Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

Thanks to today’s technology, anyone can produce great photos. All you need is a digital camera, a bit of luck to be in the right place at the right time, and press the button. Add a few Photoshop retouches  to that, and you’ll get a gorgeous picture.

Here we explain a very simple Photoshop trick to make your photos stand out, with three possible variants. They’re all easy to apply and don’t require an extensive Photoshop knowledge, so why don’t you give them a try?

1. Open the image you want to work with. In this tutorial I’ll be using this royalty-free image from stock.xchng. Grab the Marquee tool (M) and select the area you want to highlight.

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

2. Go to Select > Transform selection and the selected area will become a square you can resize and move freely on the screen. Put the mouse near a corner and when you see the pointer turns into a double arrow, move the mouse to tilt the selection a bit. When you’re done, release the mouse button and hit Enter.

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

3. Now press Ctrl+J and the selected area will automatically be copied to a new layer. Make sure this new layer is active, click the layer style button and select Stroke.

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

4. Tweak the Stroke settings as follows: increase its size (I’m using 10 pixels), set Position to “Inside” and change the default red to a more suitable color.

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

5. Without closing this window yet, tick the Drop Shadow effect and change its settings as well. You can use the same values as the ones I’ve selected or come up with a better configuration for your image.

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

6. Press OK in the Layer Style window. We’ve managed to make a special area in our image stand out, and we could already save this picture as finished. But now there are three additional ways to make it even more eye-catching.

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

7. The first one consists on changing the background’s luminosity. Click on the Background layer to make it the active one, and press Ctrl+L to bring up the Levels dialog window. Now you can either move the black arrow or the white arrow towards the center of the bar, depending on whether you want to make the background lighter or darker.

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

8. The second option is to use a blurring effect. Go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur an apply the effect with Amount set to 35 and Blur Method to “Zoom”.

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

9. Finally, the third possibility is simply turning the background to black and white, so that the selected image really stands out. Make sure the Background layer is active, and then go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. Voilà!

Photoshop tutorial: Make your photo stand out

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