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

Tip 141. Benefit from adjustment layers

Because they change data rather than alter pixels, Adjustment Layers are more flexible than pixel-based layers. 

Instead of copying a layer and making changes to it, click the Adjustment Layer icon and select the type you want from the list. You’ll get the same palette, but the changes you make are not permanent. 

To change the settings later, double-click the Adjustment Layer’s thumbnail.

Tip 142. Add mono toning treatments

To apply a single colour tint such as sepia or blue toning to a shot, click on the Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers panel and select Hue/Saturation from the list. 

In the dialog box, tick the Colorize box, then adjust the Hue and Saturation sliders to get the colour and intensity you want.

Tip 143. Copy and move layers quickly

If you’ve placed a cutout on a separate layer and want to use it elsewhere in an image, select the Move tool by pressing V, then hold Alt and drag the mouse. 

This copies the selection to a new layer and positions it wherever you drag it.

Tip 144. Invert your masking errors

When you use layer masks, it’s easy to hide or reveal the wrong part of the image by getting black where you should have white. If this happens, simply click on the mask to make it active, and press Ctrl+I to invert the colours. 

This is much quicker than making the mask correctly from scratch.

Tip 145. Flatten the smart way

To crunch all your visible layers into a single layer, click on the top layer in the stack then press Ctrl/ Cmd+Alt+Shift+E. This merges the image into a new layer. 

Tip 146. See sensor dirt

Smudges of sensor dirt are easy to miss, but if you select the Spot Removal tool in Lightroom or Camera Raw, there’s a great way to see them much more clearly. 

Tick the Visualize Spots box and adjust the slider alongside to see blemishes in low-detail areas like skies. Click on them to clean up.

Tip 147. Split-tone a shot

To split-tone a shot and get highlights and shadows in contrasting colours, go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter and in the HSL/ Greyscale tab, tick the Convert to Grayscale box. 

Now select the Split Toning tab, and adjust the Hue and Saturation sliders for the Highlights and the Shadows to get the colours you want. Use the Balance slider to mix them together. 

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