Learning to use Photoshop to edit pictures can be a daunting task. So, to make getting started easier, I have listed a bare bones approach that works for me for images shot as JPEGs.
While these settings are specifically defined for Photoshop CS2, they should work just fine in CS3 and Photoshop Elements as well, although the command names may vary slightly.
One Time Only Photoshop Setup
Set Preferences - Select Edit | Preferences
- Select General - Set Image Interpolation to Bicubic
- Select Display & Cursors
- Set Painting Cursors to Full Size Brush Tip & Show Crosshair in Brush Tip
- Set Other Cursors to Precise
- Select Units & Rulers - Set Units & Rulers to Pixels
Simplify Your Workspace
- Start with Default Workspace - Select Window |Workspace | Default
- Select Windows and uncheck all options except Options and Tools
- Remove all items from the Pallet Well by dragging them from the Pallet Well and then closing them.
- Optional - Add Histogram to the Pallet Well by selecting it from Widow | Histogram and then selecting Dock Pallet on the Histogram pallet. Use of this pallet is not needed for my bare bones approach, but it can help you to see what some of the steps do.
- Optional - Add History to the Pallet Well by selecting it from Widow | History and then selecting Dock Pallet on the History pallet. Use of this pallet is not needed for my bare bones approach, but it can help you to see what some of the steps do.
- Select Window | Work Place | Save Work Place and save with name Basic Photo Editing
- Select File | Open to open the original JPEG or TIFF in Photoshop. Or use Photoshop Bridge or some other photo manager to select the picture you want to work on in Photoshop.
- Optional - Select Measure Tool, draw horizontal or vertical line, then select Image | Rotate Canvas | Arbitrary | OK - For pictures with crooked horizontal or vertical lines e.g. horizontal ocean horizon or vertical reflection in water.
- Optional - Select Crop Tool and crop to one of following sizes
- 4:3 Format
- Horizontal Format - Width 1024 px, Height 768 px
- Vertical Format - Width 768 px, Height 1024 px
- 3:2 Format
- Horizontal Format - Width 1024 px, Height 683 px
- Vertical Format - Width 683 px, Height 1024 px
- Select Zoom Tool and set size of picture to Actual Size i.e. 100%
- Optional - Select Filter |Noise |Reduce Noise - For noisy pictures only. Set Strength, Preserve Details, Reduce Color Noise, and Sharpen Details as follows
- Light Noise - 3,15,25,25
- Medium Noise - 5, 10, 25, 25
- Strong Noise - 10, 10, 25, 25
- Select Image |Adjustments |Levels
- Move Left Slider to the right to darken shadows
- Move Right Slide to the Left to brighten highlights
- Optional - Select Image |Adjustments |Shadow/Highlight
- Set Shadows to 1 to 10%, typically 5%.
- Set Highlights to 1 to 10%, typically 0%
- Select Filter |Sharpen |Unsharp Mask
- For already sharp pictures, set Radius to 0.3 and Threshold to 5. Then use an Amount setting of 100 to 300 ... the less the better.
- For pictures that are not as sharp, use a radius 1.0 and Threshold to 5. Then use an Amount setting of 100 to 300 ... the less the better.
- Save picture
- Select File| Save to save over original or File | Save As to save with a different name and not over write the original.
- Either way, set JPEG Options |Image Options to 10 or 12, I use 10. And set the Format Option to Baseline ("Standard")