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Quick and Easy Photo Editing for Beginners

Quick and Easy Photo Editing for BeginnersShow All Items
In this instructable, I will show you how to make average photos pop by tweaking a few small things in Photoshop. By changing a few variables in a single window you will be able to take your dreary and grey photos and turn them into photos that really *pop!* You will need: A digital photograph Photo editing software (in this case, Photoshop CS5) A computer (obviously.)

A few quick minutes of your time.

Opening the Photo in PhotoshopShow All Items
This is a relatively easy step-open your photo editing software (again, in this case Photoshop) and click the "File" tab, then click the "Open" option, then direct the popup window to the file that you want to open. Or, just open photoshop and drag the file that you want to edit into the workspace. Tweak the Levels!Show All Items
This is the first thing that was taught to me in photo editing (once we got all that super hard opening-files stuff behind us). Find the "Levels" option in your photoshop workspace.  Approaching this from the menu works easiest, as the icons can trick you up a bit. Find the "Image" button at the top of your workspace, then scroll your mouse down to "Adjustments" and then over to "Levels" You should have a view that looks like this:

This is the histogram of the photo-it graphically shows the distribution of data throughout the photograph.  In layman's terms, it shows the highs and lows of the colors in your photo. 

Lose the Noise!Show All Items
If you click the "Channel" box, you

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can switch it over to the colors "R" "G" and "B"-which is what you want to do.   Switch to the "R" or "Red" channel to work on it.  At the edges of your histogram you will see either spikes in the graph or depressions-these can be caused by any number of reasons, but regardless of the source-we dont need em! click the black and white sliders at the bottom to slide them just past the spike/depression in the histogram.  This cleans up the noise and makes your photo's colors REALLY stand out! Now heres the general rule of thumb: When tweaking the levels, always work toward the middle of the histogram. If there is a depression at the very beginning, move the slider to where the histogram data curve starts. If there is a spike, move to the next lowest point  past the spike. If there is a slow curve, move the slider a little ways up the curve to make the colors pop! Clear the Noise From the Other Channels.Show All Items

In the Channel selector window, repeat the same process for clearing the noise on the other two channels: "G" for Green and "B" for Blue.

Your Finished Work!Show All Items
And there you have it-believe it or not, these simple steps will touch up your photos and really make them sing!  Simple noise reduction -can- be done by selecting the auto levels option-but I find that if you simply do it manually, you produce greater pictures with a finer attention to detail than any photography algorithm in a program can do.  

Check the results!

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