I normally try to think about composition and lighting when I take personal pictures using my own digital camera or smartphone, but since I am not a true photographer, my photos typically don’t prove so impressive. Those “not so large” photographs are often taken as places or events straight to my own photo gallery. However, when I take an illustration for a design project, those images are always changed before they can be used in customer work. At the very least, the changes I usually make include cutting and adjusting the photo’s brightness, contrast and saturation.
Below is an image from my digital camera. The photograph I took during a holiday in Singapore of the beautiful Marina Bay Sands. It’s an all right picture, but definitely not suitable for professional use. It has conflicting focal points and seems unbalanced, even as a straight content picture.
My first step is to crop the picture to concentrate on the aspects. I will emphasize the hotel on the top of the image in this case. Let’s say I want to include it in a news story about Singapore landmarks as a hypothetical scenario for the feature photo. I like the landmark close-up, but I want to find a creative way around its head to conceal the altar. One way I might do this is to use an image box which cuts that part, but which shows the structure coming from the top.
I need two picture layers to create this in Photoshop, one with the isolated structure figure, the other with the background. To order to retain a fully un-edited version, I start repeating my picture a few times, so that I have to go back to stage one. For the top sheet, I knocked the figure out carefully by zooming and using the lasso polygonal tool to pick the perimeter and cut the excess. I used the rounded rectangle tool to build a mask of the area I wanted to show in order to create the background image.
The resulting picture looks pretty good but some changes could still be made. First of all, the dull areas on the image and its towers are bad. But I can not take steps to minimize the contrast in these places. I can not remove this completely. The Dodge and Burn tools are the best for this mission. The Dodge tool is a brush similar tool which lightens the area on which you click, while the Burn tool obscures the area. I can lighten the dark areas and darken the light areas by using these tools together to create a consistent shading and contrast in the picture. Next, the overall luminosity and contrast of both layers must be adjusted. Image > Adjustments > Brightness/ Contrast in menu options
The brightness of a image refers to the total amount of light or in the photo the darkness. The difference between the light and dark areas of the image is the contrast in an image. When you kick the brightness and contrast of the towers and push the brightness and contrast of the background block a little down, it will help to put a little more pop into the composition.
Next is the Hue and Saturation. Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation in menu options. The Hue controls the overall color of the image. You can move the colors in the picture up and down to appear bluer or red or or orange, etc. Hue slider. The overall tone of this picture is good and so I don’t really want to adjust its color too much, but if you want to change the overall color of an image sometimes it is necessary to alter it. The Saturation slider affects the way the colors in the picture look saturated. You’ll be left with a gray picture when you turn off the saturation, but if you switch it up, all the colors are lighter and more dramatic. I want to increase the image saturation and the background image saturation. It further alleviates the contrast and gives the photo the pop.
Now, the image is ready for posting. Note how the picture is and shading stands out from the background way than before. These subtle details make the overall effect of the picture a big difference.