Basic Photoshop

Toning Photos

Pulse of 209 prescribes to the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics for shooting and publishing of photographs.

That means students in this course CAN’T manipulate photos beyond, essentially, what is traditionally done in the dark room. We strive for accuracy and actual representation in the images we publish, specifically maintaining “the integrity of the photographer moment.”

We absolutely, under no circumstances:

  • Remove elements from a photograph
  • Add elements
  • Flip frames to better fit a page
  • Clone or blur parts of images to make them “look better”
  • Make an image unrecognizable from its original version

It’s your job to make your subjects look real, not better. Remember that.

Step 1: Import photo from the memory card

On a 27-inch iMac or newer 21-inch iMac, insert the memory card from the camera into the SD card slot in the back. The card will appear on the desktop. Navigate to find the images and move them to your folder within “MCOM 10.”

Your folder will be in the current semester folder.

Example: MCOM 10>Spring 2017>YOUR NAME FOLDER

Step 2: Open the photo in Photoshop

This can be accomplished two ways:

  • Drag the photo from the folder onto the Photoshop icon
  • Right click for “Open with … Adobe Photoshop CC 15”

Step 3: Examine the image


Let’s say this is your base image. It is functionally good. The lighting is good. But let’s say you are worried that Sen. Bernie Sanders will be too light on the page and you want him to stand out more. You’ll need to tone the image.

Step 4: Toning

The shortcut most page designers take is to “Auto Tone” an image. That can be accomplished in one click.


In this case, choosing to Auto Tone wouldn’t do much for the image. This is a result of using the Auto Tone filter:


Here’s a side by side comparison:


Auto Tone doesn’t do much for this photo. Instead, you may need to use a more advance filter for this image.

Step 5: Advanced Adjustments

Photoshop offers an array of advanced Adjustments that help photographers tone their images.



Levels and Curves are the Adjustments that deal with. You may pull up the Histograms with each of the Adjustment types.

This is a way to play around with the Tone to make the photo either lighter or darker, depending on preference.

To read more about Levels, view the Photoshop tutorial here. To read more about Curves, view the Photoshop tutorial here.

NOTE: If a photo is too dark to begin with, there is often very little that can be done to “save it.” There are some photos that just can’t be used, no matter what happens in post-production. Consider this: The best way to “zoom in” is often to take a few steps forward. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t take bad photos and expect good reproduction.

Reducing size single image

  1. Image>Image Size
  2. You will ALWAYS edit for web for pictures to upload to
  3. For web, we reduce to 72 DPI
  4. Always File>Save As
  5. Title it “photonameWEB”
  6. Make sure you don’t save over your original images, doing so will destroy your archive if you ever need it.


Using the pen tool to cutout an item

  1. First, in the layers panel, do a right click and “Duplicate Layer.” Then delete the original locked layer.
  2. Use Zoom In to get closer to the object for more precision control
  3. Select the “Pen”
  4. Start making a path around the object using “Anchor Points”
  5. If you mess up, select Command + Z
  6. If you’ve messed up quite a bit, navigate to “Window>History” and you can delete the points one by one
  7. Put points around the entire cutout area, making sure you go back to the original point
  8. Once you have the image outlined and the first Anchor Point connects to the last, load the “Paths” palatte by navigating to “Window>Paths”
  9. You’ll see the layer where your path is
  10. Right click for “Make Selection”
  11. You’ll be asked if you want to feather the image. Normally the answer is no, but you can do so to make it look a little “soft” if you like
  12. Now that layer will be activate, you can even move it around
  13. In the “Paths” window, you can click the icon that looks like a square with an empty hole and it will invert the path, giving you your cut out
  14. You want to save this TWICE. The first time will be as a “PSD” so we can come back and edit it later. Save it to the “Photos folder” for that issue. Then come back and save it as a “PNG.” A PNG allows for a clear background.

Processing images for a gallery

  1. Collect all images together for a gallery inside a folder
  2. Navigate to File>Scripts>Image Processor
  3. In Step 1, navigate to the folder where your images are (Should be in that issue’s folder for photos)
  4. In Step 2, keep the button for “Save In Same Location” selected
  5. In Step 3, select “Save as JPEG” with quality of 8 and “Resize to Fit” with the dimensions of 600 px by 600 px
  6. That WILL NOT make the image square, instead it sets parameters to the max width and height of the image
  7. Click “Run”
  8. The images will process in the background of Photoshop
  9. Once complete, a new “JPEG” folder will be in the original folder
  10. Those are your images for the photo gallery