Posted by: David Vernon | November 11, 2008

5 Things To Make An Image Better

Soldier Hill A view from Soldier Hill in Peoria’s Springdale Cemetary and a salute to all veterans out there. Thank you for your service.

In tonight’s Art Guild class, we’re going to cover a topic I like to call “5 Things”. As the title of this post indicates, it’s really five things that exist to make an image better – from a Photoshop perspective. What are five simple things we can do to make an image go from what it is to what it could be?

We start with color correction and Adobe Camera Raw – getting white balance right. We move on to using levels to explore the tonal range of an image through its histogram. We move on to color correction with curves and color correction of skin tone and finally we do a little sharpening. That’s my five-step walk through.

Scott Kelby has his famous 7-Point System for image correction/enchancement? If you were teaching the class – what would you basic system be?


  1. How about ‘run any 5 random filters, resize, save, upload’?? 🙂

  2. My 7-step to awesome images workflow goes something like this…

    1.) White Balance correction ( I always shoot in RAW to make adjustments here) If you leave gym or office looking green, I cringe.
    2.) Adjust curves levels. I like to make a little S curve for contrast.
    3.) Use a preset in Lightroom (this step is if I want to boost a color, change to black/white, or a vintage sepia look.) I use saved presents to shorten my workflow time for instantly gratifying adjustments.
    4.) Crop or tilt (if needed) You can sometimes make a shot better by recomposing it later or cropping (just be mindful of this if you want to print large). If you leave a horizon line skewed, I cringe. Nothing is more irritating than when people take all this time to make beautful editing images, and then don’t straighten their horizon line.
    5.) Spot Remove (if needed) or if this is a portrait, I will send over to Portrait Professional for some skin retouching (if needed) and save it back in Lightroom.
    6.) Export to to low resolution jpeg with mogrify borders. I am starting to really like my borders online because I feel like my images look finished.(Also, be wary of leaving images full size for people to steal off the internet).
    7.) Upload to Flickr (as they say, Flickr makes you smell better, so I am sure it makes your images look better too).

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