In this video tutorial I will show you how to edit photos using only three adjustment layers to create a nice Photoshop Effect. Combining only a few adjustments and blend modes you can edit photos in Photoshop and get some really beautiful photography effects. In this tutorial we are going to use a Gradient Map, Curves and Solid Color. These will work nice for most photos even with the same settings and blend modes. Take a look at the example below.
How to edit photos with adjustment layers
We are going to create a soft photo effect, and we will work non-destructively by using adjustment layers because that way you will be able to fine tube the adjustments and make variations for each image you’re going to retouch in Photoshop. In order to create this photo effect I used an image from Jessica’s stock collection on deviantArt but you can use any image.
Open your image in Photoshop and create a Gradient Map layer. Use the Orange/Purple gradient and check the Reverse checkbox located on the adjustment panel. Change the Blend Mode of the layer to Divide and set the Opacity to 15%.
The second adjustment that I used is a Curves Adjustment Layer. I modified the outputs of all channels to increase the amount of light on the shadows. So go inside each channel and modify the Output of the shadows to 22. This is a quite common photoshop effect that make images softer.
The last adjustment layer will allow you to change the tone of the image. Add a Solid Color layer and change its blend mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to 25%. Choose a color that fits your image or a color that creates an effect that you like. Try changing the Opacity of the layer and the color saturation and tone to create different photo effects.
For some photos, a soft light glow might look good. Just create a new layer with Screen blend mode and paint a big soft dot with a dark yellow color. Watch the video for more info.
That’s how I created a Photo effect in Photoshop using only three adjustment layers.