Basic Photo Editing for Beginning Photographers | Scott Tilton | Skillshare

Basic Photo Editing for Beginning Photographers

Scott Tilton, Photographer, Artist, Educator

Basic Photo Editing for Beginning Photographers

Scott Tilton, Photographer, Artist, Educator

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5 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Sharpening

    • 3. Removing Blemishes, Stray Hairs, and Lint

    • 4. Enhancing Eyes

    • 5. Removing People from the Background

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About This Class

Basic Photo Editing for Beginning Photographers:

In this course, I'll cover some basic edits in Photoshop, that every editor should have in their skill set. This collection of techniques is aimed at Photoshop beginners.  It assumes a BASIC understanding of the program interface, and is the first collection in a series that will cover INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED techniques in the future.  

In this class, you will learn:

  • How to sharpen an image
  • How to remove blemishes from an image
  • How to do simple eye enhancements
  • How to remove unwanted people from the background of your photo

This class is the first in a series, intended to teach photo editing in small chunks, and in practical contexts.

Meet Your Teacher

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Scott Tilton

Photographer, Artist, Educator


Hi, I'm S.Scott Tilton (better known around the web as Green Phantom Digital Media).  I've been a photographer, digital artist, and educator for well over a decade.  I've taught at such colleges as Sanford-Brown, The Art Institute, and, currently, Nevada State College.  While my primary photographic genre is cosplay, I've worked in genres ranging from boudoir, to product, to wedding, to corporate marketing.

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1. Intro : Hello, everybody. My name is Scott. I'm a professional photographer and educator from Las Vegas, Nevada, With over a decade of experience in both fields. As you watch my videos, you'll probably notice that a good bit of my work is pulled from the genre of cosplay, as that's where the bulk of my work in recent years comes from. However, I have experienced in a variety of genres, ranging from wedding photography to boudoir to corporate portraiture to product photography . And the techniques that I'll be covering in these videos are relevant to all the above genres and many, many more, in terms of my experience, is an educator. I've worked at multiple colleges, including Stanford Brown College, the Art Institute's and currently Nevada State College. This class is intended to be the first in a series of lessons, a basic edits. Every photographer should knowing photo shop, regardless of genre. The lessons in this class will cover basic beginner level edits and will soon be followed by an intermediate course as well as an expert level course. Please be aware that this class assumes a basic working knowledge of the photo shop interface. I won't be deep diving into the interface in these lessons. Let me know in the comments, though, if you'd like me to do a deep dive video into the photo shop interface that assumes no knowledge of the program. Once you've completed this class, I'd like to take a few of your own photos and practice some of the editing techniques I've covered and share them in the comments so that I can give you some critique and some feedback. And by all means, feel free to ask any questions, and I will answer them as I mean. 2. Sharpening: So when I start the editing process, the very first thing that I do is sharpen. And I will tell you up front that different photographers will tell you different things about when's the right time in a photo editing process to sharpen. Some will tell you like I do to Sharper at the very beginning. Some will tell you to sharpen at the end of the editing process. Some will tell you to sharper in the middle, and it's largely personal preference based on workflow. The specific reason that I sharpened at the beginning of the editing process is because it helps me to make sure that I catch any and all blemishes that I'm trying to edit out. And it also helps me with any selections that I'm going to make in the editing process. But that is largely personal preference. If you get all the way through your edit and realize, Oh my God, I forgot to sharpen my image. Don't worry, it's fine. It's not gonna be the end of the world. If you sharpen at the end, it's gonna look as good as if you sharp rent the beginning. That said, it's also the easiest edit to do so. We're gonna go over here to our layers palette in the bottom, right hand corner. Rule number one of any photo edit is you never edit on the bottom layer labeled background . That layer should always remain untouched. And the reason for that being if you get knee deep in the editing process and realize that you really, really messed up this gives you, Ah, go back to the beginning. Get out of jail free card. So never edit on this layer. The first thing we're going to do is right. Click on that later and click duplicate layer that will give us an exact copy of that layer . Now, to sharpen, we need a second copy of that layer. So we will again, right click duplicate layer. If you have done this properly so far, at this point, you should have three identical copies of the same photo. Make sure that you're clicked on the top. Most copy. So right now I'm clicked on the center copy. See how it's lighter in color over here. If I click on the top, most copy, it'll be lighter in color. Make sure your clicked on that top most copy. Then we're going to go to our menu bar at the top of the screen and we're going to click on FILTER. We're going to scroll down to other and we're going to click on High Pass. You'll get a window that looks like this, and it will appear that your image turns gray. Now there is a setting in this window radius. The memorized number that you want for the radius is 1.5 pixels. If you've done it properly, if you look very closely at your picture over here you will have what looks like a faint charcoal rubbing. You'll be able to see the sharp outlines of everything, but not a lot of tiny little details. We're going to go ahead and click. OK, now, let me tell you what this is done. So you understand what this filter is doing in photo editing, there is a great tone called light neutral gray or 50% gray. The way that 50% gray works is that if you set that layer to work as if it were light, which is what we're gonna do in a second, it will be completely see through neutral won't affect the image anyway. What the high pass filter does is it finds the edges of the subjects in the image the rial hard, crisp edges, and it darkens them just slightly darker than light neutral gray. So when we go to this little drop downwards, says Normal and click on that, that's our blend modes. Those were going to be important in the future, and we pulled down to soft light, which turns that layer into a Sfar. As the computer program is concerned, light notice that the image turns back to normal. Accept What's happened is all the sharp edges in here have been sharpened just a little bit more, and it's really, really hard to tell. You gotta look really close, so I'm gonna control plus or command plus, sorry and zoom in here, going to command plus and zoom in so I can see there and then I'm going to poke out this little I next. Little later, these eyes here determined rather not. The later is visible, so I'm going to click the I next to the layer. And if you watch the hair, you'll notice that when the layer is visible, meaning the eye isn't poked out, the hair is ever so slightly sharper, and it should be very slight. You don't ever want to overdo sharpening. If you feel like you need to go just a little bit sharper just right. Click on your high pass layer over here and duplicate the layer and you'll get just a little bit extra sharpening. Now, once you've done this, click on your top most high pass layer and the top most photo layer hold down shift. When you click on that photo earlier so that all three of them are highlighted, right? Click and merge layers. You've now sharpened your image. 3. Removing Blemishes, Stray Hairs, and Lint: now, the next basic edit that we need to make on this image is blemish removal. If you look up around her face, chin and neck, there's a number of blemishes that we need to remove, as well as the lines underneath her eyes. Now the bright side is this is actually really, really easy to do. So if you go over here to your tool palette. 12345678 nest down. You should have a tool called spot healing brush. That's the tool that we're going to use. Click up here in the conditional formatting bar on the brush to see what the settings are, and your size is going to change. Depending on the size of the blemishes, it should be just a little bigger than the blemishes. Hardness is always good at 25% for the spot healing brush, especially when you're working on skin in particular and spacing, I believe 25% is the default setting. I've never really mess with that, So the important thing, though, is the hardness of 25% and then we can adjust the size. So then I'm just going to go over onto the face, and I'm using a wake up tablet and a stylist as I do this, so mine is going to be just a little bit cleaner than yours might be. But that's OK, and I'm just going to brush over the blemishes and it's gonna take him right out. The only real trick to this is to make sure you have the brush size small enough because you want to be able to do detail work and to zoom in closer. You can see what you're doing clearly. Whatever you do, you don't want to do something like this where the images zoomed way out for blemish removal. You want to zoom in really close and then just scroll around to find the parts of the skin that you want to work on. By the same token, you'll notice that her wig has some stray strands here. If we really want to take the time to be super nit picky about this photo weaken do strands of hair the exact same way. Just be cautious with this. If you get in a little bit too deep that doing strands of hair with the blemish removal tool can be very, very tedious. And you have to make sure that you follow where the hair connects as a for instance, this big long hair right here where I'm hovering the cursor comes up in connects to the wig right here. So if I were to edit this portion out, somebody with a discerning eye would notice that now this long portion of hair here comes from nowhere. It doesn't connect where should. So we want to make sure we're being careful of things like that. But as long as you have the patience to go through and do that one little bit of the time, you can handle straight hair strands the exact same way that blemishes work. Same thing with lint on clothing and anything of that nature. 4. Enhancing Eyes: Now let's talk about another frequently requested at it. I enhancement something that's very easy to Dio now. This particular model already has bright, easy to see eyes, But you know what? We can make him pop a little bit more. We just need to come over here to the tool palette and go. 123456789 10 11 12 13 14 15 Nests down. This is where our Dodge and burn tools are, and for this we're going to select the Dodge Tool. Now let's go up here and talk about the conditional formatting bar for a minute. First, let's look at our brush hardness for this one needs to be a zero. You want a lot of bleed on this one. The size is going to change, depending on the eyes. You want the size of the brush to be just about the same size as the iris of her eyes. Give or take over here on range. If you click the drop down, you'll see you can work with shadows, mid tones and highlights. Mid tones are going to be what you use the Dodge and Burn tool for most of the time highlights and shadows or exactly what they sound like those. So you know best with it as you see fit. Exposure is how strong the brushes for lack of better terms for most edits with Dodge and Burn Tool, you want to keep it around 10%. Every time you brush with the Dodger burn brushes, it'll be another 10% of dodging and burning. So that's how that works. And dodging is lightning. Things burning is darkening things. That's what you need to know about that. Now. We'll go here and will duplicate the layer because we're going to want to do some clean up here. This is gonna be a little bit messy initially, so go ahead and click duplicate layer and then zoom in fairly close to the I see you can see that well most of the time. And there are exceptions to this, but most the time you don't want to do any more than three strokes over each eye. The very important thing is, however, many times you stroke the brush over this, I you need to do with this I as well, barring situations where you're attempting to fix lighting. If you lighten them unevenly. It'll cause problems with how the lighting looks in the final photo. So we'll do. One, 23 on this, I 123 on this I And now I told you this would be a little bit messy. And it's hard tell with this particular type of edit. But you're getting some bleed here around the whites of the eyes and around the eyelashes, and we only want the irises lightened. So we're going to go to our later masked button and we're going to add a layer mask. We're gonna make sure we're clipped on that. We're gonna grab our paintbrush. We're going to pull the hardness down to zero, and we're gonna make a tiny brush about that size happy little brush. And then we're going to grab our blacks watch. And then we're just going to very gently work our way around the irises of the eyes so that we clean up any bleed that we had here. And lightning eyes Is that simple? Once we're done, we just right click on this layer, merge down and her eyes have been lightened 5. Removing People from the Background: Okay, so we're going to change up pictures here for just a moment, so I can show you a very frequently used editing technique that will come in very handy. I'm going to show you how to remove objects from your photographs. Now there's a couple ways you can do this. We're going to work on three different parts of the photo where we had people walking around in the background that we don't really want their over here On the right hand side, we have two people that are very clearly visible in an area where there's not a lot going on around them. Over here, we have a person intersecting with this fence that's gonna be a little bit more of a challenge. And then we have some tiny people in the background here that we need to get rid of. So let's start with the people right here. Over on the right hand side. We're going to go over to our tool palette on the left of our window, and our third nest down is our lasso tools. And we're going to grab the political lasso tool. Now, let me show you real quick how the police in a lasso tool works before we get to work here with the political lasso tool. I click on a point and then I drag and it produces a line. I click on a point, and then I can pull another line from there and click on a point and so on, so forth and creating anchor points. And then when I make my way back around to the original anchor point, you'll see a little circle pops up next, the cursor. I click there and it closes the selection. So what we're going to do is we're going to make a selection like this, but we're going to make it around these people in the background, so command G D selects. And then I'm going to go back here, and I'm going to select these fine people back here now if it helps you to have a more precise cursor. If you hit caps lock, you'll get across here cursor like that. That will be a little bit more precise, and we want to select as close to these people as possible without actually cutting into them. The closer we can get a selection, the more accurately we're going to be able to remove them without any problems, and that will come down here and we'll close that selection. Now we're going to go up to edit Phil, and when we click that, it'll give us a window that looks like this will have a drop down. You want content aware in this very first drop down and then we'll just click, OK, and if we're really lucky, it'll just make the people go away without problems and then command D to see what it looks like. And it's a little sloppy right here, but we'll fix that up. The thing with content aware sometimes it will be a very clean filling, and every once in a while we'll mess. Something's up, but that gives me an opportunity to show you guys another tool. So if I come over here to the left 123456789 10 nests down. We have our stamp tools and we want the clone stamp tool. Now we're gonna turn off caps lock so we get a larger cursor like this because we need to see how large of an area we're selecting. The way that clone stamp works is that you hover over an area you want to duplicate. You hold down the all button and you click there and then you click over the area you want to replace What, that not holding the old button and just click there. And what it does is it just fills in the areas that you need filled in with the things that you click on. And you can very gradually get rid of little background mistakes like that. And now all of a sudden we have a background that looks more natural. Now, the reason we want to do that there is because we're gonna come over here and we're going to use the same thing on this dude here, zoom in just a little bit so we can see a little bit better. And this is gonna be a little bit more complicated because we have these bars to work with . But we're gonna hold down old and we're going to select an area, and then we're going to hover over him until it looks like it naturally replaces him. And this might take us a couple passes with a couple different parts of defense duplicated but we'll get there now. His lower body is gone and we just have to work on this top portion up here. And that's gonna be a little more challenging because again, they're stuff the interferes. But with a little bit of work, we'll get there. We're probably not going to be able to get his face out using the clone stamp tool easily. So we'll grab our spot healing brush that we use for blemishes pulled up to a little bit larger size. And then we should be able to gradually brush him out of the picture a little bit of time. And there he goes, all removed. Now that transitions, the next tool we're going to use for small people like this in the background. We're not going to necessarily go to the trouble of the clone stamp or the spot or the content aware will go in here, and we'll use our spot healing brush and just take them out. You got to be careful not to get too close to some of these foreground objects, but as long as you take your time in your patient with it, simple, easy peasy, and that's how you remove people or objects from the background. If there were signs or trash cans over here that you need to remove which there actually are hidden behind the subject in this case, you could go through and do those three exact same way. That's how you remove things from a photo.