Category Archives: Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop: Editing Pictures

Since a few of you commented asking how I got my photos to look so crisp in my vacation photo posts, I figured it was time for another Photoshop tutorial. I’ll pause here to give you guys the same spiel I give every time I do one of these: this is just the way I learned to do things in Photoshop over the years and I’m not saying it’s the best, easiest, or absolutely right way to do things. There are a million different ways to achieve different photo effects in Photoshop, and the tools I use are maybe 5% of what Photoshop is capable of. I don’t do too much editing (my Photo professor in college was always insistent that if you didn’t capture in the camera the first time, you didn’t get it and it can’t be faked) so don’t think of this tutorial as the gospel according to Erin, or anything. You might feel more comfortable doing things differently or even ignoring this all together. I just thought I’d share my process in case someone might find it helpful.

I should also note that I shoot solely in Manual. If you have a DSLR and you are shooting in Auto you might as well have a Lamborghini but no driver’s license. Grow a pair and learn to use your camera. I picked up my first SLR film camera in 8th grade (unless you count that report I did on the history of cameras in 4th grade) and wasted many rolls of film on under or overexposed photographs, but I learned how the camera worked. Now you can just hit “delete” and try again if your shot doesn’t come out right, and it doesn’t even cost you a frame. I think I’ll do a Photography tutoria next week l to put my degree to good use, but just know that it’s taken me almost half my life to get to the point where shooting Manual is instinctual; I don’t even have to think about what ISO, shutter speed, or aperture to shoot in.

I’ll stop my ego-stroking/humble-brag here before you think I’m some Photo Magician incapable of producing a bad shot. Even with a 4 year degree and 13 years of using a camera under my belt, there are some situations where the lighting isn’t perfect. Or maybe it is, but I forgot to change the ISO. Or maybe the sky wasn’t as blue as it should be. Or maybe the picture is great but I want it to really  pop. That’s where Photoshop comes in. At the risk of sounding like the Dos Equis commercial: I don’t always edit my photos, but when I do, here’s what I do in Photoshop. (I’m using CS5, but this tutorial was checked on CS4 and CS2 and everything was the same. I’m assuming it’s the same for Photoshop Elements, as well.)

For this tutorial, I used a photo from Ghent that came out particularly muddy straight from the camera. I’ll show you 6 easy steps to give it a quick edit without having it look blatantly Photoshopped and overdone.

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June 5, 2012 / art / photo / Photoshop Tutorials / LEAVE A COMMENT / 9

Photoshop Wednesday

Just when I’m getting nervous and think I have nothing to write about, something perfect falls into my lap. I got an email last night from Theresa and Tori (hi lovelies!) with a Photoshop question. It’s been a while since my last Photoshop tutorial, and with nothing on the schedule for today it seemed like the perfect opportunity to tackle it.

Theresa and Tori were both curious how to create long, scrolling layouts in Photoshop. You know, ones that don’t fit entirely on the screen, that you have to keep scrolling down to see the rest of. A perfectly legitimate question! The way Theresa explained she was going about it now seemed far too circuitous, and it’s so easy to do in Photoshop. In fact, determining the size of your layout is actually the first thing you do in Photoshop.

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April 25, 2012 / Photoshop Tutorials / LEAVE A COMMENT / 9

Photoshop Wednesday

I got my hair cut last night for the first time in 5 months, since “The Bangs” made their return. I went to a different salon than I did last time, after being recommended to the stylist/owner by 3 different friends, all of whom have amazing hair. I was ready to try someone new, since I didn’t get exactly what I wanted last time. I asked for “blended bangs” and ended up with Amelie-style baby-bangs, which went too far across my forehead and then just stopped without blending to the rest of my hair. Needless to say the growing-out process was brutal, and I sort of had to wait 5 months just to get my hair to a length it could be re-shaped without losing more off the bottom than I wanted. I didn’t take an after picture, unless you count a Photobooth pic I posted on Twitter for Sam. You don’t know how long it took me just to take that picture of me in my sidebar, so I wouldn’t hold my breath or anything.

Continuing the streak of dedicated posts, this one goes out to Chi, who reached out to me yesterday with a Photoshop question. She asked, in all of my Friday Fives, how do I get all of the items to be suspended with an all-white background? I thought it was as simple as answering that I just copy and paste each item onto a new document where the background is white, and then arrange them til they fit. What she actually wanted to know was how to work with an image that doesn’t already have an all-white, background without making her head spin. She plopped a lot of pressure on me, so let’s see if I can deliver, yes?

First, open your image in Photoshop. For our purposes I’m using a West Elm stool with a light grayish background. I try to use products that already have white backgrounds just because it’s easier, but obviously not everything does. Anyway, step one: open the picture in photoshop.

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March 28, 2012 / Photoshop Tutorials / LEAVE A COMMENT / 15

Friday Photoshop

Happy Friday! I know there was some confusion over Wednesday’s post “What’s In Your Bag?” as to how to post pictures of in the comments, so I’ve come up with a solution and a fun collaboration between all of us! If you want to, take a picture of your bag and its contents and email it to me at: I’d love to post all of your submissions and play a guessing game as to which bag goes which blogger (thanks for the idea, Theresa (oops!) Annie!) on Monday, so if you could make sure to send me your picture no later than Sunday at noon EST (that’s 5pm for you UK folks!) that would be awesome. Don’t feel obligated to clean out the receipts or junk, and don’t even feel obligated to even participate if you don’t want to! But I’d love to be nosy and see what you all have, and I think it will be really neat for everyone to try and “match” the bag and its owner. If you want to play along, just send me your photo! xoxo

I’m going to deviate a little from the program here, but this week I don’t have a Friday Five. In fact, I didn’t even have a Friday Two. All I had on my list was a box of decaf vanilla tea I’ve been chugging all week. Not exactly stimulating reading material, unless my goal was to be a total bore. I really tried, since you know, Friday Fives are my weekly thing, but it just wasn’t happening this week. And I didn’t want to force something or produce a post that wasn’t 100% to my liking, because I’d always feel irked over it.

Anyway, earlier in the week, Annie posted a mini-tutorial on how to achieve text with a picture filling in Photoshop. There are a million ways to do everything in Photoshop, and I am not pretending to be an expert in any of them. I do, however, spend a large chunk of my time working in Photoshop, and this text treatment is one I love and was happy to learn how to do a few years ago. Theresa emailed me with a request to explain further and do a variation on the text. With nothing else filling up today’s post, I figured I might as well oblige. SO. Here is my first attempt at a Photoshop tutorial, complete with screen-caps and poor explanations. I hope I don’t confuse all of you!

(FYI, I’m working in Photoshop CS4 on my work laptop, but the steps are identical for CS5 and CS2, I checked. I’m assuming they are the same for Photoshop Elements, since these are basic steps that Photoshop offers.)

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February 3, 2012 / Photoshop Tutorials / LEAVE A COMMENT / 10