Most of us have dabbled with editing our photos in some way or another. You might have tried ageing your photo to look like it came out of a scrapbook from the 1920’s. Or perhaps you’re a purist and like to keep things natural? Just a hint of colour correction here and a slight crop there.
Whatever style takes your fancy, I think we can all agree that post editing can be a lot of fun (and sometimes a little wild). Today we’re going to look at a few more editing techniques that you might not have tried, to get those creative juices pumping!
Composites and Collages Depending on your skill level, you may have dabbled in creating photo composites before. You’re definitely going to want to use Photoshop for this one.
Your basic toolbox should include a background image with no edits on it (to prevent destructive editing) and as many layers and layer masks as you need for your edits. In fact, the more the merrier. The great thing about adding lots of layers to a project is that you can easily switch them off if you need to.
Just as importantly, you’ll want to take a look at the various cutting tools available on Photoshop – you’ll use these to separate parts of your images and stitch them together. The Lasso and Polygonal Lasso tools are freeform cutting tools that let you cut really rough shapes. The Magnetic Lasso tool will stick to what it assumes are the edges of your subject. Similarly, the Quick Selection Tool will do the same thing, but by painting with a brush, rather than drawing a line.
Above: The Quick Selection Tool in use. See how the brush has automatically selected around her face. You can then add or remove features (like her hair which has been accidentally selected) by using the Alt key.
Multiple Exposures We’ve talked a little bit about multiple exposures on the blog before, so I won’t go into great detail here. You might have tried this effect in-camera, but what about in post-production?
It may require a little forethought or perhaps a good look through your collection of images, before
you find subjects that fit together. Some common subject choices for this edit are human portraits
exposed against natural or urban landscapes. I’m going to take the two images below and see how I
can create a double exposure look.
By playing around with nothing more than the layer modes I can easily find an effect that works for
me. I found that ‘Darker Colour’ works particularly well for these photos, as you can see below. With
a layer mask I cleared away an unnecessary part of the tree image to the left of the photo.
If I switch the layers around with the woman on the top layer and trees on the layer below it, then
select ‘Lighter Colour’, I can get the opposite effect which is quite interesting too. I’ve also played
around with the Opacity of the layers to increase or decrease the overlain look of the exposure.
It may take a bit of fiddling around, but trying out multiple exposures can be a lot of fun and create
really interesting results. As a general rule of thumb for the best multiple exposures, use photos that
aren’t too “busy”. Keep it simple!
The Kaleidoscope Effect There are many different ways to turn your photo into a kaleidoscope, but they all boil down to the
same basic process of flipping and/or rotating the image (or a selection from within the image),
using your layers and sometimes changing the layer mode.
The process is too lengthy to explain here, but one of the best ways to learn and follow along is with
a quick search on Youtube.
Try this with colourful images where you can already see that a bold pattern will emerge. Everyday subjects like butterflies, flowers, marbles, tiles, stained-glass windows or street lights make for some stunning kaleidoscopes. This image of coloured smoke would make a great pattern:
Adding Graphics Graphic design and photography have always gone hand-in-hand. Often photographers will take a keen interest in both. By mixing the two mediums you can make posters, advertisements or interesting mixed-media artworks worthy of adorning a wall space. It doesn’t have to be complex either.
Try adding some type to your work – maybe a famous quote or line of poetry.
Using the same image from the collage earlier, I created a striking artwork with just a few simple
graphics and colours.
The Polygonal Lasso tool came in handy when making my selections here. I simply drew some
triangles on separate layers, filled in the spaces with colour and played around with the opacity. I could imagine this image being used on a CD cover or as poster art, with some bold type wording.
Perhaps you’re particularly skilled at drawing?
Why not combine your talents into a cool graphic
I hope this has given you some new ideas on how to create unique and exciting artwork out of your