Sometimes you get a good photo – nice shot, good crop, great subject, visually interesting – but it just doesn’t have that “pop” that would make it a framed print on your wall.  No worries…

Learn to play around with your image editing software and you’ll soon learn how to transform “blah” photos to good, and “good” photos to masterpieces.  Check this one out:


I would love to show you a step by step how I transformed it but all this is really just playing around in my image editor with a really technical process that goes something like this:

Hmmm… I wonder what this would look like? Yep, that’s pretty good. Now, how about a little of this… nope, UNDO. Let’s see, what if I took that and brush it over here and applied this filter? Yeah, now we’re talkin’…”

Sorry to get so technical on you.


Here’s some general things/tools/tricks for portraits:

  • Use the sharpening for areas, especially the eyes, and whatever else has interesting detail like the hair in the foreground on this photo.  Softening (blurring) tools can be used to soften skin tones and backgrounds.
  • Use tools that “warm” the photo: boosting yellow, saturation, lightly enhancing reds (red and yellow are warm; blue and violet are cold).
  • For everyone except YOU, you should select (use masking tools) those teeth that appear to be while, and use the HUE correction tools to desaturate and lighten the “yellow”… yes, the yellow.  Most people have slightly yellowed teeth, it’s just a fact of life (except young children who often have snow white teeth).
  • Select pupils and increase the color and saturation… not too much or it will look fake; but just a little, and POW, the eyes pop out.  No, not like horror movie or hanging pop out… like jump off the photo and looking stunning kind of “pop out”.

And remember the #1 rule… don’t use your camera flash if at all possible. Light from a flash if a good photo’s worse enemy. Use natural, soft light whenever possible.

Here’s another:


Then I applied some softening to the skin, sharpening to the eyes and hair, increased the overall lighting and contrast, used saturation for richer color, and whitened her teeth and shirt even more than usual to give a stark contrast to the darkness of the background and dress.


What are your questions about photo image editing or taking good photos?

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