Gradients and filters can be used for many things in Photoshop, but my personal favorite is to use them on photos. This tutorial will teach you some basic techniques to use when applying gradients and filters to a photo or image.

As always experimentation is key, so feel free to try different colors and filter settings when trying this on your own work.

Step 1: Find an image that you would like to use. I found this photo on Stock.xchng. (Unfortunately I lost the link, if someone finds it please feel free to post it under comments)

Step 2: Create a new layer. Choose the gradient tool and set your foreground color to #FFFFFF and your background color to #D59832, and then create a gradient across the whole image as shown below.

Step 3: Set the layer style to color burn

Step 4: Create a new layer again, but this time fill it with #D59832 using the paint bucket tool. Set this layer to color burn as well.

Step 5: Copy your original photo layer and move it above all of the other layers that we have created so far. Set the layer mode to color.

Step 6: We are now going to adjust the brightness and contrast of the image. To do this go to Image>>Adjustments>>Brightness/Contrast. For this photo I decided to go +33 on the brightness and +39 on the contrast but this will vary depending on the image itself. The best way to do this is to simply experiment. Make sure you have the preview box checked so that you can see your changes as they are made.

Step 7: Select all by pressing “Ctrl+A” and then press “Shift+Ctrl+C“. This will copy merged which means that everything that you see will be copied together and not in separate layers. Now paste it on the top of all of the layers.

Now go to Filter>>Blur>>Gaussian Blur and use a radius of about 0.6 (Again this will depend on your image, you want the image to look slightly blurry).

Set the layer mode to Overlay. This enhances the colors of the image and leaves us with a photo that looks amazing. But we need to still work on the sky.

Step 8: To give the sky some life I selected the brush tool and set the Hardness to 0. Then use #56a4da (or any other “sky” color) and painted over the sky. Then set the layer mode to Overlay.

We are done :): Quite a huge difference!!