The top picture is an old example of how we used to take photos – outside in even light. We now use studio lamps indoors, which gives more even and brighter results (and you don’t have to wait until the rain stops1). The photo below shows the finished article, after tweaking in Photoshop, as it appears in my book, Tales by Torchlight: Shoe Zoo’.
Adam has been using Photoshop for many years, on and off, to crop and alter his photographs but I never really understood how he was using it. To create my eBooks, I needed to get to grips with manipulating digital images and these simple steps in Photoshop have allowed me to create the finished images for my books….
In the last blog, Adam talked about how he took even, reliable photographs of my paintings and I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to start with a good quality image (in focus and well lit etc) and that is also of a decent resolution.
In Photoshop, the first thing I do is to do an initial crop using the perspective crop tool. This allows you to compensate for the painting not having been perfectly aligned in the shot. It also allows you to remove any dark background that may interfere with the next step – changing the levels.
When you select levels (image – adjustment – levels), you get the following box:
The black area of the graph represents the colours in the image. As a quick starter for ten, I drag the marker on the right in towards the black graph – this brings back the whites. I then bring the marker on the left hand side in so that it touches the black graph – this makes the darker areas in the picture even darker.
The black area of the graph should end up filling the window, as above, so your image has the whitest of whites, and the blackest of blacks.
I then go into brightness (image – adjustments – brightness/contrast) and tweak the overall brightness. By this point, I usually have a pretty good image.
To add the finishing touches, I use the dodge and burn tools, the clone tool and the brush. I am no expert on Photoshop but by knowing only a few of the tools, you can make a real difference to the photos of your artwork – good luck!