Alibony Lessons for Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Digital Photography

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5 Quick Design Tips to Improve Your Photos

Web Graphics

June 14, 2008

Even your most ordinary photo can become a winner with these five design tips. And when you're finished, consider making custom photo books with your best photographs to share them with others.

Tip 1: Crop It

Crop your image to remove unwanted objects or wasted space, placing the focus where you want it to be.

Crop away wasted space

When cropping an image, use the rule of thirds to place important objects on the canvas. Imagine a grid laid out on top of your image, dividing your photo in thirds horizontally and vertically. Position important objects at the intersections of the lines. Avoid placing your subject dead center.

Before After
Before cropping Crop with rule of thirds applied

Tip 2: Turn It

Sometimes all it takes is an unexpected perspective to add some energy and movement to a flat photo. Turn your photo at an angle, then crop it. Diagonal lines add movement to the photo.

Before After
Before transformation After transformation

Tip 3: Extend It

Add extra canvas to a photo, then add text and other embellishments.

Extending the canvas

Tip 4: Find the Focus

Find the most important part of your photo and de-emphasize the rest. Blurring a busy background helps keep the focus where it belongs.

Before After
Before background blur After background blur

Convert a color photo to black and white, then recover some color to provide a trendy focus.

Before After
Before black-and-white After black and white

Tip 5: Filter It

Turn your ordinary photo into an arresting work of art by experimenting with filters and blend modes.

Vintage Postcard Poster Edges
Vintage postcard effect Posterize effect



Related articles

Basic Design Principle: Rule of Thirds
Photoshop Elements: Crop an Image
Photoshop Elements: Change Canvas Size (Video Lesson)
Photoshop Elements: Blur the Background (Video Lesson)
Photoshop Elements: Convert to Black and White with Selected Color
Photoshop Elements: Photochrom Vintage Postcard
Photoshop Elements: Poster Effect With Two Filters

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Updated on July 31, 2013