I'm relatively new to instructables. This is my second instructable. I hope you like it!
This is a very simple method for getting great looking photos in seconds with photoshop using a blending mode called "overlay". Below you will see the before and after pictures. Alright, let's get started.
NOTE: If you already know your way around photoshop this is a simple method:
duplicate your image layer
set the new layer's blending mode to overlay
play around with the opacity.
Step 1: Open 'Er Up
The first thing you need to do is open up your images in Photoshop. I'll give you a quick breakdown of the menu we will be using (the layers palette).
The first thing to notice is the pull-down menus. There are many blend mode options (picture 3). We are going to use overlay. If you want a run down on all of the options check out:
Then we have two spaces to enter a value for opacity (0-100) and fill (0-100). Changing the opacity changes the amount we can see of the layers below.
Step 2: Duplicate Your Image
Select your main image layer. You will know you have selected the layer we want when it is highlighted in the layers palette.
On a PC hit CTRL+J or APPLE + J on a mac.
Alternatively you can use the menu: LAYER>DUPLICATE LAYER
Step 3: Overlay Magic
Now here's the magic part. Set the layer blend mode to overlay (picture 1). This will immediately punch up the contrast of your image. Overlay works by making light colors lighter and dark colors darker, thus driving up the contrast.
Some times this is too much of a contrast increase. In this case you can change the layer opacity to a lower value, lessening the effect. I like to use 60% for a lot of my photos. I find this gives you good contrast and richer looking colors.
Some people like to blur their overlay layers (FILTER>BLUR>GUASSIAN BLUR--play with the radius). This is another way of lessening the effect but I don't really like it, it seems to over-soften images.
Repeat and enjoy.
Step 4: Taking It to the Next Level
If you really want to get good photos you'll need to step it up. The key is lighting. I'm no lighting expert so I won't try to explain it to you. But for product shots there are a ton of instructables on building high quality lightboxes:
softboxes (diffuse light):
and some on building a full studio set up: