Principles of complex photo editing in Photoshop The top complex post-production tips you should know in 2021


Post-production is the lifeblood of good photography. Without it, images are left with countless imperfections that take from the picture, sometimes even ruining it completely. While the initial photograph serves as the foundation for any image, photo editing is essential to develop the photo into something worth being proud of.

In previous blogs, we’ve explored the differences between post-production software like Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as Photoshop challenges and editing basics with post-production. These guides are great for those looking at getting started with post-production, but what about if you’re interested in what the more tricky and detailed edits have in store for you? 

Throughout this post, we’re going to be exploring what the complex side of photo editing in post-production actually entails, involving:

    • The advantages of Photoshop for powerful edits
    • What effects different edits can have on your photograph
    • How to create your own visual effects


Complex photo editing


What post-production software is the best?

If you’re reading this complex guide on photo editing, it’s safe to say you already know the basics. If you already know the basics, then chances are you’ve even decided which software is your favourite.

The reason Adobe Photoshop is thrown around as the most popular and successful post-production software isn’t only because of its marketing. Adobe offers an entire range of programmes to edit both images and videos, and Photoshop is the beautiful amalgamation of their best tools for developing images in one software.

The advantages Photoshop has over other software such as Corel PaintShop Pro or Skylum Luminar aren’t subtle. Skylum Luminar has recently been gaining popularity based on its AI slider which applies automatic fixes such as brightening or toning, and where it may beat Photoshop in terms of ease and simplicity, it falls short of the complex tools on offer by Adobe which make way for intense detail in your images. 

The reason Photoshop can be daunting to look at when first turned on is because of its massive range of tools (which in all honesty, it doesn’t do well at explaining). Once you’ve come to understand what does what, however, no better software offers a greater amount of specific tools to work with. Add onto that the functionality between Photoshop and its sister product Adobe Lightroom and you’ve got a means to every edit.

Photoshop makes way for complex and detailed edits with its many built-in features:

    • Advanced colour editing
    • 3D design functionality
    • Extensive filters and brush tools
    • Touch-up and retouching
    • Multi-layer editing

The multi-layer editing feature is often praised as a gateway into complex and sophisticated photographs as it helps create the perfect workflow for your edits. In layers, you can work on one aspect of your picture, whether that’s changing the lighting in one part of the sky or even adding a whole new and completely different image to the photograph. Photoshop’s layering is a door into generating whatever type of image you want, whether it’s what you caught on camera or not.


Editing photographs


Why are complex photo edits necessary?

Beyond simple colour corrections or adjusting brightness, complex photo edits offer a whole new world of post-production.

From creating new and unique images through merging multiple photos together, to even creating new effects such as altering the weather (or even adding a whole new digitally created image such as a building or tattoo). By learning how to edit photos in complex ways, you can really mould the image into your vision and make the picture your own.

Different edits will also have different effects, such as changing the weather to alter the mood of the image, or even changing the filter over the photograph to resemble a different era. These edits can have a different impact on how your image is received. For example, if you’re editing a picture with intentions to market a product, the mood might be moulded to fit a story made to sell your product or maybe edited to highlight an element of your product (perhaps a blur filter is added to market the speed of a car). The key is knowing what edits you should make before making them.


Principles of complex photo editing


How to create your own effects in Photoshop

One aspect of complex editing is creating your own effects that either the original photography didn’t catch or that the post-production software doesn’t offer.

Photoshop offers a series of functions such as the option to upload custom brushes and create your own brushes to work with in post-production. These can be useful when you want to design your own setting, such as putting snow in the image when in reality it was just an overcast day (or maybe even if the original image was sunny, by dimming the colours first!)

You might even want to use the layering feature to set up screens and create new textures. As a practice run, try adding rain to your picture by creating a new black-filled layer, adding noise and a slanted motion blur then setting that layer to screen.

Photoshop’s range of tools can be used to customise your photo with a whole lot of effects, another being using the motion blur tool (under filter) to make the tip of an object blurry, giving the illusion of speed. For a full list of complex tutorials and ways to make effects such as this, Adobe offers several tutorials which you can filter between basic and advanced depending on your skill level.

Regardless of your intentions, post-production is necessary for any good photograph to really come to life. Complex edits can make or break an image, and learning to use all the tools and processes are essential. Of course, as with beginner edits on Photoshop or any other post-production software, it takes time to learn how to edit with more complex tools and objectives. 

If your image needs a professional, complex touch-up or edit, it can sometimes be more efficient and cost-effective to leave it to the experts.

Splento offers a quality touch-up and editing service from as little as £0.49 per photo. With a turn around time of under 24 hours, you’ll get your edits done quickly and professionally to your needs. You can find all the details for this along with the easy to use upload tool on their retouch page.


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