22 Professional Photoshop Image Enhancing Tutorials

May 1 2009 by Tomas Laurinavicius | 99 Comments

Adobe Photoshop is the premier tool for digital artists when it comes to professionally enhancing images. Whether you’re a beginner just learning the ropes or an advanced user looking for unique techniques to add to your Photoshop arsenal, you’ll find some tutorials here that you’ll surely want to bookmark.

In this article, you’ll discover plenty of tutorials that deal with enhancing images, adding unique and impressive effects, and recreating digital replications of popular traditional photography techniques.

1. Cross Processing

Cross Processing

You can learn how to apply the Cross Processing film-developing technique digitally to your images by reading through this quick and educational tutorial that leverages the powers of the Curves tool in Photoshop.

2. Lomo Photography

Lomo Photography

Take your ordinary digital photos and simulate the Lomo Photography effect (also known as Lomography) that will apply a dreamy and surreal effect onto your images in this tutorial that uses a Levels Adjustment layer among other Photoshop techniques.

3. HDR Photo Effect

HDR Photo Effect

Create a pseudo-HDR image by reading through this popular Photoshop tutorial that uses basic Photoshop tools, options, and techniques such as adjusting Shadows/Highlight settings and changing layer Blending modes.

4. Gritty Effect

Gritty Effect

Improve your photos with a dramatic gritty bronze effect to make them truly pop though the techniques discussed in this Photoshop tutorial. The tutorial uses a combination of techniques including the utilization of a Curves Adjustment layer.

5. Dave Hill Look Photo Effect

Dave Hill Look Photo Effect

This simple but impressive tutorial takes inspiration from Dave Hill‘s unique photography work to create stunning HDR-like renditions of ordinary photographs using a combination of techniques that involves the Unsharp Mask in Photoshop.

6. Soft Focus Photography

Soft Focus Photography

Learn about an image-enhancing technique that you can easily apply onto your images by reading through this handy Photoshop tutorial from photoshoptalent.com that uses a Color Balance adjustment layer as well as other Photoshop options and techniques.

7. Movie Photo Effect

Movie Photo Effect

By following along this Photoshop tutorial, even the plainest photos can embody a stylish Hollywood film look-and-feel. The technique involves a few Image Adjustment (Image > Adjustment) options like tweaking Exposure and Hue/Saturation settings.

8. Extreme Contrast Photo Effect

Extreme Contrast Photo Effect

In this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, you will learn how to add some noise, how to take advantage of Photoshop’s sharpening tools, and how to add a simple Adjustment layer to give a photo an "extreme contrast" effect.

9. Infrared Photo Effect

Infrared Photo Effect

The infrared photo effect can be a unique and stunning way to create one-of-a-kind photos. Learn how to simulate this photography technique digitally through this helpful Photoshop tutorial that takes advantage of Photoshop’s Channel palette.

10. Soft Focus & Glow Effect

Soft Focus & Glow Effect

Do you want to change a plain and boring scene into a dreamy and surreal photo? If so – check out this wonderful tutorial on applying a soft focus and glow effect onto your photos using the Gaussian Blur filter and adjusting layer Blending modes.

11. High Pass Filter

High Pass Filter

In this straightforward image-editing tutorial, you will learn a quick technique for enhancing your images to give them a subtle HDR effect by using Photoshop’s handy High Pass filter and adjusting layer Blending modes.

12. Vintage Photo Effect

Vintage Photo Effect

Renowned graphic/web designer Veerle Pieters discusses a method for putting on a vintage photography effect on images in this tutorial that uses a few techniques like adding a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer and utilization of Smart Filters.

13. Split Toning Black & White Effect

Split Toning Black & White Effect

Learn to apply the split toning (a variance of sepia toning) photography effect which takes ordinary photos to produce a vintage-style photo effect. This tutorial uses several Photoshop options like adding a Color Balance Adjustment layer and the Channel Mixer.

14. Change Hair Color Tutorial

Change Hair Color Tutorial

If you want to add a bit of spice in your photos – one way to do so would be to change the subject’s hair color. Learn about a method for coloring hair in this tutorial that shows where Photoshop’s notoriety for digital manipulation comes from.

15. Coloring Effect Tutorial

Coloring Effect Tutorial

In this quick and simple Photoshop tutorial, you will get a chance to discover some methods for coloring your images using a few tools and options such Adjustment layers, modifying Blending modes, and the Blur filter.

16. Light Effects

Light Effects

Enhance your images by adding a few cool lighting effects; learn how in this Photoshop tutorial. The tutorial uses various Photoshop tools such as the Gradient tool and taking advantage of the Pattern Overlay layer style.

17. Snow Photo Effect

Snow Photo Effect

Add some weather into your photos by viewing this tutorial that teaches its readers how to add falling snow onto a photograph. The tutorial adds in the snow by using the Add Noise Photoshop filter, blurring it, and overlaying it onto the image’s layer.

18. Streams Of Dusty Light

Streams Of Dusty Light

This interesting Photoshop tutorial shows you how to add a surreal stream of light to make your photos truly unique and eye grabbing. The tutorial leans on the Radial Blur filter to create the streams of light.

19. Photo Color Correction

Photo Color Correction

If you have an image that you would like to correct for color, Photoshop is here to help! Read this PSDTUTS tutorial in order to learn about one of Photoshop’s strongest tools: the Curves Adjustment tool.

20. Enhance Skin Tutorial

Enhance Skin Tutorial

In this Photoshop photo-editing tutorial, you’ll come across a process for effectively improving your subject’s skin. One of the Photoshop tools you’ll be encountering in the tutorial is the Healing Brush tool.

21. Gaussian Blur

Gaussian Blur

Using the Gaussian Blur filter on images can result in unique photo scenes. If you’d like to know how you could use this Photoshop filter in a manner that enhances your photos, you should read this excellent tutorial.

22. Tilt-Shift Miniature Fake Technique

Tilt-Shift Miniature Fake Technique

If want to use the Tilt Shift photography technique without spending boatloads of cash in purchasing the equipment to do so, read through this helpful tutorial on how to fake the popular technique.

Have a good Photoshop tutorial to add to the mix?

The comment section is a great place to find other resources that didn’t make the cut. If you know of a good image-editing tutorial that we somehow missed – share it with all of us in the comments!

*Edited by: Jacob Gube

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About the Author

Tomas Laurinavičius is a blogger and designer from Lithuania who’s currently studying Multimedia Design & Communication in Denmark. Check his work at his personal portfolio site and follow him on Twitter.

99 Comments

Simon

May 1st, 2009

What a great selection of tuts.
Stumbled and will be linked on my blog, cheers.

JJ

May 1st, 2009

Very nice post. The tutorials listed are actually useful and good quality.

Tiffany

May 1st, 2009

Awesome collection, thanks!

woooow

May 1st, 2009

All of these tutorials are drawing on actual photographic practices and techniques, and every single one of them is simulating it horribly. Honestly, if you want effects like these, learn how to take pictures, and once you do that you will realize how idiotic and gimmicky they all are.

basibanget

May 1st, 2009

these are old stuffs

tyler

May 1st, 2009

These are some fresh new looks on photoshop. thanks for posting Tomas.

Mark Mitchell

May 2nd, 2009

Wow-What a great roundup of effects. Really great for designers who are not “photographers” using Photoshop in that corrective way. As a designer I have been looking for a good resource to up my image enhancing tool set. Thanks Great post.

John "Sam" Osborne

May 2nd, 2009

These are some very useful tutorials for those without the photographic equipment, knowledge, or expertise. Also, should you need images in a certain manner to be consistent with what you’re working on, this goes great strides.

Interestingly, “woooow,” if you look at the very top of this page, you’ll see this is a site subtitled: “Useful Information for Web Developers & Designers.” This is not a site for photography experts or specialists. The article serves its community and purpose.

Macs

May 2nd, 2009

These are great effects. i have two question if some one can answer. are there any plugins and can those plugin work with photoshop8

Thanks in advance

Michael Struwig

May 2nd, 2009

I’m extremely glad you posted this list, the information available on these tutorials are a serious boost in both skill and confidence for designer who are just starting out – or simply doing graphic design for a hobby.

Great selection.

-Michael.

Phil

May 2nd, 2009

Great advice! thanks!

Jim Gaudet

May 2nd, 2009

Wow, I need to create a section of bookmarks just for SR…

Masroor Gilani

May 2nd, 2009

Really impressive. I have not yet used shop but several of my colleagues use it daily for their news and professional fashion photography. I am going to post the URL to them and I know how excited they will be.

Brandon M. Sergent

May 2nd, 2009

@woooow

Not everyone can afford a 2000$ camera dick. Run along now.

BG

May 2nd, 2009

Most of these effects are much easier with Picnik, just press a button!

Jacob Gube

May 2nd, 2009

@John “Sam” Osborne: Being an amateur photographer myself, I can say you’re right on the money with that one. A lot of developers/designers like photography and arts but it’s just a hobby for us that compliments our true professions (see the Freebies section to see what I mean). I know Chris Coyier from CSS-tricks and Kawsar Ali from Desizn Tech, like me, take pictures – but it’s not our expertise. I thought this would be an interesting post to have because I’m almost positive a lot of you guys and gals like photography as well, or take inspiration from it, in your design work.

Sure it’s not the real thing as blowing a ton of cash on Tilt-Shift lenses that have a very narrow and specified use or investing in a wet room to achieve split toning, but at the same time, you can come up with decent effects using just Photoshop.

Franky

May 2nd, 2009

Absolutely Amazing. Thanks sooooo much. This is awesome!

Tukang Nggame

May 3rd, 2009

Nice post, i love Cross Processing tutorial

Raj

May 3rd, 2009

I like, thanks!

Arijit Mondal

May 3rd, 2009

Very helpful content for photographers.

Callum Chapman

May 3rd, 2009

Some lovely photo effects! It’s amazing how a simple photo (such as the photo used in the movie photo effect) can be transformed in to, well, a piece of art.

I agree it’s not the same as blowing (more than) a ton of cash on different lenses, but unless you have a few thousand quid laying around this is deffo the way forward!

Thanks for everything!

Stumbler

May 3rd, 2009

Those are so totally ‘shopped. Seriously dude, check out the pixels.

Seth

May 4th, 2009

This could be summed as “22 examples of photoshop effects that can look great, but don’t in these samples.”

None of these are believable or done with enough finesse to impress. Sorry to be negative. I just get tired of everyone using the same handful of generic effects. This is why 99% of digital photography has no personality.

Jenny-Lynn

May 4th, 2009

I second the picnic comment.
They’re amazing at one click filters AND tie in to many social media sites.
http://www.picnik.com/

HotPress Web

May 4th, 2009

Great stuff here. Thanks for the well thought out post.

Claire Web

May 5th, 2009

I think one of the hardest things on photography is making a bad photo look good. It is easy to make an already amazing photo look so much better, but it is a challenge to create a great image out of a not so great image. The demonstrations above are some great examples of doing both. But actually adding old processing effects look cool as well. I am a web designer by day, and generally if i get the time i like my photography, especially the editing in photoshop :).

Jake

May 7th, 2009

Maybe if people learned to take decent images with their cameras they wouldn’t have to rely on lame Photoshop tutorials. The only decent one would be the tilt-shift effect, because spending $1500+ on a tilt-shift lens is a little silly for most people.

timekeeping software

May 14th, 2009

The soft focus effect makes me want to vomit.

arfan rashid

May 14th, 2009

great Job you done.

teuingsaha

May 15th, 2009

thanks 4 sharing

dinesh gour

May 15th, 2009

great work buddy!!!

Shubho

May 16th, 2009

Cross-processing & Tilt-shift rocks! Loved the rest of them as well. Very good collection of tutes! Thanks a bunch!

baloot

May 21st, 2009

hello, this is my first visit at ur blog. nice to noe u mate.
i would like to thanks to you for this helpful photoshop tutorial.
i will subscribe to ur blog rss feed. im newbie in photoshop.

cheers!

p/s: im from malaysia, did u noe where it is located? lol

e11world

May 21st, 2009

Nice list. I actually learned many tricks that will really help me in the project I’m working on currently (CD Album)

666

May 22nd, 2009

Meh. Some look better unaltered. Very amiture.

memoriesbygin

May 22nd, 2009

GREAT tips! I’ll be back to learn more!
Thanks

Ferhad

May 24th, 2009

Good tutorials. Thanks.

honour chick

May 28th, 2009

all excellent tutorials… very useful. thanks for posting another great blog entry ;)

t

May 30th, 2009

Really, really great tutorials. Thanks a lot!

frank irvine

June 5th, 2009

Gosh it’s amazing what can be achieved with the right knowledge&tools.
Nice reading!
Cheers.

Charles

June 8th, 2009

Cool tutorials! I have used many of these for a number of projects. Thanks! :P

riot

June 8th, 2009

just great! gets linked on my blog

jb

June 11th, 2009

Soft Focus Photography link no work :(

Pam

June 13th, 2009

Great collection – am excited to actually use some of these techniques!

Amanda

June 14th, 2009

Sometimes I am shocked by how snobby and rude photographers are. What is wrong with learning how to edit a picture to look the way we want?

I am in photography classes at the local college and have realized that even though I love to do it, I really have no talet for it, and need all the help I can get.

I for one thank you for these great techniques… although some are no longer available, you might want to update links… and would love to see more!

Thank you!

God bless-
Amanda

Melanie

June 15th, 2009

Awesome collection of tutorials. Definitely bookmarking this page!

Kalifbanane

June 16th, 2009

thanks for your effort to collect some tutorials.
but it really dont deserve the term “professional” at all. not a single one of the tutorials will be usefull in any professinal way. they are nice and entertaining tutorials to play around in photoshop and get warm with the program.

Tony Lee

June 17th, 2009

Awesome examples of using Photoshop features! As a guy with with limited imagination, this sparks some great ideas…

Thanks a bunch!

Fantasy Lover

June 25th, 2009

I like the Dusty Lights Stream Surreal kind of effect. :]

it is cool!

rian flynn

June 28th, 2009

Most of these look the same!

Bopfan

July 1st, 2009

reminds me of those cheesy screw-on filter attachments from back in the 70′s. There used to be an ad in the back of Modern Photography with numerous wacky ‘filters’ that would enhance your photograph. Prism effects, sepia, fog, cross stars etc. Gee now you can do it with Photoshop. The more things change the more they stay the same.

room8888

July 7th, 2009

Great & useful article. Thx.

Allen

August 5th, 2009

Great techniques. I am thinking of trying a few of these later.

TheJoe

August 8th, 2009

not all the tuturials work..

check em all!

M D

August 28th, 2009

I know a guy who adjusts his sliders a little here and there, and everyone thinks he’s an amazing photographer. Without Photoshop he’d be lost! Using lighting is a lost ‘technique’.

robb

September 5th, 2009

#2 lomo is the most posted tutorial i’ve ever seen.
fortunately, it’s a good one.

RaDe

September 11th, 2009

Really Cool selection )

Ashely Adams

September 17th, 2009

dusty light effect and vintage effect were real eye openers. had been doing these effects with much difficulty previously. your tutorial made it easy. Thanks!

Johnson Koh

September 21st, 2009

Pretty cool effects here. Love that hair color tutorial!

Fresh

October 11th, 2009

Amazing tutorials. Thanks so much! However, the Light Effects link doesn’t work :(

Anders

October 16th, 2009

Wow, great list of photography tutorials!

Frank

October 19th, 2009

Wow thanks – really amazing some of them. Bookmarked!

Vitero

October 25th, 2009

ye gods those are terrible! It’s like sending pictures through a sausage grinder

Chris Countey

November 5th, 2009

Getting some 404′s on some of the articles, but the ones that work are great! I’ve been using Photoshop for over 10 years, so it’s great to see new stuff still popping up. Great job.

Photoman

February 4th, 2010

Great links thanks, Just ignore those sour photographers. They are just mad that they spent so much money on equipment and you are being shown how to do it for free ;)

Genuine Youth

February 17th, 2010

Lots of opinionated and UNEDUCATED comments on this. I have used the “streams of dusty light” in many of the magazine ads I design for work. We get complements on them from our industry EVERY time. If used in the right context correctly, these effects can and will make a designed piece more interesting. It would be impossible to use a camera for what I need to create.

It’s not just about photography! I use some of these effects to create a background for a pre-made image we are required to use – not photographic enhancement. This completely illustrates how uncreative and ignorant people are. Think outside the box for once!!!

smith

March 19th, 2010

you did amazing work on image, thank you very much for your excellent step by step instruction, I have tried same effects on my project and got appreciated by client..God Bless..have a prosperous career.

MdAmor

April 23rd, 2010

I like how you did the hair color!

Sierra Bravo

May 2nd, 2010

Sorry, but many of the originals are better than the so-called “processed”…

sierra bravo

sir jorge

June 11th, 2010

not half bad

andrew

June 23rd, 2010

is there some here who i cana sk questions abou this cause there is only 1 thing to know and ik reallly can explain it thru this so have to show it any body interested in helping me plis let me know
email”[email removed]
tnx and gobless
btw tutorials are really cool i like that lighting effect

Ram

June 30th, 2010

best website about software and learning

adevv

July 18th, 2010

Awesome round up!!

AYRTON360

August 20th, 2010

THANKSSSSSS
i was looking all over for ONE particular effect and I just found it here :-)
i’m glad you posted
Thanks for sharing
cheers
AYRTON

John Caulfield

October 2nd, 2010

I especially like the vintage photo effect

DM

November 16th, 2010

I thought this was super helpful and would like to chime in on some of the hater comments.
There’s a difference nowadays between photography and digital imaging. We haven’t reached a point in our society where we’ve changed our vocab to reflect the difference, but it’s coming. If you’re a photography snob – great! Have fun in your darkroom and with your fancy equipment! More power to you! But don’t hate on those of us who choose to go digital. They’re different art forms, really, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
To 666: it’s spelled “amateur” and they’re just SAMPLES, people. Sheesh!
To timekeeping: sorry you want to vomit, but pretty much every female I know (self included) would love to see that effect applied to images of herself.
Anyway, thanks for posting these. I will USE them!

mark ompoy

January 6th, 2011

what a wonderful and amazing photoshop it is………………

Dennis

January 7th, 2011

Thanks for sharing this information. Kinda let’s me know where I am in digital photography and the where I can go.

boniver flores

January 12th, 2011

wow!perfect!good!very good!bravo!

riyas

January 24th, 2011

thank you bro..its help me a lot!!

Kourosh

April 17th, 2011

thank u so much ,waiting for more…

Nainy

April 20th, 2011

very nice!

Frank West

May 9th, 2011

Haven’t seen some useful articles for so long. Thanks a bunch !

jack-be-nimble

May 16th, 2011

u got to explain more and get more tut’s

Soffian

May 29th, 2011

Thanks for the guidelines :)

ben

June 20th, 2011

@woooow… you’re really up yourself huh? you must have all the money in the world and think everybody else is the same

@Brandon M. Sergent… exactly what i thought when i read his/her comment

Sathya

July 8th, 2011

really nice..

Sk.Hussain

July 9th, 2011

Excellent topics you covered in this article still i request you to write on how to control High contrast images and better workflow for image editing.
thanking you sir

Megha Gaur

July 27th, 2011

Is there is any way to remove snow from an old image. If you have any tutorial Please share it

Linda Deal

August 26th, 2011

To those who don’t appreciate what is here: “Go somewhere else!” To the author of this page: “Your work here is appreciated. Not everyone is a professional. Some of us are learning or just having fun with photos. We have to start somewhere. Maybe on down the road we can get better. Maybe not. In the meantime, it’s good to have someone who cares enough to point us in the right direction. Thank you for sharing.”

Walid Yousafzai

August 28th, 2011

Yes . thanks alot it was perfect ! i learned something .
good luck !

confused

September 1st, 2011

could u guide me about the exact editor used??

nirmal

September 17th, 2011

great collections!

Aye

October 9th, 2011

Thanks a lot for this !

Pankaj

November 2nd, 2011

Wow! I have been looking for this :)
Excellent work. Many many thanks :)

vishnu

December 13th, 2011

wil these techniques work on adobe photoshop CS5 extended edition?

Lau Burlon

December 21st, 2013

These effects are so cool, I like also using film emulation photoshop actions from EyesMeal studio, very accurated results

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