Enhancing your Images



This page serves as an introduction to the world of post processing for photography.

The techniques discussed in this are generally easy if you already have an understanding of Photoshop.


But even if you do not understand this lesson, I hope that you get a glimpse of the real world behind some glamor magazines: the perfect people are simply not what we see is just the one Completely exaggerated perfected imprint of sobering reality. – No reason to worry about your own appearance. – Somehow a soothing feeling

Orton Glow

One way to enhance your images with a dreamy look is the Orton Glow Effect. It will make it seem like the image is giving a soft, but somewhat bright, glow. A complete tutorial is provided here, but a less concise description of what is achieved with the effect will be presented on this page.

In the past few years, especially with the Popular page of  500px, this effect has been popularized in the realm landscape photography. Common applications of this type of Orton Glow include applying the effect during golden hour.

Big Sur Coast

Unsharp Mask

Despite its name, the Unsharp Mask Filter in Photoshop is [1] After the image has been loaded, we start with the tonal value correction (Filter> Sharpen> Unsharp Mask) of the blue patch. The tonal value correction should always be at the beginning of an image retouch. While you are in the tonal value correction, you can move through the image by pressing the space bar and simultaneously clicking the mouse and dragging the image. You can zoom with the keyboard shortcuts (Str +) and (Str -). Click on the pipette for the midtones and then on the white area of the eye in the image on the left. This should take the picture of his blue puddle, but can sometimes lead to a red sting. The image should get a warm slightly reddish tone. If this is too extreme in your case, you can then use Image> Fade: Levels Correction ….

Screenshot: Medium pipette is selected.
Select the pipette for the midtones …
Screenshot: The middle pipette is clicked into the white area of the eye.
… and click into the white area of an eye
Image: Before the tonal value correction Image: After the tonal value correction
BEFORE the tonal value correction AFTER the tonal value correction
[2] As a second step we remove the eye rings. As always there are countless ways to do that. In this case, I prefer the following: Select a large neutral piece of skin, for example, from the forehead. Select Layer> New> Layer by Copy. This creates a new layer with the contents of the selection. Scale the layer completely free to the image size by editing> Free Transform. Apply the Gaussian Blur (filter> Blur filter> Gaussian Blur …) to the plane with an extremely large radius (at least 35). Now apply filters> noise filter> disturbances … to the level with the low strength of about 1.5. This gives the skin its graininess back.

Image: With eyes
With eyes …
Image: Without eyes
… and without.
[3] Now that you have neutral colored skin lying on a separate layer, you can paint with the same problem: Add a layer mask to the layer and fill it with black by pressing (Ctrl i). Now select the brush tool with a suitable brush tip and, by painting with white and low opacity (approx. 20) in the corresponding areas under the eyes in the plane mask, you can simply paint over the unwanted eye rings. If necessary, reduce the opacity of the upper level.

[4] Now comes the great trick: the removal of the summer shoots and pimples. Here is a manual editing, for example with the stamp not purposeful, so we would like to let the whole thing run a little automated: Reduce the image to the background level and duplicate it. Apply Filters> Disturbances> Dust and Scratches to a level of approximately 10 pixels with a threshold of 6 levels. The image should now appear almost entirely blurred, except for important contours, but the basic grain size of the image is preserved thanks to the threshold value. Add a black layer mask to this layer and paint with it just as you did with the Hautebene. Use an opacity of 100%. Leave the eyes, nostrils and mouth free.

Screenshot: “Filters> Fault Filters> Remove Dust & Scratches”. Radius = 10, threshold = 6

Image: The skin around original. Image: The skin after the removal of the summer shoots
The skin around original … … and after the removal of the summer shoots
[5] The eyes of the model are beautifully hit, but by far not perfect. The eyes of a person are by far the most important means of expression in the portrait photography and therefore always get a “special treatment”: In fashion photography, the eyes of models are often painted new on the screen. Right here you must have either a little skill in handling the mouse, or better still have a graphical tablet.

Zoom into the image. Create a new setting level with a tonal value correction. Click with the pipette for the lights in the white area of an eye. Confirm the tonal value correction and fill the setting level with black. Now you can lighten the white areas of the eyes by painting with white in the plane layer of the setting plane. Decrease the opacity of the setting plane to make the change appear natural.

Image: The eye in the original. Image: The eye after the whitening of the white spots
The eye in the original After the whitening of the white spots
In both eyes are reflections of the photographer and the ground. Remove them by careful darkening with the post-exposure unit. Reinforce the pupil’s black with the same tool.

Image: The eye after the removal of the reflections.
After removal of the reflections, the eye is completely lifeless
Eyes look best when they have a sharp highlight from the left. But since here the light comes from the right, we simply add a sharp highlight. To do this, create a new layer and paint “simple” with white.

The realistic effect is still missing a phenomenon, which is described as “Caustics” in the 3D graphics: the light passing through a transparent body becomes strongly visible on its back. Create a new layer and paint a few weak strokes with the brush from the center of the eye to the edge with a small brush. You may need to smear the strokes with the wipe finger or mitigate the eraser. Set Layer Mode to “Dodge”. If you have Photoshop 6.x, you must also double-click on the layer and slightly lower the opacity (approx. 80) in the “Advanced Blend Mode” pop-up menu. If necessary, also reduce the opacity in the layer palette.

Image: The eye with painted reflections.
The manual painting of the Glanzlichter and Caustics makes the eyes appear much more lively than in the original
A little is missing: choose the post-pressurizer and use a fine brush tip to slightly follow the contour of the iris and possibly also the eyelashes to give the eye more intensity.

Image: The iris edge was darkened.
The darkening of the iris rim gives the eye more intensity
[6] Unfortunately, the eyebrows are not model-like. If you own Photoshop 6, you can join this point, leaving all the others in the dark. Yes, this is synonymous with Photoshop 3.0, but that is another story …

Choose an eyebrow generous with the lasso. Create a new layer by level> New> Layer by copying. Load the layer to liquefy mode (Image> Liquefy). Use the contraction brush to reduce the diameter of the eyebrow. If necessary, pull the eyebrow slightly upwards. Be very careful. Apply the transformation.

Create a new layer mask. Paint with black in the layer mask at the edges of the eyebrows level until it is integrated into the image. If necessary, remove visible parts of the old eyebrow with the stamp tool. Apply the same steps to the other eyebrow.

Image: The Eye in the Original Image: The Eye in the Result
Again the eye in the original and here after all the previous steps. Observe the raised eyebrow and the caustics, which are now better integrated due to smearing and erasing.
[7] Apply a little bit of virtual makeup to the lips with the post-exposure: Choose a small brush tip and gently lather the lips to give them more definition.

Image: The lips in the original.
The lips in the original
Image: The lips were finely traced.
The subtle retraction of the lip margins is hardly noticeable, even on closer inspection, but it is very noticeable on the whole.
[8] The picture is basically finished. Create a tonal value correction level and light up the image if necessary. You can also duplicate the image and reduce it to a single layer. By now squeezing the image horizontally a bit, you can compensate for the rather rounded facial shape.