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Starting out as a photographer can be a great challenge. It takes time to understand your new camera and get a fill for how it works. There are so many people these days with smartphones that have amazing apps(applications) that can make a photo taken with one look amazingly professional. I've had to step up my game and go to college for digital design so that I can learn more about photography and how to manipulate digital photos. It turns out once you learn how to manipulate photographs, you can create some spectacular, sometimes inspiring works of art. My favorite type of photography so far includes landscape, portrait, and macro environments.

There's so much you can do these days with the software that comes out from changing the white balance to the vibrancy of a photo. There's so many options that pop up in Photoshop once you open a photograph. For example, right off the bat when you open a file, you have the option to add as many layers as you want so that you don't damage the original photo. Doing this opens up more and more possibilities. You can take and make a new layer and call it "Eyes". Once you do that select that layer and go over to the left side menu and select a color you want to use. I normally use a really really bright color to make the eyes stand out on a photograph. The eyes are windows to the soul. Once you've selected a color, zoom in on the eyes. After doing so, select the brush tool(Note: Coloring in Photoshop is easier with a digital graphic tablet such as the Wacom brand).

Once you've finished coloring in the eyes, you can go over to the layer you are on and click on the 'eye' icon just to the left of the picture to turn it off and on to see what the original vs your version looks like. You can also click on the icon just to the right of the magnifying glass(hold your left click down) and scroll down to the gradient tool. The gradient tool take a color of your choosing and goes from darker to lighter versions of that color with the length of the line you put across the photograph. This is a great tool to use when you want the portraits of people and animals or landscapes of buildings to stand out more.

One of the last things I want to tell you about is the polygonal lasso tool. You can use this tool to cut or copy anything in a photograph so that you may add it to any other artwork or photograph of your choosing. What you would do first is create a new layer and call it 'cut and copy'. Select the layer. On the left side menu just below the 'move' tool(first icon far left side), you'll see the lasso tool(second icon on far left/2nd down far left side), hold your left click down over the icon and you will see that you will have selections. Choose the polygonal lasso tool and begin by clicking once on the outline of what you're going to cut/copy/paste. Once you've got your primary point selected, go around the object clicking as many times as you need in order to get a really clean selection of the object you're going to use. Once you've went all the way around the object and connected the last point back to the first point you can go up to the edit tab at the top of the screen and choose copy or cut. This will copy the image for you so you can put it into another file. Make sure you've made a new layer and selected it on the other photo/file so that when you paste it, it won't mess up the original photography.

With lightroom, there's a lot you can manipulate also such as vibrancy, white & black balances, warm & cool colors and many, many more things which I will bring into my second article if you guys want it. Let me know down in the comments section.

And this concludes my first post. I hope you found this informative. Thank you for your time. - Adam Norman

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