Adobe Photoshop/Basic Picture Edits

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Photoshop is used to edit photos.

It contains some very sophisticated tools but also some very commonplace tools.

It can be used to edit images for video and web programs as well as for printed or viewed photographs. It can combine text and vector or hand-drawn objects into its images as well.

The basic editing techniques included below are those that most people will need to do with their photographs from time to time.

WARNING: Using the menu tools and tools on the toolbar to adjust the photo will edit the original layer or original image.
  • If you save the file as-is, it will overwrite the original.
  • Be careful to save changes as a copy if you want to preserve the original image.
  • You can use layers to edit your image. See Adobe Photoshop/Advanced Features for an explanation of layers.

AutoTone, AutoContrast, AutoColor

You can fix problems with color, tone and contrast in several ways.

Before color1 alt.jpg After color alt.jpg

The quickest tool is to be found under the menu Image>Autotone, and Image>AutoContrast, and Image>AutoColor.

Here is a sample photo in which all of these have been applied.

See that there is still a red-eye problem I need to fix.

Removing Red-Eye

Red eye tool.png After red eye alt.jpg

Again there is more than one way to do this, but Photoshop CS4 includes a special tool to be found on the toolbar to fix this.

Drag a rectangle over the eye you wish to fix (or any red spot you want to remove) and the tool will do it for you.


crop_menu.pngTo crop a photo, use the selection rectangle to mark the area you want.

Use the menu item, Image>Crop to cut the photo to that area.

Other Image Adjustments

Photoshop menu image adjustments.png

Under the menu for Image, you can:

  • Duplicate the image to a copy you can work on
  • Rotate the image
    • Flip it horizontally so that its right goes left and left goes right
    • Flip it vertically so it is upside down
    • Rotate by 90 degree increments

Under the menu for Image>Adjustments you can:

  • Desaturate-remove all color
  • Apply Photo Filters--overlay a transparent color for effect
    • warming the image
    • cooling the image
    • enhancing key colors
  • Convert to Black-and-White
  • Adjust Tone by exposure, contrast, brightness
  • Adjust colors by vibrance, saturation and hue

OriginalBlack-and-WhiteShadow/Highlight AdjustmentExposure Adjustment

Other Resources

For specific advice from Adobe on how to retouch photos: Go Here!

For specific advice from Adobe on how to adjust color and tone: Try This!

For ADOBE TV tutorials on Photoshop: Go Here instead...

For an official Adobe Manual on Photoshop: Download This!