Oaxa Koate

Pretty As A Picture/Part 1

Oaxa Koate’s Avatar Article by Blog Slixa Under Cover

The thoughtful advice and opinions of the author of this article are meant to be informative and entertaining and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Slixa.

Seriously Super Simple.

When spending $150 to have one photo retouched isn't an option, depending on your situation and your desire for what the photo should end up looking like, you might be able to do it yourself with a few clicks in a photo editing program. For today (and for me personally always), I'm using photoshop. If you learn easier through photo guides, I've uploaded and linked some photo examples; Just click the word "guide" when you see it. I've used a stock photo from ~evilcorgi on deviantart for this short tutorial.

If you're not covering any acne, scarring, or discoloration (we'll fix those in part two) and simply want to polish your photo a bit, here's a quick fix.

Open your photo. 

Don't resize it yet. It's a lot easier to get things done in high resolution sizes like the ones that come directly off your camera.

One Q-A-D way to make your photo pop is by adjusting it in automatic increments. As a disclaimer, photoshop doesn't always get the auto-adjustments correct. If the instructions in this tutorial don't work perfectly, don't worry! Keep experimenting with your adjustments. You WILL get where you want to go with your pictures. Remember, this isn't going to be a magazine editorial photo, just a nice, bright, clean, polished photo you'll be happy putting on your blog or social networking site.

Before you get going, hold down the CTRL button and press J. You can look to your right and you'll see photoshop has made a copy of your layer. It's always good to work with the copy in case something goes wrong, then you haven't changed your original file and can start over if you need to do so. On that new layer, right click and choose "Layer Properties." In the dialogue box that pops up, type "Retouched Photo" and press enter or click OK.

Guide 1

Guide 2

While still working on the copy layer (now called Retouched Photo), hold down the SHIFT and CTRL buttons with your left hand, press L with your right. This will automatically adjust your levels in your photo. Level refers to the layers of light and dark that are inside every picture.

Now hold down SHIFT, CTRL, and ALT and press L again. This is going to adjust the contrast in your photo; Contrast is how the light and dark portions work against and with each other inside pictures.

We're almost finished! You can do it! Next, hold down SHIFT and CTRL once more, and press B. Pressing B will adjust the color in your photo. This is especially useful if you've taken your photos in direct sunlight or in a darkened room. You should have something that looks much different from when you started. (Stop here if you're using Pt 2 of the tutorial. We'll come back to the rest of this later.)

Guide 3

Lastly, push CTRL and the letter J on your keyboard again to make another layer of your auto-adjusted photo. Look to the top of photoshop, and you'll see "Filters".  In filters, go to blur, then choose "Gaussian Blur" and set it anywhere between 0.3 and 0.8px. If you blur it any more, you'll look like you put vaseline on your lens. Press OK.

Guide 4

Guide 5

After you've pressed OK, make sure you still have "Retouched Photo Copy" selected, and right click on it. Click "Blending Options."

In the dialogue box that pops up, you'll see the word "Normal". Click on normal, and in the list that pops up, find "Soft Light" and click it. Below it, you'll see your opacity (how easily you can see through something) is set at 100. I usually choose between 30 and 65% opacity when working with Gaussian Blurs, but find out what works best for you. 

Guide 6

When you have this finished and you're back out on your canvas, press the letter T and choose a font that you like at a size you like. Make sure you're typing in a light or vivid color. Type your persona name, and adjust the opacity for it down to between 5 and 10% for a bit of a watermark.

You're done! Enjoy polishing those photos! If you have acne, scarring, slight discolorations or anything else you'd like to change, check out Part Two of Pretty as A Picture.

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