I just want bright & sharp photos with great contrast
A couple of months ago I went to a Photoshop seminar. One of the things I like about these seminars, which usually occur monthly, is that we’re encouraged to come with questions.
Last month the most interesting question was actually a statement: “I just want bright & sharp photos with great contast.” Pretty demanding, I’d say, especially since I have always thought it but never had the courage to say it.
I don’t always get bright & sharp photos with great contrast with my camera, a Canon 550D/Rebel T2i. Obviously I’m not the only one.
I’m more interested in getting the picture rather than missing it while I’m taking meter readings, adjusting the exposure settings, etc. When an animal yawns….
….it’s not going to hold its yawn waiting for me to make all the adjustments to the camera to get the best picture I can get.
Our instructor showed us a real easy way to get bright & sharp photos with great contrast. The steps are easy:
Open the photo
Duplicate the layer — click on Layer, Duplicate Layer — Name the layer or accept the default name. My default name is “Background copy.” Everything you do in the next steps will be done to the Background copy, so make sure that layer is highlighted in your Layers docker.
Click on Filter, Other, High Pass. Set “Radius” to 100. You can set it from .1 to 1000 pixels. Have fun.
In the Layer docker, click on Normal and choose Hard Light.
Merge the two layers. Shortcut keyboard command is Control + Shift + E.
I don’t know the mouse commands.
I was impressed this morning in using this technique on three photos that otherwise I would have taken to Lightroom and played around with the various sliders for exposure, highlights, whites, contrast, and clarity, a process that is hit and miss, and time-consuming, at best.
Here are the three photos that I adjusted using this Photoshop technique — Non-living wildlife at the San Diego Zoo:
The original pictures were so bad that I didn’t even bother saving them — forgot, actually, purposely — and overwrote them with the new pictures.
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