5 pro techniques for post production in Adobe Photoshop

Photographed your print work for your portfolio? Here's how to make the best of your images in post.

We've already talked about how to shoot your print work more effectively for your portfolio. Now Mike Johns, senior designer at Robot Food, explains how to make the best of your images in post production.

Whether you're a new graduate about to hit the job market or a professional designer or illustrator looking for a promotion – or to get hired – here are five pro tips for improving your photography and showing your work in the best possible light…

01. Take your photos in Raw

Taking your photos in RAW format gives you a great advantage in post production. The extra data it captures means you can make use of Adobe Photoshop's full range of powerful editing features.

For portfolio photography, I find Clarity can enhance the image in ways that Contrast and other adjustments can't. Don't use more than a touch, but you'll notice improvement every time.

02. Heal little blemishes

For those stray hairs and specks of dust, the easiest and most straightforward tool I use is the Spot Healing brush tool. This tool makes your photo studio seem as clean as a Swiss hospital.

Image: photographer Neil Watson

03. Use clipping masks

Create a clipping mask around your subject and treat the background shadows separately. This gives you greater control over the subject and also allows you to maintain consistency on shadows and backdrops throughout.

04. Composition is key

Create horizontal and vertical guides to make sure the work you've captured isn't distorted. This will also help you achieve a strong composition by centring the product or figuring out where the focal point is.

05. Focus on the finer details

A great way to sharpen up the subject is to use the High Pass tool. To do this, duplicate your final image and select High Pass from the Filter menu. Like Clarity, this effect can be quite overpowering so only a small amount of radius is needed.

Once you have the new High Pass layer, apply Linear Light. This enhances the detail of your subject and can be adjusted using the transparency levels. It's perfect for small type or photography.

Words: Tanya Combrinck, for Computer Arts issue 238
Opening image: The Touch Agency

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