correct minor blemishes or imperfections on your photo. Be careful though, if the surrounding area (where the brush samples from) is busy, you can get some strange artifacts. Generally speaking, the surrounding area should be an approximate match in terms of color and texture to the area you’re repairing.

Bonus Tip!


Meme it – If you have an especially adorable cat photo, the most important improvement you can make is to turn it into a lolcat image. Just add a text layer, select the font “Impact” and type in a nonsensical, misspelled, hilarious caption about the existential trials and tribulations of your feline lot in life.



Guest Author:Kandra Churchwell is a graphic and web designer based on Denver, CO. She owns and operates Phases Design Studio, a design firm providing graphic design, branding, logos, brochures, cards and web development services.



Image Sources:

•Images provided by Alex Juel

•lolcat image courtesy of mostlysunny1

Written by Ruan Smit

Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.

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Ruan Smit

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