Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘sharpening’

Tweaking Your Images – Tutorial

This last week I have had a few people telling me that images shouldn’t need any editing at all.  I find this such a hard thing to understand, since, from what I can understand, images have been edited since the first images were made when photography first started.  I was surprised to find that the first HDR image was done in the 1850’s, so over 150 years ago.  Even Ansell Adams edited his images, he manipulated them to suit what he wanted.  Yet now, with the age of digital, for the first time, the camera is now supposed to be able to take the perfect image.

Then you start reading stuff that digital cameras can’t take images the same way as film did.  I understand this.  When I was using film I would use different films for different types of photography.  You can’t do that with digital cameras.  I have been reading Enmanscamera’s Blog – Kamloops post on 10 tips for to make better prints.  There are a couple of points made about what you need to do to digital images and gives good arguments why.  I suggest you read it.

Two things it speaks about, I thought we would look at today.  The image I am going to use it one that I showed a week or so back, one from the BMX that I had done nothing to.

20121125-0124The image looks pretty good, but I suspect it could look better.  For this tutorial I am going to use the trial version of Photoshop Elements 11 that I have.  I am thinking I might buy this for doing Tutorials.

tweak1The image has been opened in PSE11, this is what it looks like, pretty much.

tweak2So following on from the other blogs tips, I have opened an adjustment layer for Brightness/Contrast.  To open this, go to Layer at the top, click on New Adjustment Layer, then click on Brightness/Contrast.  I haven’t changed the contrast too much.  It is one of those things you have to be careful, too much contrast can really ruin your image.  Have a go and see what it does.


Next is the sharpening.  I had a lot of trouble working out where this was.  So to find it go to Enhance, then go down to Adjust Sharpness…

tweak4This comes up, you can move the image around to where you want, I changed it to a face, that is usually what you want to be the sharpest.

tweak5I have changed the sharpness, but again, you need to be careful, it is very easy to go too far.  Though I think you should try it out and see what it looks like when you do go too far.

I have to admit, I can’t always tell when an image is sharpened, though I suspect you would be able to tell more when it is printed.

tweak6Even though these images are okay, I always thought that they were a little light, so I opened another adjustment layer and clicked on Levels.  I have moved the slider so that the image was darkened a little, not much, just a little.  This has helped make the image pop more and the colours start to stick out more.

tweak7The dirt track was very light, and so I used the Quick Selection Tool and selected the dirt track, then opened another Levels, Adjustment Layer and made it a little darker again.

Side by SideHere are the two versions, the original on the left, and the tweaked image on the right.  I have’t done a lot to it, but it has been improved, and, I think, it looks so much better.  If you saw the image on the right without me saying anything, you would think it looked fine and probably wouldn’t have thought anything had been done.

sced20121125-0124Here it is on its own.  I like this version and am very happy with the tweaking.

I still find it strange that doing this is considered cheating.  I have been down to my photo lab where I get all my prints printed and they tweak images as well.  They print them, then go through the images and make adjustments for each one.

Even working in the darkroom, each image had to have the light adjusted, the amount of magenta used for each one could change.  You couldn’t print image after image without making any adjustments.  I have many proof sheets where all the images were given the same amount of time, some were fine, but most weren’t.

So the next time you think that digital editing is cheating, remember that photographers have been cheating in the darkroom for over 150 years in their attempts to get that perfect, wonderful image.  That is, after all what we are all looking for, that one beautiful image that we are so proud of.  Okay, maybe more than one.


It has come to my attention that I have been nominated for some more awards.

Blog of the Year 2012, I have received 3 more nominations for this.

Marsha Lee Streaming Thoughts

Bear Tales

My Travels & Photography

I have also received the Sunshine Award from


Also the Super Sweet Award from

the REmissionary

That is enough for today.  I would like to thank all of the blogs that have nominated me for awards and ask that you all go and visit their blogs as well.

Embossed to Sharpen

On Monday I was in at Photo Color to pick up some prints that were printed for an order.  Rob and I were discussing editing and different things you can do.  He suggested I try using the embossing for sharpening, in much the same way that I had used the High Pass.

I have tried the technique on this image.  The image was processed in Camera Raw, then opened in Photoshop.  A duplicate layer was added then the embossed filter applied.  The blending mode overlay was then applied.  I’m not going to lie, I am not so sure about it.  I find it little too much, though I might need to practice some more.  This image was also processed with Color Efex.

The same has been done to this image, though it was toned down a bit.  I tried to make it not as strong. This image was not processed with Color Efex.

It is an interesting step, I am not really sure about it, but I like to give things a go.  I will try it again at some point.


A parcel arrived yesterday, it was a big box and inside was a Nikon camera.  I have been sent the D5100 to try and see how it works.  I haven’t had a chance to go out and try it yet.  The D5100 is Nikon’s equivalent camera to Canon’s 600D.  I am looking forward to seeing how it performs.  My initial impressions have been quite positive.  I like the weight of it, and I have been able to figure out everything for myself so far, which is always a good sign.

My experience with teaching people how to use a DSLR seems to be that the people who have never used one before have no idea what they are doing and find it all confusing no matter what camera they have.  People who have come from film need some help, but work it out with the manual.  Those that have had DSLR before can pretty much work it all out themselves.

Thanks Nikon, so glad to have received the parcel and I look forward to trying it out.

The Work Continues

I have been getting back into my lino and the purchase of a new tool has helped tremendously.  Nothing like a new thing to help get the motivation up.  I have to say it hasn’t been a great week and I have been questioning myself about all sorts of things, especially my art work.  I have wondered whether I should continue with the lino cuts as everyone seems to think that they are digital prints.  But after getting some help from Wade Wallace from Cycling Tips, he helped spread the word that they are lino cuts and Cafe Racer have suggested that I do something to put up with the prints that helps explain what they are.  I have been thinking along the same lines and will do that.

I’ve been wanting to get the new tool for a while.  It is one of a couple that I wanted to get, however at just over $90 each I really can’t afford to get all the ones I want, so I had to work out which one I wanted the most.

The one I chose was the small U shaped tool.  It is 0.5mm and very tiny.  It is so good.  I can do some really fine detail work, which is so good.  Some of the stuff on these linos are really tricky to get at with the tools I currently have.  I like this one because I can do the little specks and all the little bits that are there. 

I have to be careful with it though.  Michael, I think that is his name, from MES said that they have had trouble with people getting the tool and then breaking them.  He got a small piece of lino and showed me how to use it and how to be careful with it.  I’m so happy with it.  I have to be more careful with it, but overall it was a great buy and has really helped to inspire me to get back into the printmaking.

I’m liking all the tools I have now.  I think the next thing I need to start working on is how to sharpen them.  I have bought a couple of stones to try and sharpen them and I know the theory behind how to do it, but I haven’t tested it yet.  There are lots of books out there on how to do it.  I will have to have a go one day, but not on the $90 tools, perhaps the really cheap ones I have that aren’t very sharp.

So more work has been done on the lino.It is starting to look good and I’m almost half way with it and I think if I just got stuck into it it wouldn’t take me long to do now.  Most of the fiddly stuff is done and I’m actually starting to get excited about it.

On another note I went into APW today and saw the print in the Impressions Exhibition and it looks good.  The whole exhibition looks great.  All the works are framed and the way they have them installed is really good.  I really liked it.  I was told they have sold some of my prints, but couldn’t say how many.  Which it nice, I’m glad that it hasn’t been a waste of time or a waste of money for them.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37,354 other followers