SELECTIVE EDITING – Photography Tip #19

While going through my usual scrutiny after downloading some images from a recent photo shoot, I noticed something that at one time would have confused my limited editing skills.  In this photograph I felt the boat was too dark, getting lost in the shadow of the reflection.  I wanted to somehow cause it to stand out from the reflective water.




So my first instinct was too lighten the image.  As you know, I work in Photoshop Elements 8.  This software has three basic editing formats: Full Edit, Quick Edit, or Guided Edit.  You may choose to work through one, or actually utilize all three on the same image.  I find myself using both the Full Edit option and the Quick Edit option on nearly every image because they accomplish differing processes.

After bringing this image into Elements, I moved into the Quick Edit program to make the needed changes.  Utilizing the Lighten Shadows slider, I quickly realized that lightening the shadows brightened the boat like I thought it would.  But unfortunately, it also created additional problems with the other parts of the image.  As you can see from the photo below, the colors are washed out and the exposure is too light.

Edit #1 - Too light

So, I removed that edit and started again from my original.




There are many times when I need to edit only a selective area of the image, leaving the remainder untouched.  The easiest way to accomplish this task is to utilize the Selection Tool.  You will find this feature in both the Full Edit and the Quick Edit formats.  It’s the icon that appears as a wand with a dotted lasso at the end.  Click on that icon and simply move your mouse pointer over the area you wish to edit.

After your area is selected, if you’re not already in the Quick Edit format, move into the that format where you can now lighten the selected area only.  As you can see in the image below, the boat is now easily distinguished within the frame.

Edit #2



Many times it’s a specific area that needs your editing attention.  The Selection Tool helps you accomplish those specific edits.

Even though I use Elements 8, I’m sure other editing software includes something similar to accomplish selective editing.  So, jump in there and give it a try.  You’ll find yourself using it all the time to selectively punch up an image.

Keep shooting!


~ by photographyfree4all on March 26, 2011.

11 Responses to “SELECTIVE EDITING – Photography Tip #19”

  1. Great tips. thanks. I’m not selective enough and i need a new Elements for my iMac, which i am in love with.

    I’d forgotten how much more Elements can do than Iphoto.


  2. Well done Steve, that’s what I would have done too! 🙂 Very nice image I might add.


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  4. Nicely done! You will rarely see a photo of mine that hasn’t been edited in some way (at least sharpened a little bit)!


  5. Agree on the edits, although, I did think the original was pretty darn good! Thanks for the tips.



  6. Jenny, I was stuck in IPhoto for a long time – it was my comfort zone! But, I knew I had to venture out. I’ve had Elements for a year, but rarely used it and never for anything detailed. But lately, I’ve been learning and growing. I’m glad I took that first step.


  7. I think the boat looks much better when it’s lightened a bit, David! I know it’s a small edit, but sometimes you have to small things to get the whole image right! Thanks!


  8. Thanks, Lisa! I’m finding the selection tool very helpful – for instance, maybe I need to satuarate the color but not in every area. I can do that with the selection tool. The possibilities are endless. I’m glad you stopped by!


  9. Thanks, Holly. I try to edit the image to appear as I saw it with my eyes. I find it can be addictive, though! 🙂 I love your edits, Holly!


  10. editing is now such a crucial part to photography I think. even when it’s little things like upping contrast and saturation a little bit, or removing a touch of shadows or high lights, tweaking the white balance and temperature. all things that just make the images that much more appealing. I know I have gotten into a sort of rhythm with aperture 3 in some basic edit tweaks I apply to almost every single image.

    and a couple more locations that might interest you Steve if you haven’t already been.
    Heisler Park Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna as well, and Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach by the HB Library. Just shot at these places the other day and thoroughly enjoyed them.


  11. Hey, Tim, thanks for your comment! I’ve not been to Heisler Park in Laguna Beach. I’ll put it on my list…thanks! I’ve been working hard on my editing. I’m learning a lot, mainly through my own experimentation! Thanks for your help, TRim! I really appreciate it.


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