How to Enhance Image Quality - Do It Like a Pro in PhotoWorks

Have a large collection of photos that need some touching up? Cannot use a favorite image as an avatar because it is too dim or blurred? Now you do not have to possess professional skills to effectively edit your pictures and improve their quality. Get started with PhotoWorks software and see for yourself that adjusting the color scheme or applying stylish effects is easier than you thought. Read this tutorial till the end and you will learn how to enhance a photo and discover lots of secret techniques.

Photo before and after

Step 1. Improve Image Quality

Let’s get the hang of PhotoWorks and improve this photo of a young woman. Its biggest problem is poor lighting that ruins the tone. Move the Exposure slider to the right to make the image lighter or to the left to darken it. You can also lighten or darken particular areas using Highlights and Shadows. In this case we set Exposure at 30, then move the Shadows and Blacks sliders to -40 and -21, respectively. The white balance of the photo is also affected by bad lighting. Let’s put the Temp slider to 44 and the tones will become much warmer.

How to enhance an image

Adjusting the exposure of the photo

Step 2. Adjust the Color Balance

Switch to the Colors tab to play with the hue, saturation and luminance of certain objects in your photo. Here we have decided to make the roof in the background dimmer and less distracting. Click Saturation and move the Magentas slider to -100 so the roof becomes less prominent. Use Tone Mapping to adjust the color balance and shed more light upon the photo. Choose a suitable tinge of yellow and set Amount at 13. With the Overlay blend mode, we will achieve the best effect.

Adjust color balance

Play with the color balance and change the atmosphere of your photo

Step 3. Increase Sharpness

The photo looks too blurred and obscure, does not it? The easiest way to enhance image quality is to increase its sharpness so all the small elements will be better seen. For a start, let’s zoom in the photo we are working with to control all the changes. Next switch to the Sharpness tab and set the Amount slider at 95. If needed, play with the Radius and Threshold settings to make the effect more natural.

Increase sharpness

Sharpen the photo to highlight small details

Step 4. Crop the Photo

How to make a great portrait photo out of an unimpressive shot? The secret is to improve its composition. Click Composition in the upper toolbar of the program window and choose the Crop tool. The program will offer seven aspect ratios to choose from, like free, fixed, 1:1 square, 16:9 HD, 3:2 iPhone, etc. Set your preferred grid overlay to better crop the image and not to cut any of its vital parts. In this case we chose the Rule of Thirds and placed the woman in the photo at the intersection of the lines to create a better composition.

Crop tool

Put the best parts into focus with the Crop tool

Step 5. Apply the Vignette Effect

Highlight the person in the center of the portrait photo by applying a vignette effect. Rounded darkening or lightening will help to guide the viewer’s attention to the woman in the photo. Move to the Composition tab and click Vignetting. In order to darken the image edges, let’s set the Amount slider at -70. The Roundness and Feather settings will help you control the form of the vignette and soften or harden its edges.

Apply the vignette effect

Applying the Vignette effect for a more stylish look

Step 6. Retouch Your Image

If you look closer at the woman in the picture, you will see the skin is baggy below her eyes. However, you can easily conceal this imperfection by using the Adjustment Brush in the Retouch tab. View the photo at 200% scale and set the size of the Adjustment Brush at 3 to fix only the desired area. Lay brush strokes over the bags moving from the nose bridge to the ears. Now drag the Exposure slider to 5 to lighten the shadows under the eyes. Apply the result to save the changes.

Photo retouching tool

Step 7. Remove Unwanted Objects

The last step you should take to fix image quality is to get rid of undesired elements that look out of place. For example, the grass blade in the foreground is quite distracting. Use one more photo retouching tool, the Clone Stamp, to delete it. Make the brush a little bit bigger than the grass blade and move the tool along the undesired element. The chosen area will be automatically replaced with the skin color. Set the Clone Stamp at 52 and conceal the grey rooftop, so it will not steal attention away from the woman. Now it is well hidden in the neighboring trees.

Use the Clone stamp

Step 8. Add a Text Caption

It is common for photographers to sign their works and you can easily do the same! Move to the Captions tab and click Add Text. Type in your name and position it in the image. There is a vast collection of ready-made text styles to choose from, including gothic, funny, calligraphic and graffiti. In Additional settings you can also pick the font you like. Here we have chosen Gabriola since its letters look quite stylish and are big enough to see in the image corner.

Add text captions

Add a personal signature to mark your photo work

Perfect! The photo looks as if it was retouched by a professional. Now you know how to enhance a picture in PhotoWorks software, and it is high time to look through your photo collection and edit imperfect shots. Cannot wait to start? Download the free trial today and make awesome pictures out of common images in a matter of minutes!


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