Photography tips

Warm up a shot the fast way

To add a swift warm-up effect on a landscape, press Ctrl/Cmd+L to open the Levels palette, and click RGB. Select the Red Channel from the list, and move the middle slider a little to the left. Now select the Blue channel and move it a little to the right. This creates an amber colour cast to the whole image, giving an instant warm-up effect.

Balance your colours

Colour temperature isn’t fixed in a raw file, and both Lightroom and Camera Raw make it easy to warm up or cool down your shots. The best starting point is to pick the appropriate preset (such as Daylight or Cloudy) from the drop-down menu next to White Balance in the Basic panel. Then, you can fine-tune the results to your liking using the Temperature slider.

Change your mind on filter settings

If you’ve gone too far with a filter effect and want to dial back the settings, press Ctrl/Cmd+Z to undo the filter. You’ll see the image return to its pre-filtered state. If you now press Ctrl/Cmd+Alt+F, you’ll bring up the Filter dialog box without having to reselect it. Change the settings and click OK.

Darker edges

To quickly create a vignette around an multi-layered image, click on the top layer in the stack and press Ctrl/Cmd+Alt+Shift+E. This will collapse everything visible into a new layer. Now go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter, and select the FX tab. Under Post Crop Vignetting, move Amount to the left for a dark vignette, or right for a bright one, and adjust the look with Feather Roundness.

Stay in control of contrast

Curves is an amazing tool that offers the connoisseur’s route to contrast control. With it, you can create an S-curve that darkens lower midtones and brightens upper midtones at the same time. Make a Curves Adjustment Layer, then pull the line down at the bottom and push it up at the top.

Zoom smarter

To zoom and out in a smarter way, assign the zoom function to the scroll wheel of your mouse. Go to Edit > Preferences > Tools and tick the Zoom With Scroll Wheel box to enable it.

Control your adjustment layers

If you add an Adjustment Layer, it will affect all the layers beneath it in the Layers stack. To make it only affect the layer immediately beneath it, hold Alt and click on the line between the Adjustment Layer and the layer beneath. This ‘clips’ the layer and restricts its effect.

Get help with composition

Call up a little assistance in framing by choosing the right Crop Overlay. Click on the dropdown menu in the Crop tool’s option bar, and you can choose from six different options to get you composing like a pro.

Spot-on selections

When you’re making a selection with a Marquee tool, it can be tricky to be precise with your starting point. Start to drag out the selection then immediately hold the spacebar without releasing the mouse. You can now move the starting point  around to get it exactly right before continuing.

Sample a colour – fast!

When you’re painting with the Brush tool and want to switch to a different colour within the image, hold down Alt, click anywhere on the image and the colour will be imported into the foreground colour swatch.