I don’t pretend to be a Photoshop expert, for that matter I don’t think I am an expert on anything, but I have been around a long time and have picked up a few things along the way. Photoshop is an amazing software. It is also very difficult to master. Like all the current Design softwares there are multiple ways to end up with the same effect or end result. If you are like me and want to know the easiest and most direct method to accomplish an everyday task then you will love this tip. One of the things that I use Photoshop for is the color and contrast correction of photos before placing them in a document before printing. With the advancements in digital photography and digital cameras it has given the Designer another tool that at one time was left almost exclusively with professional photographers. As students in Design we use photography not only to complete projects but to record the finished projects for presentation and portfolio use. Getting the most out of those photos and enhancing them so they print well is a must. All digital images, no matter how good a camera was used, need some tweaking to make them the best they can be. Here is the method I use, it is easy and it works 99% of the time.

Open the file in Photoshop. Go to Image, Adjustments, Levels (Command L on a Mac.) The Levels dialog box should open.

Notice the histogram. There is no information on the highlight side. Click the options button

The Options dialog box will open.

These are the settings I usually like. Find Dark & Light Colors and Snap Neutral Midtones. Sometimes Enhance Per Channel Contrast works a little better, try all Algorithms choices. Snap Neutral Midtones removes any color cast that might be in the image.

Click OK and now the histogram will more evenly divided from shadow to highlight.

This should give you a much better image to print.

I run levels on every digital image I print. I also sharpen each image just a little. Here is what I do to sharpen the image.

Go to Filter, Sharpen, Unsharp Mask…

I set the amount to 75% - 100%, Radius 1 pixel and Threshold to 0 levels. Make sure the preview button is checked. Increase your view to 200% to check the sharpening.

I usually click OK, then enlarge my view to 200% and toggle back and forth with Command Z to see the effect. If necessary I run Unsharp Mask again at 75%. I think it is better to sharpen in small increments. You might also try Smart Sharpen rather than Unsharp Mask. Both methods work well for me. I have noticed that most cameras have a slight red color cast. These simple steps will help make your images better. GOOD LUCK and happy Photoshopping!

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