Earlier this year, I started a project with Jill Samter called Good to Wow (or Shoot and Edit). Every Monday morning, Jill posts a SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot and tutorial. Every Thursday morning, I will have my SOOC shot fully edited with a tutorial for you to follow.
I’m going to keep it pretty simple at first so we can build on the learning each week. Although I tend to work within Adobe CS5 (Photoshop), Photoshop Elements and Adobe Camera Raw…it does not mean that you have to use the exact same program. I hope you’ll be able to take the concepts and apply them in the program you feel most comfortable using. Click HERE for all the details and upcoming prompts/themes.
- Created a custom white balance by selecting the white of the snow with the eye dropper. I then tweaked it by eye.
- Bumped up the exposure just a touch.
- Pulled the recovery slider up.
- Dropped my blacks a bit.
- Increased my brightness.
- Increased my contrast.
- Decreased my saturation.
The auto edit actually reminds me of a conversation I had with one of my coworkers. He was of the impression that professional photographers have it made. In so many words, he claimed that all photographers require is a camera. He then claimed that very little editing is done because “photographers just have some sort of auto program that they send photos through.” I suppose I could have jumped on my soup box, but I didn’t bother. Had I simply put my photo through an auto edit, it would have been a waste. Anyways, enough of my rambling.
Beyond my edit in Adobe Camera Raw, I brought my photo over to Adobe CS5 (also known as Photoshop). Most of my steps can also be performed in Photoshop Elements. Here are my steps:
- Created a duplicate of my background. I applied a high pass filter (found under FILTER at the top of the screen). I then applied a soft light blending mode to the layer. This is my #1 favorite trick to make the details of your image pop. You can lower the opacity if needed and/or use a layer mask to erase part of the effect (I’ll touch on layer masks another week).
- Created a new adjustment layer – LEVELS. I pulled the left side (shadows) of the graph to a 5 – this makes my blacks just a tad bit darker. I normally pull the middle bar (midtones) up to a 1.38 to brighten up an image, but that was not necessary here.
- Created a new adjustment layer – COLOR BALANCE (this adjustment layer is not available in Photoshop Elements, but you can do something very similar by adjusting your Saturation). You can see my adjustments below:
- Created an adjustment layer: BLACK AND WHITE (in Photoshop Elements, you’ll want to use a background copy then go to Enhance>Convert to Black and White). I used an infared preset and then lowered the opacity to 12%.
- Created an adjustment layer: BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST. My brightness went to -1 and contrast increased to +8.
- Finally, I applied Totally Rad’s Lux action at 70%. For a similar effect…you can create a new fill layer – fill it with a shade of cream or light pink, set the blending mode to screen and lower the opacity.