147 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything

Tip 111. Be consistent in cropping

When you need a set of pictures all the same size, make life easy by creating a crop preset. 

Select the Crop tool and in the Options bar, key in the width, height and resolution you want (eg, 21 cm, 29.7 cm, 300 px/in). 

Now click the first drop-down menu and select New Crop Preset. In the dialog box, change the name if required, and click OK to save your custom size. Use this whenever you need it! 

Tip 112. Before and after views: the easy way

When you convert a raw file, it’s handy to see a ‘before’ and ‘after’ version of your changes to keep track of how your picture is progressing. 

Clicking repeatedly on the Y icon at the bottom of the interface in Lightroom or Camera Raw will cycle through the different modes. To exit, click on the full-screen icon alongside.

Tip 113. Recompose with Transform

The Crop tool isn’t always the best way to reframe an image. Instead press Ctrl/Cmd+A to select the image, then Ctrl/ Cmd+T to enter Transform mode. 

Now hold down Ctrl/ Cmd and pull out the corner handles of the bounding box to reshape your image to the frame. 

When you’re done, press Return to confirm. With this method, you can improve composition while you crop.

Tip 114. Set your black point

When converting raw files in Lightroom or Camera Raw, Set your black point by Alt-dragging the Blacks slider to the left. You’ll see a mask view where true black occurs: this provides a great way to set the darkest parts of an image. 

You can do the same with Alt and the Whites slider to set a white point.

Tip 115. Correct your lens

Before doing anything else to a raw file in Lightroom or Camera Raw, go to Lens Corrections and tick the Remove Chromatic Aberrations and Enable Profile Corrections boxes. 

This will automatically detect the lens used and compensate for any colour fringing or distortion that’s present.

Tip 116. Go back in time with Undo

To undo the last thing you did, press Ctrl/Cmd+Z. If you want to step back further, press Ctrl/Cmd+Alt+Z. 

At the default settings, you can go back up to 20 states, but if you want more, you can increase the number of History States in Edit > Preferences. (Select Photoshop > Preferences if you’re using macOS).

Tip 117. Make a calculation

To get a great mono conversion, open your image and go to Image > Calculations. In the dialog box, the Source and Layer boxes will be identical, but by varying Channel, Blending mode and Opacity, you’ll get different black-and-white results. 

For high-impact scenes shot with bags of contrast, try Red, Red, Multiply. 

Make sure the Result box is set to New Document, and when you click OK you’ll  get a great-looking mono pic.

Tip 118. Make a Background layer editable

If you want to move a Background layer higher in your Layers stack, you need to convert it into an editable layer first. 

To do this quickly, hold Alt and double-click on the layer’s name. It will be instantly turned into an editable layer. 

Tip 119. Clone like a pro!

If you need to clean up an image with some cloning, create a new layer in the Layers panel. With the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush tool selected, make sure that Sample: All Layers is selected in the Options bar. 

Now clone or heal away, and all the cloning work will be placed on the new layer, leaving your original untouched if you change your mind later. 

Tip 120. Apply a slick keyline border

To add a crisp, thin, black border to an image, press D to reset your colours to black and white, then press Ctrl/ Cmd+A to select it all. 

Now go to Edit > Stroke, and in the dialog box, set Width to 10 px and choose Inside under Location. Click OK.