Have you been wondering, “These are nice tricks, but what do I do with them?” Here is one example of combining the skills you have been learning.

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I took this unremarkable photograph of an alligator and decided to make it the basis of a website header background. Now, I know headers are more involved than this, but they all begin with an image.

The first trick from our arsenal was the crop ratio. I wanted a header 80px. high and 800px. wide. I set the 10 to 1 ratio as we did with the “Path Not Taken” photograph. (Shown smaller here to fit the blog.)

I then changed it to a duotone. The picture is taking shape, but looks a little dark.

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The next trick, of course, was to lighten the photograph. This could be done either by using curves or our trick for underexposed photos. The results using 45% opacity when blending the duplicate layer was almost identical to using the curves adjustment.

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Finally, the healing brush was used to clean up debris in the water.

Webmasters will tell you the image still needs to be made scalable to adjust to different viewing widths, but that’s another trick for another day.