“Can you supply images to illustrate this story? Do you know Photoshop?”
If you’re a freelance writer, you’ve likely heard this question in response to a pitch. Having an eye-catching lead image to share on social media is vital for increasing engagement and, as website design advances, even simple articles are often placed in sophisticated, image-heavy layouts that mimic print magazines. But as budgets get tighter, few outlets are able to hire photographers. And stock photos often lack authenticity and diversity, or just aren’t available for certain topics.
This means that freelancers who can provide high-quality images to illustrate their work have a leg up on the competition. Mobile phones are great for taking high-quality images, but not so hot when it comes to editing them (the Clarendon filter might get you the most Instagram likes, but it’s not going to impress an editor). If you want to send photos that are as fine-tuned as your pitch, basic photo editing skills are obligatory. Few programs do more to tweak a photo from so-so to header-image quality than Adobe Photoshop, and it’s easy to learn a few small tips and tricks to make your images pop.
Here are three of the most useful Photoshop functions and why you need to know them:
1. Color correction
Ever taken a photo of a mouthwatering plate of food, only to find that your camera’s lens had somehow rendered it as bland and drab? Or have you discovered that the sky in an outdoor shot isn’t as blue as it is in your memory? In Photoshop, use the eyedropper tool to adjust the white balance and give your photos crisp contrast. Or amp up the saturation and vibrance to make a landscape really pop.
Framing is everything. But what if you didn’t get that snap set up quite right? With Photoshop, you can make sure your subject is central, adjust your photo to comply with the rule of thirds, or otherwise adjust your image to draw the viewer’s eye to just the right spot with the cropping tool.
Are ugly power lines marring that blue sky? Use the clone tool or content-aware fill to remove them. Or smooth out facial discolorations or distracting blemishes to make your portrait subjects as radiant as they deserve to be.
4. Adjust file size, resolution and type
Your editor will love you even more if you deliver your photos in the exact format they need. In Photoshop, you can easily resize images to their preferred dimensions, adjust the resolution (it will be far higher for print images than for those being used online), and the type of file (JPEG, GIF, PNG, etc.).
Learn From Fiverr offers several different options for those who want to learn these techniques and more. Choose from Adobe Photoshop Fundamentals, Adobe Photoshop Mastery, and Photo Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. Once you’ve established your Photoshop chops, sending an image or two along with the magic phrase “Yes! I’d love to supply images to illustrate this story” just might put you at the top of your editor’s favorites list – and is sure to help you build your freelance career.
And, of course, pocketing a little bit extra for those images is also another way to maximize the earning potential of your Gigs.
Have you been asked for photos to illustrate your pitches? Have you successfully sold photos alongside a pitch? What is your favorite Photoshop trick? Tell us in the comments!