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Photoshop tips?

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gore42

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For those of you who use Photoshop on your orchid photos, I'm curious about what you do, typically, before posting a photo.

I'm not exactly a photoshop newbie, but I don't actually use it much. Generally, I'll adjust brightness and contrast, remove dust specks, and crop/resize.

Seems like a waste of such a powerful program. Do the rest of you typically use other features... unsharp mask, color balance, play with the curves, mess with the color saturaion, stuff like that?

Any tips will help! Thanks :)

As Ever,
Matthew
 

ScottMcC

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if you have CS2, one of the best features to use is highlights/shadows. I use it on almost every picture I take.

Almost every picture gets the levels adjusted too. I do it manually if it's a good picture, auto-levels if it's just a snapshot.

for the most part though I try to leave the pictures the way they are. every now and then I'll clone something out of the background, but only if it's really distracting.
 

SlipperFan

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gore42 said:
Do the rest of you typically use other features... unsharp mask, color balance, play with the curves, mess with the color saturaion, stuff like that?
It is a fantastic program. I can't imagine being without it now.

Sure, I use all of that, depending on the image and what needs to be done. There are also the selection tools, layers, layer masks, channels, levels, hue/saturation, smart sharpen, etc. etc. etc...

For photos of orchids, I just try to make them look as close to the real thing as I can. But for other images, I do a lot of compositing...
 
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gore42

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Me too... for other projects I do all kinds of stuff, but I don't usually do much for orchid photos. That's really what I'm curious about, of course... if there is a typical procedure that you follow for orchid photos.

- Matt
 

SlipperFan

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gore42 said:
Me too... for other projects I do all kinds of stuff, but I don't usually do much for orchid photos. That's really what I'm curious about, of course... if there is a typical procedure that you follow for orchid photos.

- Matt
Hmmm -- well, some of this is done in the RAW dialog box:
Adjust levels as needed
Color correction, if needed
Change from 48 bit color to 24 bit
Change image size to appropriate for monitor viewing
Sharpen (usually needed after image size change)
Move image to ImageReady
Optimize for web viewing
Save optimized as .jpg
 

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I always process images through photoshop. Generally it is best to set camera settings to normal sharpness and normal contrast levels and then adjust with photoshop. These normal levels are never perfect and almost all images can be improved with photoshop.

Before you try to adjust images you should be sure your monitor is calibrated correctly so what you see is what others will see.

Here are my basic steps in PS to wind up with a smaller image for online use:

Assuming you have a .jpg format image. Size image down to 1000pix on the wide side (just to make it eaiser to work on).

I like to adjust the subject separately from the background.

Adjust Background (if needed):
Normally I like the background soft (blurry) so I use the wand tool to select the background. Make sure you accurately separate the background from the subject. If needed you can fine tune the selection with the Lasso Tool by switching back and forth the Inverse Selection feature. Then use the clone tool to remove any distracting areas or spots. Adjust brightness of background if needed with the brightness option. Darkening the background can turn an almost black background to black. You can blur the background but I rarely do so, I just don't want it any sharper than the camera DOF made it. Do not deselect the image yet.

Adjust Subject:
Use Select-Inverse to change the background selection to focus on the subject. Next step is to apply the Un Sharp Mask filter to give the subject overall sharpness. Be careful not to over sharpen, I usually use about 50%. Then I use the Sharpen Tool set at about 50% pressure and the 100 size brush to selectively sharpen little areas that need extra sharpness. Use this tool like a spray brush to bring out fine detail in certain areas. Doing this will allow for extreme sharpness in some areas while not over sharpening the whole image.
Next I use the Dust and Scratches filter to remove unwanted small highlights.
Next use the contrast/brightness adjustment to bring up the contrast from the original low contrast image if needed.
Then use the Hue/Saturation or Color Balance to make any corrections to the color balance if the image is not correct.
You can use the Burn Tool to darken small areas that are to bright. Or the Dodge Tool to lighten areas that are to dark. Use these tools like a spray paint.

That is about it. Then I downsize to whatever size image I want for the internet, usually about 600pix on the longest side. It seems like a lot of steps but it really does not take much time.

If anything I said is confusing just ask and I'll try to elaborate.
 

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