Here are a few things that you can do to just about any photo and make it look 10 times better… AND, it’s super quick and so very easy. I will go step by step through these few easy steps using this photo. It doesn’t seem like a bad photo really, but it can be so much better with a few clicks here and there. Let’s get started. Here is the photo straight out of the camera…
1) First, click on your photo layer to activate it. Then right-click anywhere on the blue strip and choose Duplicate Layer from the fly-out menu.
5) Now, choose each layer by clicking on the first layer, and then press and hold your SHIFT key while clicking on the last layer. Then right-click anywhere on the blue and choose Merge Layers from the fly-out menu.
2) Choose your Dodge tool from your tools palette. Choose a circle brush, make it small and set the Hardness to “0“. Your range should be Midtones and set your exposure to between 30% and 50%. Now run your brush over the whites of the eyes.
3) Now make your brush a little smaller and run it over the catchlights in the iris and the pupil.
4) Now make your brush a bit larger (and you may need to reduce the exposure a tad) and then in one soft motion, run your brush around the iris (in between the pupil and the darker edges of the iris.)
5) While you still have your dodge tool activated, go ahead and move down the photo and focus on the teeth. Simply adjust the size of your brush accordingly and subtly brush over each individual tooth. Sublte is the key.
6) Now to define the eyes futher, choose your Burn tool from your tools palette. Choose a circle brush, make it very small, and set the Hardness to “0“. Choose Midtones for your range and lower the exposure to somewhere between 8% and 15%. Then, brush around the outter-most edges of the iris.
7) In a lot of photos (not necessarily this one), but sometimes the eyes tend to get lost a little. A great way to bring definition to the eye is to make the lash line stand out a little more. Your burn tool is perfect for this. Again, keeping your brush circular, small, and soft, with a low exposure, simply brush along the lash line. Once or twice is usually enough to do it. Sort of like putting on eyeliner or mascara when our own eyes don’t seem to stand out enough. But again… be subtle.
8) Now choose your Sharpen tool from your tools palette. Set the strength to between 40% and 60%. Then brush over the pupil and iris only. (Don’t sharpen the whites of the eyes.)
2) Now, since the Spot Healing tool “pulls” from surrounding areas to cover what you’re trying to get rid of, sometimes it gets confused. If there is a spot right next to a shadow or someone’s hair, when you click it will sometimes “pull” an area from the shadow or from the hair. There is a simple solution to this.
3) Choose your Clone Stamp from your tools palette. Again, your brush should be circle in shape, small, and the hardness set to “0“. Now the trick here, i’ve found is to lower the opacity way down, to somewhere between 20% and 30%. This way, it subtly pulls from your desired area a little at a time. This gives you much more control when working with the clone stamp. So now, place your brush over a similar colored area.
5) Now, release your ALT key and move your cursor over the spot you wish to correct and click until the spot starts to disappear. Be sure to click one at a time so you don’t end up clicking too many times and having the spot look fake.
6) The same method works GREAT for shiney areas as well. Great for us when our face is shiney, great for kids with runny noses or messy mouths from eating or drinking before a picture. So simply repeat the steps outlined above and cover up that shine.