Friday, March 2, 2007

With The End Result In Mind

Thanks to digital, I have total control over my images—and so do you. If I couldn't see the effect of exposure settings on the LCD and make adjustments on the spot, I'd have a lower percentage of keepers. What's more, I couldn't make enhancements—creative decisions would be left to a photo lab, as it was when I first got into photography. And don't forget the power of a RAW file, from which you can recover up to one stop of an overexposed area! Here, I'll share a few enhancements made using Adobe Photoshop Elements.

By Rick Sammon Published in Quick Fix

5AStep Five (A) & (B)
To sharpen only the marine iguana and the lava, I first duplicated the layer (Control/Command + J). With the top layer active,

I went to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. I used the + key in the Unsharp Mask dialog box to zoom in to the image so that the most important part of the scene, the iguana's face, filled the Preview window.

5B Because my shot was a RAW file, I sharpened it slightly over 100 percent. All RAW files need sharpening; JPEG files are already sharpened when they come out of your camera. When you sharpen, keep both the Radius and Threshold low, and adjust the Amount to your liking.

5CStep Five (C)
Next, I used the Eraser tool to erase those areas in the top layer that I didn't want sharp—the sky, the water and the islands in the background. That revealed the parts of the lower layer in their original state—not sharpened!

This screenshot shows the result of my erasing. You'll see the effect of your erasing by clicking the Eye icon on the Background layer in the Layers palette. It's a good idea to check out your handiwork—to see whether you did a good job. My erasing wasn't perfect, so I started again and did a better job!

If you're a Photoshop CS user, you'd use a Layer Mask for this enhancement. You can't create a Layer Mask in Elements, however, so you need to use this technique.

Step 6Step Six
I often like to add a black border to an image, so it stands out more when it's printed on a white page—in PCPhoto and in my books. Adding a border is especially useful when you have a lot of sky (or snow, sand or other light-colored areas) in a picture. You also might want to do this when you make a print. Go to Select > All, then Edit > Stroke.

Step 7Step Seven

When the Stroke dialog box comes up, select the width of the border by choosing the Width and the color by choosing the Color, with the Location set to Center, the Mode set to Normal and the Opacity set to 100%. Note that the Width depends on the resolution of your file. As the resolution increases, the Width needs to be increased to keep the border the same size.

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