Beginner Photoshop Tutorial: 5 Easy Photo Effects

Retouch your photos with these five easy photo effects. These Photoshop tutorials will show you how to create some of the most popular photo effects using professional non-destructive editing techniques. You’ll need Photoshop CS4 or newer to follow these tutorials. The first effect you’re about to see is an awesome way to give your flat photos a contrast boost. This photo effect uses just one black and white adjustment layer! To start, click on the “New Adjustment Layer” button in the layers palette then choose Black & White. Set the blending mode of this layer to Soft Light. Adjust the settings as you like in the adjustments palette. If you don’t see this palette, go to Window>Adjustments. You can use this slider here to directly select a color in the image to adjust. So let’s say I want to make this sky darker, just click and drag to the left. For the trees, I’ll make them brighter by dragging to the left. It’s that easy! Here’s the before and after of this contrast boost photo effect! The first photo effect we just showed you is great for flat-looking photos. Now we’re going to show you a photo effect for those high contrast outdoor photos. This photo effect gives your photos that old-school retro look and you can do it non-destructively without even creating a new layer. First, unlock the background layer so we can apply a layer style to it. To do this, just double-click on the layer. You’ll get a window with some layer properties; just click OK. Right-click on the layer then choose Blending Options. Select the Color Overlay options then set the blend mode to Exclusion and opacity to 25%. Next, click on the color then pick any color you like. I’m going to pick this one right here. Here’s what the effect looks like! Next up is a quick and easy way of giving your photos a dreamy look. We can apply this using Smart Filters. Start by converting the layer into a Smart Object. Right click on the layer then choose Convert to Smart Object. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Adjust the settings so that you get a blur like this then click OK. Double-click on the blending options button here then change the blending mode to Screen. Adjust the opacity to your likings then click OK. That’s the soft fog effect! Here’s what it looks like before and after. The next photo effect is subtle but gives your photo a really nice antique feel. This effect works great on portraits. Start by creating a new Hue-Saturation adjustment layer. To do this, click on the New Adjustment Layer button then choose Hue-Saturation. Select the Sepia preset. If you don’t have this preset, enable the colorize option then set your hue to 35 and saturation to 25. Right-click on the layer then choose Blending Options. In the Blend If area, hold down the Alt or Option key on a Mac then drag the black input slider all the way to the right. The slider will detach from the other half and give you a smooth blending as you drag it towards the right. Click OK. Here’s the half sepia effect! It’s a nice subtle effect for portrait photos. The final photo effect you’ll learn is a Lomo color effect. It gives your photos a color pop just like some Lomo cameras and is surprisingly easy to do. Start by creating a new Levels adjustment layer. Click on the New adjustment layer then choose Levels. Select red from the drop down menu then drag the black and white input slider towards the middle like this. We’re going to finish this Lomo effect with a vignette. Before you add one, right click on the background layer then choose Convert to Smart Object. This will let us apply the vignette as a Smart Filter which lets you go back and change the settings anytime you like. Go to Filter>Lens correction. In the Custom tab, adjust the vignette to -100 then click OK. Here’s the Lomo photo effect! Give these photo effects a try and let us know how it went for you in the comments. Here’s a final recap of the five easy photo effects. Subscribe to us for more great Photoshop tutorials!

67 Replies to “Beginner Photoshop Tutorial: 5 Easy Photo Effects”

  1. This tutorial seems very clear and informative, however the background song was so terribly distracting to me.  I need to focus on his words.  Some of us are very musical so listening to music becomes something that you naturally try to dissect (notes) while it's playing.  Trying to pay attention to the words shared at the same time is very challenging.  No music option please!  I am a school teacher, and using music integrated into a lesson to learn is awesome!  But background unrelated music is not really a great tool to use while teaching a lesson that needs focus…for some of us learners anyhow!  Obviously some can do fine with this! Just a thought! 🙂

  2. you are going too fast, this tutorial sucks. If people are actually trying to learn or do it step by step on PS with you NO one can catch anything you've said. WOREST teaching job ever it pisses me off. Slow down or why bother just to show off.

  3. hey Stacey M. it's not really fast….if u watch another video photoshop and u know where it is and what it uses for…. 😀

  4. Help needed: In the last effect, lomo effect, I converted the background to smart object but didn't find the option of lens correction in the drop down menu of filter. I followed every single step, used photoshop CS4 Extended. How can I fix this?

  5. I’ve watched a lot of tutorial videos but your voice is by far the best, and not annoying to listen to at all. 

    Also, the photo effects worked out fantastically. Thanks, these videos were a huge help.

  6. Ah-Maz-Ing! Thanks a ton! I tried all the photo effects and they worked like a charm. 🙂 Best tutorial I've seen yet.

  7. 2nd photo effects not working im using cs5, i follow your instruction but what i see was just boxes on the image

  8. this is very useful and easy to follow instructions as well. do you have advance tutorials on Photoshop? I appreciate your response… thanks.

  9. Is it possible to change the color all together I have a Daisy Flower I want to change it from red to like blue is that possible if so how?

  10. great info to help you get started with photoshop. but never forget you need to START with a quality image.

  11. Hey does anyone know why I still see my image that I'm trying to mask…I still see the image at 10%…and I've checked all my opacity setting…???/…HELP…

  12. I've been out of the whole editing for a while. It sure is nice to get back and
     relearn. Thankful for your tutorials.

  13. This tutorial is very informative and helpful for those who wanted to learn photo editing effects. Learning photography and style with a combination of artistic photo editing effects for your photographs is the most perfect combination! Creating stunning and awesome images requires creativity and artistic mind.

  14. Not certain about the points made but ,if anyone else wants to learn about how to use photoshop try Barkola Photo Editor Blueprint (do a google search ) ? Ive heard some amazing things about it and my m8 got great results with it.

  15. plz help!!! I managed to do them all except the one that gives the photos an antique feeling. At 3:36 I drag it to the right but it doesn't get detouched and the photo gets weird cause it doesn't blend right… what should I do?? :/

  16. I've used photoshop for many years and done many advanced techniques, and your tips are still very helpful and fast! Thanks for the great video.

  17. great and helpful tips for photoshop amature! thank you! especially the subtitle helps a lot !! (especially those proffesional nouns sometime i just cant get it without subtitle) please do it more!

  18. Awesome! It actually affected them flat photos on me album! Thanks! I was wonder if you can make tutorials on the effects on the music video of Melanie C's Never Be The Same Again and Five's Don't Wanna Let You Go? Would appreciate it!

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