How to Tutorial: Photoshop your way to artistic photography

A great way to save money, concerning your wedding photography, is to work with Photoshop by Adobe.  If you have a knack for photography, Photoshop by Adobe will be your best friend.  If you don't have it, ask around to family and friends to see if they can lend you their Photoshop disc to download, buying it brand new will cost you some money.  You can also go to www.photoshop.com to download the free trial, no monetary commitment required, when the trial is done, it is done, and you will be offered to then purchase if you desire.  But, the tutorial is great to try and play with to see if you would want the program long term!  You can also see what Amazon has available, saving you money.

One way I saved money on my ePics (engagement photos) was to have my father take pics of us in a fun area of Tempe, Arizona.  I had this idea to have us juxtaposed against the old buildings around Mill Avenue Bridge-old for AZ standards, mind you, circa late 1800's.  My father has an eye for photography, and was happy to do this "shoot".  When I got home, I immediately ran to the computer, and started tweaking the pics. I used the contrast tool, the black and white tools, played with lighting and color saturation, etc.  Of course my favorite media of photography is black and white, especially when it comes to old historic buildings.  The results didn't look like an amateur, nobody knew except us, a great secret that doesn't need to be shared!

Having had my father take a bunch of pics, I was left with no money spent for the ePic photo shoot, plus my dad was proud to have produced our favorite ePic, which we included in our wedding invitations.

Your wedding photographer might offer to include ePics for free, and certainly the option is yours.  You might, however, have your ePics done by a family member or a friend, tweak the imagery yourself, and see if your photographer will offer a "Trash the Dress" photo session in lieu of ePics.  Options like that exist for you, just ask the questions.  To learn more about "Trash the Dress", here is a post on that subject: To Trash the Dress, or Not?

If you are new to Photoshop and/or tweaking photo imagery, here is an easy to follow step by step on basic methods of altering your photographs.  Learning this now will affect your photography for the rest of your life, so why not start with your wedding!

For this example I have chosen a simple pic of a rosebud:


When you are in Photoshop, pull up the pic you wish to alter.  Go to "File" in the toolbar, and select "Open".  

**Special note: Please make a duplicate copies of your photography, if you alter a pic, and save it but forget to save as a copy, you no longer will have your original, it is now your altered pic!

So, let's start by playing with the color saturation, which is the intensity of the color.  At the top of your screen is your photoshop tool bar, place your cursor over "Image", scroll down to "Adjustments", then scroll over to the new column and pic "Hue/Saturation", as depicted below:


Now that you have selected "Hue/Saturation", you can start playing with the intensity of the color to your desires.  Slide the scale to the right to make color brighter/deeper, slide to the left to lessen the color.  I chose below to make the color pop more.


I didn't select hue, because that will adjust the whole picture to reflect a colored hue, which for me is undesirable for this picture.  As well I did not adjust with the lightness aspect, for me the lightness was perfect, so I just worked on saturation the colors.


So you see here, the colors are bright, not over saturated to where it looks like a cartoon.  The image is rich and not dull.    

Next, black and white photography.  I love black and white photography, and the tools to work with in photoshop make it easy.

Again, pic a color photo you wish to alter to black and white.  At the top of your Photoshop toolbar, select "Image", then "Adjustments", then select "Black and White" in the second column, as seen below:


Now that you have your black and white pic, let's play with the "Brightness/Contrast", to make the image stand out.  Go to the toolbar, select "Image", "Adjustments", at the top of the next column is "Brightness/Contrast", select this.  


Just as with the "Hue/Saturation", you will see how to play with the Brightness and the Contrast elements.  


You see in my example, I have kept the brightness where it is, otherwise it will wash out the image with too much light, but have made the contrast all the way.  What you have is a clear black and white photo, with perfect contrast to the brightness.  This technique sharpens the image, makes it clearer, and enables you to make your work to your liking.

I mentioned earlier I didn't want to work with the "hue" of the image, because it will alter the all over color of the pic, but when it comes to black and white photography, adding a hue actually takes the look to a whole new level.  

Even though you have a black and white photo, go to the toolbar, select "Image", "Adjustments", and then "Hue/Saturation".  You will see what I created here:


This type of look is a really unique way to tweak photos, not necessarily making your pic be blue, but it almost appears as a specific time of day, the way a sunset affects the color mood, etc.  

Let's play with one more function to not only alter the color and contrast of the image, but the look.  We're going to play with the "Filter" aspect that Photoshop offers.

Start with whatever image you wish, go to the toolbar, and select "Filter".  When you are here you have many elements at your disposal to work with.  For this example, I will select "Artistic", and in the 2nd column, I will chose "Dry Brush", which will make the photo appear as if it was painted with the dry brush technique.  


The next screen that pops up can be overwhelming, especially if you have never done this before.  Here's an example of what to expect:


You have the opportunity to really work with detailing the picture in this new filter.  Select the brush size, brush detail, and textures, play with these.  I have chosen to tweak the brush detail, to make it finer, and left the brush size at 0 and texture at 0.



Once you are in this aspect of the filter, you can easily play around by changing the filters with the "filter box" in the center of the screen.  Just start clicking away, see what your pic looks like with the "grain" filter, "fresco" filter, etc.  


**Special note: become acquainted with the edit button.  Familiarize yourself with "undo", "redo", "step backward", etc.  

This is a fun project, and you will be amazed how fast time flies after you've played with your photos to make them fun and unique.  If you chose to have the rights to your photos from the wedding photographer, this is an excellent tool to adding flair where you want them, to carry your photos further. 

Aren't you the savvy artist behind your photography!  

Stay tuned for adding color to your black and white photography!