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How to Use Overlays in Photoshop

How to Use Overlays in Photoshop

If you’re looking the answer to the question “how to use overlays in Photoshop for the first time”, read this article and find out the way of adding watercolor Photoshop overlay to your photographs naturally and fast. This easy Photoshop tutorial will help any photo retoucher create artistic photo effects using overlays in Photoshop.

Photoshop Overlays for Photographers

What are Photoshop Overlays?

Photoshop overlays in digital photo editing are used to define photos and photo textures (fog, leaves, feather, petals, snow, rain, sun flares, etc.), which are added to the photograph as an extra layer in JPEG or PNG format.


 

Early if the photographers needed to add some extra texture to the photo, they had to spend lots of time, doing it. They simply created effects with the help of overexposure, scratching negatives, using emery paper and even staining the photo paper.

Nowadays everybody can drag the Photoshop overlays, drop them onto a picture and adjust them by means of blending modes and opacity to achieve different effects. Regardless of your photoshopping portraits purposes and photographic style, you will certainly find the photo overlay templates to your liking, whether you need flowers, Bokeh lights, snow, sunset sky overlays, and even facial hair.

How Overlays Affect Your Images?

Photoshop actions and overlays will change your photos, enhancing the monotonous picture or even improving it dramatically with the help of layers and textures. Whether you want to add a beautiful effect of fog, sun rays or falling snow, you will find the Photoshop overlay for almost all pictures.

How to Get Started?

Learning how to use overlays in Photoshop it is not necessary to design your own texture in order to start the workflow. Actually, you can find a lot of ready and free Photoshop overlays and textures online. It's recommended to choose the textures with an appropriate resolution. You should understand that a 200px/72dpi texture wouldn’t be suitable for 3200 px/300dpi pictures.

How to Use Overlays in Photoshop Tutorial

 
photoshop overlays tutorialphotoshop overlays tutorial
 

STEP 1. Select the photo you want to edit with the help of Photoshop overlays. It is advisable to choose a portrait or the picture where there is a lot of space to show the effect. In such a way the picture will be more beautiful.

how to use overlays in photoshop elements

STEP 2. Open the picture you want to apply the overlay to. Upload and save the image of the watercolor to your computer. Note: Choose the overlay you like, if it doesn’t fit in the color scheme, you can improve it through the Hue/Saturation tool and change its color tone.

how to use overlays in photoshop cc

STEP 3. Place the texture on the layer by simply dragging it onto the desired photo.

how to use overlays in photoshop elements

STEP 4. Select the Hard Light blending mode.

how to use overlays in photoshop elements

STEP 5. Add a mask, choose a soft black brush, set the Flow value to 15% so that it does not remove the texture too much. After that lightly draw the area where you want the texture to have less intensity, for example, face and hands.

how to use overlays in photoshop elements

STEP 6. If you want to return the area, then switch the brush to white color, this will allow you to return the part of the overlay that you removed.

how to use overlays in photoshop cc

STEP 7. If you need to lighten some element, you can create an adjustment layer and make a curve as shown in the screenshot, add a mask, invert it (turn black) and then with the help of a white soft brush paint through those places where you need to lighten the photo. You can do it with dimming.

how to use overlays in photoshop

Overlay Photoshop Additional Adjustments

Installing Photoshop Overlays

Overlays are image files that you use when you edit photos by adding the necessary effects to the original picture. These can be magic wings, bubbles or a beautiful sky. As any Photoshop overlays are separate image files, they are not installed in the program. You should download different variants and save them in the place where they can be easily found.

Finding and Relocating Your Overlays

One of the first steps in the tutorial on how to use overlays in Photoshop CC is about downloading and storing them in the right place. Has it ever happened that you downloaded the sets of overlays you like but you don’t know where the download folder is? As a rule, it can be found in the Recent Downloads folder. If the file with overlays is archived, you need to unzip it. After that, make a right click on the folder and choose “Copy” or “Move”. Then transfer your new overlays to the place where you will easily find them in the future.

Additional Overlay Settings

The layer opacity can be set for the further refining your overlay application. If there are some parts which you don’t want to show through by applying the Layer Mask, you can clean up or erase them. Then make sure that you have chosen the Layer Mask. The next step is to select the Paintbrush in the Toolbar and turn the foreground black. Paint over all the places, which you want to be cleaned up. Now, you know how to use overlays in Photoshop and you are ready to improve your photos!

In order to create an incredible photo, there is no need to learn how to apply overlays or replace the background. Address the background retouching services as FixThePhoto team and get professional results from $5 per photo.

10 Best Photoshop Overlays

Autumn Leaves Photoshop Overlays

 
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Autumn is a great time for photo sessions. However, you cannot always capture the beautiful falling leaves in your photos. Don’t be upset! I suggest taking the incredible bundle of floating leaves overlays prepared by FixThePhoto service. Learn how to use leaf overlays in Photoshop, get this collection and you will be able to add this stunning effect to your fall pictures. This set of overlays is suitable for various types of images such as landscape photos or portraits.

White Feathers Photoshop Overlays

 
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Your pictures will acquire an incredible atmosphere of lightness and magic if you use the feather overlays for PS while performing photo editing. This set has a huge variety of tones to add to your images. You will be able to make your photographs tender and romantic, dreamy and fairy after you understand how to use overlays in Photoshop. Moreover, a feather background brings some kind of an expressive depth to the pictures. This collection of overlays can be used for children, wedding photo shoots or for a romantic shooting of a couple. It will help you capture the genuine emotions and feelings of the couple, convey their happiness and joy, display the development of their relationship. Don’t apply this collection to the photos with a white backdrop but it will be useful for you to find out how to use overlays in Photoshop if background is black.

Rose Petals Photoshop Overlays

 
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Flowers are always associated with love and romance so many photographers use them while shooting to achieve the desired effect. If you do not have the opportunity to use real flowers, find out how to use overlays in Photoshop elements and apply this option to get incredible photos. By adding falling rose petals to the photographs, you will preserve focus on your subject and other details of the image will not lose their significance. Use this overlay to improve wedding pictures, at the photo sessions for St. Valentine's Day, and while photo processing the couples’ shots. These amazing overlays will give your photos warmth and tenderness; make them a wonderful reminder of happy minutes.

Sun Flare Photoshop Overlays

 
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Do you know how to use overlays in Photoshop and make your photos a true masterpiece of digital art? If yes, choose these sun flare overlays to create breathtaking images. Golden sunshine will look great on photos of various types and will certainly help to meet the needs of your customers.

Snowy Day Photoshop Overlays

 
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Photo shooting on white snow is quite a challenge for any photographer as the white reflective surface causes a lot of worries. How to take photos on a snowy background and what to do if you have planned a photo session but there is no snow outside? Get these Photoshop overlays for photographers and add snowflakes to your images in just a few clicks. They are perfect for Christmas pictures and family photoshoot. Remember, to get the perfect winter view you need to perform additional actions with layers: transform, modify and duplicate the snow layers until you get the desired result.

Rain Day Photoshop Overlays

 
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Shooting in the rain is not the most pleasant thing. In addition, you can never be sure of the result: whether you get the right drops, slanting streams of rain or unsuccessful sprays. However, you can always improve the look of pictures by adding the effect of rain by applying one of the photo overlays Photoshop. You can choose several options ranging from a small drizzle to real downpour. My advice on how to use overlays in Photoshop: rainy effects do not suit all types of photos, so you need to be careful with portraits.

Soap Bubbles Photoshop Overlays

 
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Would you like to add some fun to your pictures? Do you need images with light and air bubbles but are you afraid of their disorder and chaos? These overlays will be a great addition to your portrait photos. You can also apply various options of bubble overlays for wedding, animal, birthday, and children pictures. Find out more information on how to use actions and overlays in Photoshop and in just a few clicks you will get wonderful photos. Note: the photos with a soft monochrome background will be most suitable for such overlays. The effect of the bubble overlays is incredible. They can add much deeper meaning to your images thanks to their symbolism.

Butterflies Photoshop Overlays

 
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Many customers want to get fabulous photos with a butterfly or even with a whole group of these beautiful insects. But realizing these requests in real life is not so simple. The photo may be spoiled by the blurry look of the butterfly, or the insect will be in the wrong place in the picture. However, all these problems can be solved if you learn how to use overlays in Photoshop. Applying a set of butterfly overlays to your photos you will achieve the desired goal in a few seconds. This bundle can be the perfect solution for cute baby photos and romantic wedding albums. Get more useful tips on how to add butterflies to the original images and apply diverse Photoshop overlays.

Foggy Day Photoshop Overlays

 
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Do you want to fill your photos with a secret and mysterious atmosphere? You need fog, but you just cannot wait for the appropriate weather to shoot? Download a set of hazy Adobe Photoshop overlays and add a bit of drama to your images. Just a few simple steps and with the help of this filter you can not only make a photo mysterious but also hide some small imperfections of the background. You can use fog overlays with different shape and style settings with almost any type of the photo. Learn more about these misty filters as well as how to use firework overlays in Photoshop CC. Note: add a fog effect to your photos of animals or nature if you think that they look uninteresting and unattractive. After the image editing, using these overlays, the pictures will be similar to those that you saw at National Geographic. If you want to get amazing invitations or cards for Halloween, this set is perfect for your needs.

Smoke Effect Photoshop Overlays

 
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These smoky overlays will help you achieve a great variety of results: from dreamy and romantic photos to gloomy and dark images. Created with the help if the natural smoke, these filters will provide you with a realistic effect. They are suitable for both color and Black&White photographs. Make sure you understand how to use overlays in Photoshop and start using this wonderful effect.

Appling overlays while photo retouching allows you not only to speed up the work pace but also to get incredible images. Thanks to self-created, as well as downloaded paid and free Photoshop overlays, you can add elements to your photographs that are very difficult to get by real shooting.


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Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.

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