With these three basic tools available in Adobe’s Photoshop, you can exponentially improve your travel photos with only a few simple clicks of the mouse.
WARNING: Overusing any of these tools may result in hurting the photograph more than it may help. The overuse of the burn, dodge and sponge tools destroy pixel data and this can NOT be reversed once permanently saved.
The Burn tool is used to darken where directed. Burn looks best when it’s lightly used to darken objects that take the viewer’s eye away from where you wish their focus to be. The first thing that draws the viewer’s eye is usually the brightest part of a photograph and with the Burn tool, you can control what the viewer focuses upon first. Darkening the edges of a photograph with a vignette can add power and pull the viewer’s focus into the image.
TIP: If you have a photo with a blown out white or grey sky, you can improve the image by changing Burn’s setting Range to Highlights. Then swipe across the sky until you are satisfied with the effect. Then, take the paint brush tool and change the Mode setting to Color and swipe along the newly burned edge with a realistic blue color.
In a way, the Dodge tool does the exact opposite of Burn. Dodge lightens the parts of the photograph that you wish were either more noticeable to the viewer’s eye or can be used to counteract any objects that have been darkened by overshadowing or underexposure.
TIP: If you are having trouble lightening a very dark object and have yet to achieve data loss, you can change the Mode setting to Shadows. Now, Dodge will have a much more dramatic effect on the darker areas of that area.
WARNING: Overuse of the dodge tool can cause discolorations and data loss, resulting in unwanted noise.
It’s true that all photographs need some sharpening and coloring adjustments. With the Sponge tool, you have the ability to saturate and desaturate certain objects within your photograph. The Sponge tool can help you catch the viewer’s attention and mold the mood of a scene.
For example, if you have a scene with nice green grass in front of a dreary office building, you can further the effect by using the Saturate setting under Mode to bring out the green colors, as well as Desaturate to lessen the colors of the building.
TIP: Choose one or two color aspects of a scene to saturate. Don’t overuse, it’s very easy for the Sponge tool to make a scene look over edited and/or fake.
WARNING: If you go too far with the Saturate or Desaturate modes, you will begin to lose data and the loss is irreversible.
(Photos by Brandon Elijah Scott © / Eye & Pen)