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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Top Photoshop Techniques

Improve your image-editing skills with these typical adjustments for popular subjects

Top Photoshop Techniques
Photoshop is such a powerful application, with deep menus and a vast array of tools and controls, that even experienced users continually find new ways to use the program for better photography. One of the best ways to improve your skills with Photoshop is to see how other photographers use it for specific results, so we've compiled a few of our favorite techniques for particular subjects.

By Rob Sheppard

Skies are an important part of most scenic photographs, from landscapes to cityscapes. They can be a challenge to photograph, however, since they can be so bright compared to the rest of the photo.

A graduated neutral-density filter lets you darken the sky without affecting other parts of the scene. But even then, that might not be enough, as seen in this photo of Rutland, Vt., at dawn. The sky is still too light because of the contrast of this early-morning light. Yet if the exposure is decreased, important color and detail will start to be lost in the buildings.

Using Photoshop (and Photoshop Elements), you can enhance light skies.

1. Make your basic adjustments to the image to ensure the black and white points have been set properly (use Levels and hold down Alt/Option while you adjust the black and white sliders; a threshold screen appears that shows the blacks or whites in the scene) and that you've corrected midtones (use Curves or a new Levels adjustment with the midtone slider).

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