Photoshop Tricks for Dramatic School Yearbook Photos

Yearbook Photoshop Tips

We all wish that we can take the best photographs with every click and that we are photogenic in every shot but reality is not so. Fortunately, Photoshop came along to the rescue so that our school yearbook photos appear polished, professional and perfect. There’s no denying that your work transforms from near-mediocre to near-magnificent with a few clicks.


Here are three Photoshop tricks that you can use to make your high school yearbook photos look smashing.


First, use the graphics editing program to add dramatic lighting to the photos. This is usually best on photos that are too bright or too dark – or just simply requiring lighting effect not possible with your digital camera.

  • Ensure that the image is in the RGB mode and that all the basic tonal adjustments have been made; this is for both colored and black-and-white photos.
  • Duplicate the background layer.
  • Go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects to match the image with the light source.
  • Experiment with the angle and style until the desired effect is achieved.
  • Set the background copy to Overlay with 75% opacity.


Your school yearbook photos will look better for these steps. Think of the effect of adding backlighting to otherwise dull photos.


Second, use the Curves feature to lighten or darken an image. Using Curves active:

  • Using the pencil, click on the spot where the adjustment on the image will be made. The spot will show up on the diagonal line.
  • Go back to the image, click on the mid-tones and anchor the point to the diagonal line.
  • Move the selected spots on the resulting diagonal line to lighten or darken the anchor points.
  • Click OK.

You can go back and forth from the image to the Curves box in order to get the right tone. The Curves feature is not limited to manipulating tonal changes in photos depicting subjects. You can use it for logos and graphics, too, such as amplifying the sheen on lightning bolts. The selections, masks and gradient options are a range of values that can be manipulated until the perfect look for the school yearbook photos is achieved.


Third, use the Levels to correct poor exposure of the photos. You must first ensure that the selected photo is of the correct size and resolution before doing the following steps:

  • Open Levels > Channels > Red
  • Move the left (shadow) and right (highlight) triangles to the point where the histogram starts to ascend
  • Repeat on the Green and Blue channels

As with all things related to the school yearbook photos, you must be willing to experiment with the options provided by Photoshop. These features are there for a reason – use these to your advantage.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *