No matter how perfect that shot you just took is in-camera, chances are, on screen, there are going to be a few tiny things you'll want to do to make it even better. Here are a few of my favorite, go-to PhotoShop fixes that'll make every photo you take picture-perfect, even if you're a PS newbie.
1. Whiten Teeth
Sometimes even the people with the whitest teeth in real-life need a little extra whitening in photos. To make the fix, use the magic wand to select the teeth (all of them), then hit Ctrl+U (Enhance < Adjust Color < Adjust Hue & Saturation). In the little pop-up window, choose "Yellows" instead of "Master" in the drop-down menu at the top, then move the slider for "Saturation" to -50 and the "Lightness" slider to 60. Done!
2. Pop the Eyes
Want to add a little extra pop and sparkle to the eyes? It's time to Dodge. Choose the Dodge tool from the toolbar on the left, then make sure the Range at the top is set to "Highlights" and the Exposure is around 30%. Then zoom into the eye area and brush with that tool... to make the brush bigger or smaller, use the Size bar at the top. It's like magic!
3. Lengthen and Darken Lashes
I use this one a lot with newborns: darken the eyelashes. For this, use the Burn tool (which resides in the same button as the Dodge tool). Set the menu to Highlights and the Exposure to only about 10%, then brush those lashes you want to darken.
4. Hide a Blemish
The picture-day blemish is one of life's certainties, but it's easy to remove them in PhotoShop with the Spot Healing Brush Tool (it looks like a Band-Aid in the toolbar on the left). Tap the button, then choose "Proximity Match" at the top, then tap the blemish... make sure your brush size surrounds the entire blemish, and it'll disappear. Woot!
5. Reduce Wrinkles
You can also reduce wrinkles using that same tool, but I always recommend doing this in a new layer (by hitting Ctrl+J). Make the wrinkles disappear, then, because it would be weird if Gramma had the smooth skin of a teenager, set the layer opacity (in the menu on the right) to 50 or 60 percent.
6. Fix the Fly-aways
That spot healing brush is also fantastic for taming fly-away hairs and crazy curls. If this tool doesn't work the magic you're after, try the Clone Stamp Tool, by selecting the tool, hitting ALT and tapping the area you want to "copy," and then tapping the area you want to "paste" over. Easy peasy!
7. Sharpen It up
If, when you zoom into the eyes at 100%. you can't count eyelashes, the photo is probably a little "soft" (or out of focus). It's okay! At the top menu, choose Enhance, then "Auto Sharpen." Done!
8. Lighten It
Can you save a photo that's under-exposed? Maybe. Create a new layer (Ctrl+J), then in the Layers menu, instead of "Normal," choose "Screen," then fiddle with the opacity til the exposure is better. To darken an over-exposed image, choose "Multiply" instead of screen, then play with the opacity again.
9. Crop It!
If you love the photo, but it's still not "perfect," try cropping it for a slightly different composition. This sounds silly, but sometimes it really works!
I've used every one of these hacks, sometimes all in the same photo, and they really work! Which of these do you like best? Do you have another PhotoShop hack to add?