Coated 20

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Tips on how to make photos pop?

So I am playing around with photoshop and I am looking for some techniques to make me photos really pop. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Here are some examples.

I do know these are great photos to start but I am looking to work on my photoshop skills at the moment.

Those sites are bloody good.

As stated before, get a nice, clean shot to start with - use fixed focal length lenses (primes are sharper than zooms), high quality gear and practice. If you shoot film, go for a high end drum scan, if shooting digital, use RAW and 16 bit, Adobe RGB (1998) color space. (sRGB is a web gamut that is much narrower than Adobe RGB.) Look on the camera for the color space control. Shoot in the largest ppi the camera will do.

As to your photoshop question:

Set your monitor color space in Photoshop:

The monitor should be in Adobe 1998 RGB. You set this up in the color settings (under Edit in CS 3) in photoshop. The ideal set up is:

Choose Custom Settings

Working Spaces:
RGB: Adobe RGB (1998)
CMYK: SWOP (Coated), 20%, GCR, Light (To access click on the info in the drop down line itself, not the arrow, click custom and change to the info specified. In this dialog box also change the total ink limit to 320.)
Gray: Gray Gamma 1.8 (Mac) or 2.2 (PC)
Spot: Dot Gain 20%

Color management policies:

Use Preserve Embedded Profiles for all three, and check all three boxes, to avoid later profile mismatch.

Conversion Options:

Engine: Adobe (ACE)
Intent: Perceptual

Check black point compensation and Use dither.

Advanced controls:

Desaturate Monitor Colors by 20%
Blend RGB Colors Using Gamma 1.8 Macs, 2.2 PCs

Now retouch the picture.

First, clean up the shot - do any cloning, patching on a copy of the background layer. Do this first or you'll see it later.

Okay, now clean up the density - Go To Layers, New Adjustment Layer, Levels, and move the sliders for the shadow and highlight to where the black area in the graph begins, push ok - there will be an immediate un-muddying of the shot.

Select any areas that need lightening, save the selection, then choose new adj. layer, levels, and lighten. Do the same for any areas that need darkening. You can also adjust the midtones this way (middle slider.) This can also be done in curves, but curves shows adjustments much more quickly and extremely than levels. Levels is a better place for a beginner to start.

Once you have the density adjusted, correct the color. First do the global correction: New Adjustment Layer, Selective Color. When the dialogue box comes up, Adjust first the neutrals then the whites. Then if the picture still has a color cast work on the pixels for that individual color. Selective color adjusts only the pixels of the specific color, ie when working with red, PS only adjusts the red pixels. You can make it more yellow, less green whatever. Play a little bit and you'll see how it works.

You can do the specific area selection for color as well. Just select the area you want to adjust, save the selection before you work on it (Selection, Save Selection) and then make an adjustment layer for that area only. Helps if a little light bounced on the bride's dress and made it a little gold for example in one spot. You can clean up boo boos this way.

Finally, make a new global layers for Hue and Saturation (New Adj. Layer, Hue and Saturation.) Pop the Saturation - no more than 10% or it looks fake and leaves all sorts of artifacts. Just give it a little pop.

To compare the original to the finished product turn off the layers. You'll be amazed at the difference.

Save the file under another name. (Always reference the shot # - saves tons of time trying to find it later. And of course, you burn a cd/dvd of the card before you edit.)

There ya go!

Have fun, practice and you'll get it.

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