Photoshop Tutorial: The Ultimate Guide to Improving Image Quality

A Tutorial for Beginners

Often image quality is never 100% perfect. After all, not everyone has a $1,500 digital camera that takes flawless pictures. In fact, even some of the more expensive cameras can create pictures with poor picture quality. By bad picture quality, it can mean that the photo is too grainy, too dark, too blurry, too sharp, too dull, too contrasted, or not contrasted enough. But instead of deleting a picture that has some problems, you can always use Adobe Photoshop to fix them. Photoshop is a great way to fix pictures on your own and make them perfect for posting on the web, sharing with friends, or printing out and framing. So in this tutorial, you will learn how to improve the image quality of any photo using a variety of techniques.

For the purpose of this tutorial, you can use one of your own images, or you can choose one from a stock photo site. Stock photo sites, such as istockphoto.com or sxc.hu, are great sources to find copyright-free and royalty-free photos to work on and for your own personal use. If you’re going to use your own photo, make sure it is one you want to fix. The photo should be clear, but still not flawless. The same goes for if you’re searching a stock photo site for a picture. Remember that you can use any type of photo that you like. Portraits, landscapes, sports scenes, etc will all work for this tutorial.

As previously stated, there are numerous ways to fix images in Photoshop because there can be numerous things wrong with a picture. Luckily, all of these ways are easy to learn and use when improving the quality of any image.

Because Photoshop is a great digital imaging program, it also means that it’s easy for beginners and people who just don’t have time to learn all of the tons of features the program has to offer. To improve images within seconds, Photoshop has a line of “auto” corrections. These corrections will improve your images fast and within only one click of the mouse. You can choose to run your photo through all of these or just one. Keep in mind that if you don’t like the way that Photoshop automatically fixes your image, you can always undo it by click Crtl+Alt+Z on your keyboard.

Auto Contrast:

To use the auto contrast simply go to Image>Adjustments>Auto Contrast. Like the title says, this quick tool will automatically fix the contrast in your image.

Auto Levels:

Levels are a number of specific colors in your image. To apply the auto levels, go to Image>Adjustments>Auto Levels.

Auto Color:

This one is my personal favorite because it never fails to fully correct all colors in your image. Again, go to Image>Adjustments>Auto Color.

The next line of correctors is the Blur/Sharpen corrections. Sometimes your images can be too blurry or too sharp and a simple tweak will fix the problem.

Gaussian Blur:

When your image is too sharp, all you need to do is blur your image slightly. This will make your picture much more eye-appealing in the end. To apply the Gaussian Blur, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian blur. This tool is a little more complex because you’ll have to use your best judgment. When you click the last part, a menu will pop up with a display menu and a slider. Now you need to choose the radius of pixels you want to blur. Start with 0.5, and work your way up if you need to.

Unsharp Mask:

The Unsharp Mask, despite its name, does the opposite of the Gaussian Blur. This will sharpen images that are too blurry. This is slightly more complex than the Gaussian Blur, but it’s still easy. To apply the Unsharp Mask, go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask. Again a window menu will pop up letting you choose different settings. I suggest started with Amount: 75%, Radius: 0.5, Threshold: 0. Go up if your image needs more sharpening.

And that’s all there is to improve the quality of any of your images!

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