Photoshop Editing Hints: Adding Lighting Effects

An ordinary photo has extraordinary possibilities when you open it in Adobe Photoshop CS2. In this tutorial, I’ll tell you how you can make some dramatic changes in your next photo by adding one of the lighting effects that come standard with your copy of Photoshop.

To begin, select a photo that you would like to work with and then create a copy of that photo so you don’t risk destroying the original version.

Next, you’ll want to sharpen your photograph using the Unsharp Mask filter found under Filters in your menu options. Once your image is crisp and ready to go then it’s time to start looking at some options for lighting effects.

To locate the lighting effects, go to Filter, Render, Lighting Effects in your Photoshop menu. You will then see the lighting effects dialogue box which will give you some options for controlling the kind of lighting you want to add to your photograph.

When you first open your lighting effects dialogue, Photoshop will set the lighting as being “Default”. Other options are available by using the pull down to look through the list of pre-installed lighting settings. Options such as Triple Spotlight, Flood Light and Flashlight are among the many options that are available. Click through each of these options to see the preview effect that it will have on your image. For the photo in my example, I selected the Flashlight option.

Once you’ve selected the type of lighting option you would like to use, you have the option of relocating the center point of the lighting effect, as well as the diameter of the effect by clicking and repositioning the points within the lighting effects preview box. Take a few minutes to play with these settings to get your lighting where you want it in order to make the greatest impact on your photo.

Some other adjustments that are in the lighting effects dialogue include an intensity slider which lets you control how weak or how strong the lighting effect is, and a focus slider which allows you to control how narrow or wide of a lighting effect is added. There are also sliders which can help you control the Gloss, Material, Exposure, and Ambience of the image. Adjust these sliders freely to see the many varieties of effects that can be created with just a simple click.

Once you’re satisfied with your lighting effects settings click on okay to apply those settings to your image. If you aren’t satisfied with your results, simply go to Edit, Step Backward, or use your History pallet to undo your effect and start over again.

In my example image, I went a few steps further after adding the lighting effect and desaturated the image by going to Image, Adjustments, Desaturate. I then applied one of the Underwater Photo Filter that is found under Image, Adjustments, Photo Filters.

By including lighting effects in your photo editing projects you can give your photos the punch they need to really stand out!