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A 5 Step Photoshop Elements Workflow

Regular reader, Dan, submitted the following Photoshop Workflow which I thought might be helpful for some – and which might get some interesting discussion going also.

I know that there’s a lot of debate among photoshop geeks as to what order you should do things in photoshop when processing images – but I wanted to share with your readers my own workflow when I do day to day adjustments using Buy the Adobe Photoshop Elements (although its similar to what I do in other post processing software too). I won’t go into great detail about how I do each step – rather this is more about the order that I do things.

I should say that I’m just describing my general process for most images – of course there are times when I break out of this little routine and do something different (or where I skip a step) – this varies from image to image – but is my general rhythm which I learned from a photoshop course at a local school:

My Photoshop Workflow has five main steps:

1. Crop and Rotate

I used to do this more in my early days as I regularly took images that were not straight or framed well. I’ve since improved this by changing my in-camera technique – but it’s always worth a quick scan of the image to check that it’s straight, that I have my subject positioned well in the frame and that I don’t have a distraction in the background that could be removed with cropping.

2. Adjust Levels

Next I open the levels dialogue box and check the histogram of the image that I’m editing to see if it’s balanced. Looking to see the shape of the histogram can tell you a lot about an image. I pay particular attention to the edge of the histogram to see if there’s a full spectrum of tones in the shot.

3. Adjust the Color

The good thing about adjusting the levels first is that it can sometimes bring the colors in your image to life – however sometimes it can be necessary to make further adjustments. I usually try ‘Auto Colors’ first to see how Photoshop treats it – but if am not satisfied with it will undo it and tweak things manually.

4. Remove Spots/Marks/Distractions

At this point I scan the image for any kind of distractions or marks. This may be something that was in the scene that can’t be removed by cropping or could be a speck of dust on your image sensor. I tend to keep things simple here and use the Cloning tool for most of these.

5. Sharpen

Once I’m satisfied with all of the above factors I then do sharpening. I used to think that this was the most important element and that I could fix poorly focused images – however I now know that you can only work with what you’ve got when it comes to sharpening.

Thanks to Dan for sharing his Photoshop Elements Workflow. It think it’d be useful to hear how others approach their post production workflow also. What order do you approach your post production? What steps do you include most? What do you leave out?

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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