Taking an image to the next level can be accomplished in many ways, one of which is some additional editing in Photoshop or a similar program, such as Affinity (which works much like PS). The difference with small corrections, none of which change the subject or the intent of the image, can be amazing (but if you believe yourself to be a purist of some type, i.e., leave all the debris and change nothing, then stop here!). If you use the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan that includes Lightroom Classic (LrC) you also have access to Photoshop (PS); however, I’ve heard many photographers say they don’t use PS because it’s too difficult or too confusing. There are a few simple tools you can easily learn that will improve your images without too much difficulty and as you use them you will get better and begin to learn more about PS and how it works. Adobe calls these tools the Retouching Tools and they include the Spot Healing Brush, the Patch tool, and the Clone Stamp tool, plus a few other tools such as the eraser and pattern stamp. I’ll talk about two of these tools here, the Spot Healing Brush and the Patch tool (using the content aware option) and in a subsequent article I’ll talk about the Clone Stamp tool.
PS is a complex and robust software editing program and I’ve only touched the surface of the program but that’s all right with me because I know enough to get various editing jobs completed. I learn more each time I use the program and decide to do something new with an image. While I can do somewhat complex layering techniques with the program I don’t often do that for general clean-up on images. If you’ve never used PS from LrC, all you need to do is click on an image in LrC, then use the Command or Control key along with the “E” key and that will result in you being able to create a duplicate image file that will be used in PS. In LrC Preferences>External Preferences you can choose what format you want this file to be, either PSD or TIFF. Once you are in PS use the menu at the top right to choose the Photography option, which will provide you with the tools you need to edit photographs. If you are using a different program than LrC simply use the open file command in that program.
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Photoshop Menu Bar and the Photography option
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I photograph a lot of wildlife and flowers in the spring. In particular, flowers are just not perfect things, they often have spots and imperfections on them (and insects that I don’t want there!) that detract from the overall beauty of the subject. Showing beauty with a flower is my main artistic intent (I think I keep trying to create my perfect world!). Wildlife, too, can be problematic as the water that a bird is in is often filled with debris. I use LrC to process all my images so I’ll import the images into LrC, choose the images I like, then process those images. If the image needs some clean-up after processing I’ll export it from within LrC to PS, using the shortcut keys listed above. My new PS file is created (because I’ve already specified that in my LrC preferences) and it opens up in PS for me to work on. The image below, the purple and yellow pansy, is both a before and after shot.
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