Upgrade Your Instagram Feed With These Beginner-Friendly Photoshop Tips

April 16th, 2018 at 4:00am
Upgrade Your Instagram Feed With These Beginner-Friendly Photoshop Tips

According to The Muse, 93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social media profiles—which means that it’s probably a good idea for you to make yours look as professional as possible if you’re in full job search mode. You may have already put grid-planning and editing apps to good use, but how do you take it a step further to make your pictures look as professional as possible? Simple: a few quick tricks in Adobe Photoshop. If you’ve never used this application before, you might feel a little intimidated by it, but don’t worry. With the following short (and super easy!) tutorials, you can take your pictures from average to polished in just a few minutes. From removing unwanted spots to saving your images correctly for the web, ahead are six beginner-friendly Photoshop tutorials to help you upgrade your images stat.

Creating Layers

A layer in Photoshop is just one image stacked on top of another. This will allow you to do lots of different things to your layered compositions. So, when you begin editing a photo, you’ll want to head to the layers panel in Photoshop first.

  • To start, go to the “Layers” panel on the bottom right corner of your window.
  • Go up to the top menu and click on “Layer,” and then press “Duplicate Layer.” You can also press “Command” and “J” on your keyboard as a shortcut for this action.
  • After you’ve created a layer, click on “Layer 1,” which is the duplicated layer.
  • Head to “Layer” on the top menu, and scroll down to “Smart Objects.” (A smart object is a special layer that preserves an image’s source content and allows you to build on top of it. So if you don’t like the lighting edits you made, for example, the adjustment layer is easily still editable within the smart object.)
  • Click on “Convert to Smart Object” (once you do this, you’ll be able to see on that layer that there’s a new icon in the lower right corner of the picture).

Fixing Lighting

Once you’ve created your layers, you can move on to adjusting the lighting in your image to make it darker or lighter, depending on your preferences.

  • To start, go the top menu and click “Image.”
  • Then, go to the adjustments panel and start with “Curves” (a tool that allows you to adjust tones to brighten, darken, add contrast, and shift the colors in your image).
  • Once you click on “Curves,” a graph will pop up. To start editing, add a point to the graph and start raising the white line.
  • This will raise the white colors in the image, which will proportionally raise the black colors in the image, too. You can check the preview box next to the graph to see the before and after effects of the adjustments you made.
  • Keep moving the line until you’ve adjusted the lighting to your preference.

Adjusting Color Temperature

If you’ve made the lighting adjustments and you notice that the photo you’re editing has an overly blue or yellow tone, for example, you may want to fix the color temperature. The color temperature is the color characteristic of light, which is usually described as either warm (yellowish) or cool (bluish).

  • To start, go to “Image” in the top menu.
  • Hover over “Adjustments,” and then click on “Color Balance.” (Color balance means the adjustment of the color intensities in an image. It changes the overall mix of colors in an image to correct the composition and create balance.)
  • Once the “Color Balance” panel opens, you will see a few sliders that have two colors on each side.
  • Play with the sliders on each panel to alter the color balance, and click the preview box to see how it has changed the colors in your picture.
  • Keep pulling the sliders until you have reached the desired color balance in your photo.

Making Touch-Ups

Say, for example, there is a leaf on the ground in your image that you’d like to get rid of. To remove a small object on a plain background like this, you will use the patch tool in your toolbar.

  • To start, open the smart object. You can’t edit this on the smart object, so double-click on the picture where it says “Layer 1” in the “Layers” panel, and a new window will pop open in the panel. This will allow you to edit the source content.
  • Then, zoom in by hitting “Command” and the plus sign (+) on the keyboard so you can see up close what you’ll be editing. (You can also click on the navigator tab on the right side of your window, and you’ll see a red box over the image you’re editing. To zoom, you can toggle the slider underneath the thumbnail image.)
  • To start removing the unwanted objects in the photo, click on the “Patch” tool. This is over on the toolbar on the left side of your window, and it looks like a patch of clothing.
  • Once you click on it, you’ll circle an object that you want to get rid of in your image. You don’t have to get close to it, just draw a circle around the surrounding area.
  • Once you circle it, you’ll see a “marching ants” dotted line around the spot. Click on the object within the circle and move it over to a clean area. Once you do that, you’ll see that the undesired spot (i.e. the leaf) disappears very easily.

Cropping Photos

If you’re uploading this image to your Instagram, you’ll want to crop it in a ratio that works with the app. This can either be square, portrait, or landscape.

  • To start, click on “Crop” on the left toolbar.
  • Then, go to the very left corner of the top bar and click on the drop-down menu to the right of the crop icon.
  • If you want to crop your photo into a portrait or landscape, choose the 4:5 ratio.
  • This will immediately crop your photo into a portrait.
  • If you want a horizontal image instead, go back to the top menu and click the double arrow button to the right of the ratio drop-down menu. This will change a portrait into a landscape image.
  • Once you’re happy with the crop, click the check mark on the bar at the top to finish.

Saving Photos

Once you’re finished editing your photo, you’ll want to save it to your computer so that you can either go back and make edits on it, send it to someone, or upload it to the web. If you save it as is without doing anything else, it will save your image as a Photoshop document, which will allow you to make changes, save the layers, and keep it editable so that you can go back and continue editing it if needed. That also means that you can’t send it to somebody, because nobody else can open a Photoshop document unless they have Photoshop.

  • To save it as a Photoshop document so that you can come back to it and edit it, press “Command” and “S” on your keyboard, or go to “File” in the top menu and click “Save.”
  • Once you’ve saved it as an editable file for yourself, you can then save it for the web to make sure that the colors that you’re seeing on your screen are the same that are going to be on the screen on the web
  • To do that, go to “File,” then “Export,” and then “Save for Web.”
  • A panel will open, and you can click on the drop-down menu to the right of the “Preset” option on the top right of the screen and click “JPEG High.”
  • Then, click “Save” to finish.

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Featured photo by @lola_adewuya.