Photo above is from this post.
Besides the fun questions asking for makeup tips and tricks, I get a lot of inquiries on what camera I use, and what apps I use to edit my photos. I’ve wanted to tackle this for a very long time now because I know it will help a lot of you who are struggling to get accurate, properly white-balanced photos on your blogs. After all, what good is a swatch if it the lighting is too blue or too yellow? It is really frustrating, isn’t it?
I also realized that Photoshop is a beast, and that some of you don’t even know where to begin. This is a way to get your feet wet with post-processing in Photoshop, but note that there are a lot of ways you can edit your photos. This is just one of them.
This tutorial will mainly focus on product photos, but you can apply the same techniques for portrait shots with white backgrounds. First, let’s get the important information out of the way:
- My camera is a Canon PowerShot G11 (the newer version is a Canon PowerShot G12). It’s a simple, high end point-and-shoot camera. It shoots in RAW mode, which is what you should look for when shopping for a new camera. Shooting in RAW means that your photos are not compressed into JPEG. When images are compressed, you are losing some information on colours and tones, so what you are getting isn’t an accurate representation of your object. So, shoot in RAW.
- I shoot on a white background (just a regular, shiny folder). This is the easiest thing you can do to help you white balance photos, but more on that later.
- I use two photo editing programs: iPhoto and Adobe Photoshop. I’m hoping that when I get my new MacBook Pro very soon, then I would only need Aperture to do what I need to do now.
So, on to the tutorial!
- Open the photo in iPhoto in Edit mode. Switch to the Adjust tab and click on the dropper icon beside the Tint slider. Now, click on any space in your photo that you’d like to be white (e.g., your background). Play around and click on different spots to see which works best to balance your photo. Save the photo on your computer. At this point, I usually move the photo to my desktop.
- Open the photo in Photoshop. Click on Image > Adjustments > Levels... Because almost all my photos are underexposed, there is a long flat segment on the right side of my histogram. Slide the right indicator down to the point where the histogram isn’t flat anymore. This will brighten up the photo enough before the last step. Click OK.
- Click on Image > Adjustments > Curves. You can increase the exposure further by dragging the curve above the diagonal line. A slight S-curve will brighten and increase contrast. I just usually play with this until it looks good to me. No scientific explanations. Click OK.
And you’re done! That was easy.
Edit: I swear we didn’t do this on purpose, but Heather also just posted a fantastic in-depth post on how she takes self-portraits. It’s so good, so make sure to check it out!