When you are in a professional production environment you learn how to move fast so you can deal with clients who change their minds every other minute. One of the skills that saved my butt over and over was learning how to make my Photoshop documents non-destructible. What I mean is, at any point in time I can go back to the original and re-edit if needed. Here’s how to be sure you will virtually always be able to trace your steps back and make changes.
IMPORTANT: NEVER WORK DIRECTLY ON THE ORIGINAL LAYER!
Evoke the magic of the healing brush and clone brush.
Each new version of Photoshop has made it easier and easier to work in a non-destructible environment. With the release of Photoshop CS it became possible to use the healing brush on a new layer instead of on the original photo. Why is that important? If you need to change anything that you’ve ‘healed,’ all you have to do is erase the portion on the healing layer that you changed and simply start over. Your original document is still completely intact. How do you do this?
Non-destructible light and color shifts
One habit you should get into as soon as possible is to start using Adjustment Layers. This is one of the most powerful functions built into Photoshop. On a typical photo project I may have half a dozen Adjustment Layers stacked over each other for one reason or another. Adjustment Layers give you the ability to ‘float’ light over your photo and manipulate it with pinpoint precision. This is great for photos that have someone with too much light on their face on a background that is just right. You can simply add an adjustment layer of levels or curves over the photo, adjust the face to match the background lighting, then mask off everything but the face (I will add an article on masking soon), and voila! You have a perfect photo. If you want to change the light on the face, just double click the adjustment layer and you have full control of the light again. If you decide not to use it, you can simply turn off the layer or delete it and you are back to your original. Try this with hue/saturation to change the color of parts of your photos easily. Here are the steps: