You don’t have to master Photoshop in order to know how to edit your photos and make them look better. I selected some basic tips and techniques for you, which you can easily apply to your photos and make them more vibrant, appealing and beautiful! 

These smart Photoshop tips will come in handy especially if you want to edit your family photos for an album, or even if you want to save some money and edit your wedding photos yourself! You’ll see, this is not as difficult as you may think. 

All the Photoshop tips presented here can be applied by any beginner Photoshop user. They are simple and all of them take less than 3 minutes to apply. Enjoy! 

1. Blur and Overlay

This technique is used to enhance the color of your image. It will make the lighter tones a bit lighter and the darker tones even darker. This works pretty much like the Contrast tool, but it adds a more subtle and soft contrast to your photos. 

To use this technique you have to duplicate your photo layer – press Ctrl+J. Go to the layers palette and look for the blending mode and change it to Overlay. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Adjust the blur until you get the contrast you want. You’ll see how the photo looks like in the Live Preview mode. 


blur tool

gaussian blur

The photo now looks more vibrant and has a beautiful, soft contrast. 

photo base

2. Monochrome 

The easiest way to do this is to duplicate your photo layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. Now go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and adjust them until you get the black and white photo you like.

Another way to do this is to go to Image > Adjustments > Black and White. Adjust the colors as you see fit. 

If you want to create dramatic black and white photos, this is one of my previous photo editing articles with a quick and easy tutorial: How To Create Dramatic Black and White Photos Using Photoshop

black and white adjustment layer

3. Image Sharpening

Sharpening images will turn them into more vivid looking photos. You can easily do this by going to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen. Adjust the amount and get the sharp photo you want! 

smart sharpen

4. Photo Filters

Of course, there are many free apps able to add filters to your photos, but most of them will shrink your photos and you will not be able to print them afterwards. You can apply any color filter you want to your photos, by going to Image > Adjustments > Photo Filter. 

Select filter or add your preferred color and adjust the density. 

photo filter blue

5. Vibrance

This is my favorite tool in Photoshop. It can turn any boring photo into a vivid one in just seconds! Go to Image > Adjustments > Vibrance. Adjust the vibrance level as you see fit. 



I’m only halfway through this list of great tips. In part 2, we’ll cover 5 more amazing tips to make photos better in under 3 minutes.

~Ruxandra Micu