How I Use Photoshop | Key Tricks and Tips I Follow | cavaphotography

Hi everyone and welcome back to the blog! I asked you guys over on Instagram what you wanted me to discuss in today's blog post and you asked for Photoshop how to's. I thought it was about time to do a post directly tailored to photographers - the other option from my Instagram pole was behind the scene of my underwater shoot and how I edited those images, which will be coming in a few weeks so stay tuned for that one. In this post I am going to go through a few steps that I follow to achieve my edits, I won't go into too much detail as it could becoming confusing - if you use Photoshop you will know it can be pretty confusing at times!


So when I edit my images I have a checklist in my mind that I follow so it fits my editing style and is, in my eyes, 'finished'. Sometimes it takes me a while if the lighting in the raw image is hard to work with but usually my images follow my mental checklist. I wasn't taught photography before I went to university so my Photoshop skills are self taught from when I was around 15 years old, the benefit of teaching yourself and learning as you go is that you find a few tips and tricks - the are many ways to achieve the same outcome in Photoshop so you have to find the one that works for you.


1. The first thing I do when editing an image after a shoot is open it up in Camera Raw (the window that pops up when a raw image is opened in Photoshop), this only happens when the image has been photographed as a raw file. This window allows for some more in-depth editing but I just play around with the exposure, highlights and shadows etc before I continue. I would recommend always shooting in raw because your images will be better quality.

2. The next thing isn't really a tip but it is something I always do and it is SO important. It's pretty simple - make a duplicate of your background layer. This ensures that if you make a mistake it is still there but another reason I really like the extra layer is so that I can keep checking back to see what the original looked like and get an idea of a before/after.

3. After I have done some initial clean ups on the image (cropping, tilting, using the spot healing brush to remove any marks or hairs etc that I don't want) I use the curve tool to colour grade it. Obviously I use the RGB graph to make some initial improvements but one little trick that I always do to my photographs is select the blue graph and make a shape like this (pictured). I find that it adds a more 'fantasy' feel to my images. This is how I obtain the more mystical feel, it is a subtle arch but play around with it as every photograph is different.

4. My next tip is an easy way to get a vignette effect on your portrait. I do this to most of my fine art images to get an eerie atmosphere. I find the easiest way is to make a black to transparent radial gradient and reverse it and play around with the opacity until it is subtle (pictured below).

5. My last trick is going back to my first; Camera Raw. When I first discovered shooting in raw I didn't realise that you could reopen the Camera Raw window after you had initially closed it. So when my photograph edit is near enough finished I open Camera Raw (filter>camera raw filter) and play around with the different windows. I mainly like to use the luminescence dial in the detail tab which is a quick way to edit the skin and I also use the split toning tab to complete the image.


If you guys want a part two to this blog where I go into more depth or discuss a specific editing technique then let me know over on my Instagram @cavaphotography and drop me a message.

I will be back next Sunday at 11 am BST with a brand new post! Have a good week guys!

Lots of love, Chlo x

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