Quick fix to your photos in Photoshop CC


Many times we take photos and when we look at them on the big screen of our computer, we find that they are a tad dark, or “flat” needing a boost. Sometimes, they may be too Green or Blue, and could use some color adjustment. While this won’t work 100% of the time, it is a quick fix for most. If the color is real bad, or papers and such you are working with don’t go with the photo colors, you can change your photo to black and white. I will show you here a quick fix to do one or both.

Start with a photo:

  • I took this photo while I was watching TV. I thought this Labrador Retriever was so cute. I do not have animals, but I wanted to play with the photo.



  • Crop the photo as you wish. I am removing the black edge. (With crop tool selected, use the edge brackets and pull in to crop image as you wish. then save as a .jpg )



  • Result:



  • Add a white stroke and shadow for a quick photo edge.




  • Use your favorite style from the style palette or you can make your own using the settings noted below.


  • Choose the fx at the bottom of your layer palette. That will bring up the effects panel.


  • Choose Stroke: (My settings:  Size = 9; Position =  Inside; Blend Mode =Normal; Opacity = 100;   Fill Type =  Color; Color = White (ffffff)



  • Choose Inner Shadow: (Blend mode = Multiply (Black 000000); Opacity = 25; Angle = 30 Global Light Checked; Distance = 0; Choke = 1; Size = 3; Contour and noise leave as default )



  • Now Drop Shadow: ( Linear Burn = color 432403; Opacity = 75; Angle = 30; Distance = 0, Spread = 2, Size = 6 Leave contour etc. set to default)




  • Now as you can see the photo is dark and not very good… let’s make it usable. One way to do that is to change it to black & white. You can change it to black and white just by adding a Black & White adjustment layer or you can add a hue adjustment layer changing the saturation by sliding to the left. My choice is a Gradient Map layer adjustment.


  • Use the below info for the Gradient Map. (Make sure the little box in the Gradient Map panel is checked so that it will clip to the photo layer.) It is fairly easy. You just want to select the Black and White Gradient. If it makes your photo look like a negative, then on the Gradient Map “fly-out” panel menu, check the reverse box. To Lighten or darken, just move the sliders. Black to the Right, White to the left. If you are satisfied with default B/W gradient, proceed to the next bullet point.




  • Result:


  • This is “ok” but the black and white is not as bright as I would like, so I am going to add a Curves Adjustment layer to it… again, clipping it to the photo and gradient adjustment layers. Click again on the 2 tone circle at the bottom of the layer palette and this time, choose Curves.



  • When the Curves Adjustment panel opens, it will reflect 3 eyedroppers on the left side. The top dropper is for the Black shade, the middle is for Gray, and the bottom is for White. Select the black dropper and click on the blackest part of the photo. (I chose the dog’s fur) then with the gray dropper, I chose the tongue, and the white dropper I chose the lace flower. That fixed the b/w shading for me on the photo. You can choose “Auto” but I like doing the eye dropper on the areas I reflected.
  • Before Curves:


  • After Curves:



The same way with the color photo, utilizing the Curves adjustment.


  • Before Curves adjustment the colors are “flat”.



  • We will use the Curves layer to adjust the Red, Green and Blue channels. The channels coordinate with CMY colors.

Red > Cyan

Green > Magenta

Blue > Yellow

  • With the hand selected, choose the channel you need to correct. With the Hand adjust selected, place your cursor on the photo. If your photo is too Red, choose the red channel and slide down towards cyan. If too Green, choose green channel and slide the cursor down towards magenta. If it is too Blue, chose the blue channel and slide down towards yellow.  Use sliders up or down to get the colors better.




  • If you switch back to the RGB (Red Green Blue) channel it will show how you adjusted by the line graphs. I also switched from the hands to the droppers like we did with the black and white photo to brighten it a bit. As you can see, by just a little bit of manipulation of the sliders you can repair the colors. You can play with adding additional adjustment layers like the Vibrancy etc., but for the most part this should do the trick.



I hope you have found this helpful. See you next time!

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