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Welcome to part two of our look at simple but effective Photoshop tips that will make your images stand out (see part one here). In this article we will look at four different techniques, including replacing an entire block of colour, adding a graduated filter to a sky, removing dust spots quickly and creating a metadata template for stock photography.
How to Replace a Block of Colour in Photoshop
This is a fairly simple but very effective way of manipulating your images. With your image open in Photoshop, go to Image > Adjustments > Replace Color. In the top left of the window that opens click the first of the eye dropper tools and select the colour you wish to replace. The preview window will show how much of the color has been selected. To add to the selection hold the Shift key and continue clicking with the eye dropper until you are happy with your selection. To refine the selection a little, use the Fuzziness slider. At the bottom click on the Result colour block and the Color Palette will open. Select the required replacement colour and click OK.
Adding a Graduated Filter to a Sky
Another quick and simple technique is to simulate a graduated filter on your image. With your image open, select Layer > New Layer. Name this new layer “Grad.” From the Toolbox select the Gradient tool and from the Gradient selection box at the top select the Neutral Density gradient. Starting from the top of the image, click and drag to the bottom or if you prefer just below the horizon point. As you can see, the gradient is far too dark so from the Layers Palette on the right, select the Grad layer and change the blend mode to overlay. You can now adjust the layer’s opacity to get the effect you want.
Quickly Remove the Dust Bunnies
Dust spots are the bane of the digital photographer's life. If you get home to find spots on your images, here is a quick way to identify and eliminate them. With your image open, select Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels. Drag the levels mid tone slider to the right a little, the darkening of the image will reveal where the culprits are. Reselect the original layer from the Layers Palette. From the Toolbox select the Spot Healing Brush Tool and set the brush size from the top, also make sure Content Aware is checked. For single spots, just position the tool over the spot and click. If you have multiple spots in one block of colour, for example a sky, then you can click and drag the Healing tool over several spots, this will quickly clean up a large area. Once finished, delete the adjustment layer from the Layers Palette.
Create a Metadata Template
If you want to quickly add metadata info such as Copyright Info, Author and Contact Details, to multiple images, you can create a metadata template in Photoshop. With an unedited image open, select File > File Info. The window that opens contains all the metadata for that particular image in several tabs. The two tabs that we need are the first two Description and IPTC. In the description tab you can fill in details such as Author, Author Title and assign a copyright status and copyright notice. In the second tab you can enter your contact details, email and website. When finished, click on the Export button at the bottom and give your template a name, for example Stock Template. The next time you open an image, you can import the template to each image you wish to add standard data to. Clicking on OK will apply the metadata.
Photoshop is a highly complexed and multifaceted program but dig deep and you will find there are many techniques that are both simple and effective to add great value to your image.
Jason Row is a British born travel photographer now living in Ukraine. You can follow him on Facebook or visit his site, The Odessa Files. He also maintains a blog chronicling his exploits as an Expat in the former Soviet Union