I have always thought that when you take a photograph some of the colour and vibrance to the photograph is lost. Because of this, i tend to manipulate a photograph in Photoshop on a very basic level in order to bring the colours back to life. For example,

This is a photograph I am proud of, its well framed, is a beautiful day and really blends the foreground with the background. However, the image is dark and lacks the vibrance that I saw on the day.

Once I’ve found an image like this that I like I open Photoshop and double click on the background layer so that its ready for edit and then duplicate the image so that I can take note of my changes as I go along.

Then I would go into Enhance – Adjust Lighting – Shadows and Highlights. This brings up 3 options – Lighten Shadows, Darken Highlights and Midtone Contrast – the only one of these that I would change at this point is the Lighten Shadows. Moving the slide bar up just slightly allows for more light to be manipulated with later and creates a more vibrant colour over all.

Next I would go into Enhance – Adjust Lighting – Brightness/Contrast. This is the main part of the manipulation that I do on a regular basis. Both the slide bars that come up are equally important and the combination of the two is vital to get right.

Usually, I would turn the Brightness down in order to make a better contrast overall. However, this image is very dark and needs to be made brighter. I then move it up until I think that the image is bright enough to allow for the most detail to be seen and not too bright to eliminate shadows and create to much white light.

Then, I move the contrast up but keep it to a realistic level. This very much depends on the taste of the editor.  The colours are now separated into bright and dark which adds more depth to the photo.

That is literally all I do to my images, it brings the life back into them and is really easy to do. Looking at the final image now, it doesn’t look much different because you’ve watched the transformation but look in the post above and flick from image to image. The difference is pretty dramatic.