Duplicate your image’s layer and head to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation. Before making any adjustments, tick the Colorize box. Set the Hue slider to 40 and Saturation to 30. Hit OK to apply the lith tone.
Duplicate the top layer and go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Select the Uniform box, tick Monochromatic and set the Amount slider to 30%. Hit OK. Reduce this layer’s opacity to 30% to soften the texture. Apply the Gaussian Blur filter, with Radius of 1.5, to soften even more.
Click Create a New Layer button. Go to Edit>Fill and set to black. Using the Elliptical Marquee tool, draw an oval selection over your image and hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I to invert. Apply a layer mask, and set layer’s blend mode to Soft Light. Use a black, soft brush to remove the inner edge to create a vignette.
“RAW rules!” is one of the daily chants at my workshops. That’s because I encourage all my workshop participants to always shoot RAW files since you can do more—and rescue more detail in highlight and shadow areas—with RAW files compared to JPEG files. For my professional processing work, I use Photoshop CS5. In my workshops, however, I also use and teach Photoshop Elements because it’s a very powerful digital image-editing program—powerful enough for most photo enthusiasts.
In this column, I’ll take you through some basic RAW settings in Adobe Camera Raw for Photoshop Elements 9, the latest version of Elements as of this writing. After that, I’ll share with you a couple of tips for working and playing in Photoshop Elements 9. The opening image for this column started out as a RAW file. I first processed it in Adobe Camera Raw and then moved it into Photoshop Elements 9. Let’s go!
1 Here’s my original image. It’s a bit dark and flat, has a few dust spots and is off-kilter.
2 In the Adobe Camera Raw Basic window, you virtually have all the adjustments you need to adjust, enhance and fix your image. My favorite controls are Recovery, which lets you recover overexposed highlights (up to about a stop), Fill Light, which lets you open up shadows, Clarity, which makes your picture look clearer, and Vibrance, which saturates only the colors that aren’t already saturated. In this screenshot, I haven’t made any adjustments yet.
3 Here’s a screenshot that shows my adjustments. Compare the settings to the settings in the previous image. You’ll also see that in this screenshot I highlighted the Crop and Straighten tool, located at the top of the window. This is a cool feature for cropping and straightening an image.
4 The second tab icon in the Adobe Camera Raw window is the Detail tab. This is where you can sharpen your image and reduce noise. Keep in mind that you can’t sharpen an out-of-focus picture and that it’s not a good idea to oversharpen an image—but note that all RAW files need sharpening. And when it comes to Noise Reduction, remember that as you reduce noise, your picture can become softer. Luminance noise is grayscale noise, and color noise is color noise. Look for noise in shadow areas and in the sky. To avoid noise, shoot at low ISO settings.
Colorful gradients, lens flares, and textures are essential elements any 1980s inspired artwork. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use Photoshop’s 3D tools to create a 1980s inspired text effect.
The advent of digital photography sped up the photography process seemingly overnight. What used to take hours or days to complete can now be done in the blink of an eye. But in the fast world of ever-evolving technology, some photographers are choosing personal projects that slow down time.
Jason D. Page‘s film-based light painting project took two years to complete. Though he shot seven rolls of film, his final series consists of fewer than twenty images. Watch the following video to see the process behind his creation of Falling Away:
Page’s vision was to create an image that made it look as if an angel was falling through a stormy sky. Over a year before recording this behind-the-scenes video, he went out at night during a lightning storm and shot dozens of pictures of the sky using Kodak Ektar 100 Color Negative film and a Canon AE1 35mm camera. The second part of the project, which is highlighted in the video, involved double exposing the film with light painted images of a model.
To make the woman look as if she was falling downward through the sky, Page asked her to pose by lying with her back arched over a black stool in front of a black background, her head and limbs weighed down by gravity. He then mounted the camera upside down on his tripod with the help of a Gorillapod.
Page demonstrates his model’s pose.
A Gorillapod secured the camera to the tripod.
With his model in place on his dark set, Page opened the shutter for a long exposure with a cable release. He then used various colored lights to paint in the model’s body from head to toe. When the film was developed, he finally saw his vision come to fruition.
Some photographers might balk at the lengthy, meticulous process of creating the Falling Away series. After all, a similar look could probably be crafted in Photoshop in less than an hour. But the challenge of using film and old-fashioned effects to complete a photography project is a slow, lost art that many photographers are rediscovering–and embracing.
Before we even get started I should make clear that this is to be used as a last resort effort to save a photograph that can’t possibly be retaken any time soon, not something we should make a habit out of. We all know that the best way to save an underexposed photograph is to simply pay attention to the histogram while taking photos and if it’s pushed all the way to the left adjust our settings and reshoot.
Of course with that said, there are cases where it’s impossible to reshoot, or we just forgot to check our settings and get home to realize everything is underexposed and in that case we can do one of two things – toss the photo in the trash or try and save it.
Today I’m going to show you…
I’d like to mention upfront that to be able to achieve these kinds of results you really must be photographing in the RAW format – no ifs, ands or buts about it! If you need a bit of clarification as to why RAW is important you can read all about the RAW format here.
Let’s Save An Underexposed Photo
If you do get home and your histogram looks the one to the right than you’ve got an underexposed photograph in serious need of some help. It probably looks very similar to the before image above with just peaks of light in the very brightest parts of the photograph.
Before you give up hope and assume that your shoot is a complete failure there are a few things you can do to try and salvage the underexposed photographs that you’ve taken.
I’m going to be presenting you with three techniques that you can use to get the most out of what you have. However it is important to note that every photograph is different and will present its own unique set of challenges. These three ideas will give you something to try in the event that you do get home and find your photographs have taken a turn for the dark side, but they might not be able to bring them back, sometimes they truly are too far gone.
For this tutorial I’m using a fairly serious example, in most cases I would hope that you won’t have nearly as bad a situation as I have for you today, so let’s get started!
#1 – Save what you can get rid of what you can’t
This might not be the best way to go about things, but it certainly is the easiest way to get something out of nothing.
By simply adjusting the basic settings a bit to expose for the sky in the photograph I create a simple silhouette of the trees and leave it at that. The final step was to clone out the little bits of the run down shack that were peaking out asking for attention, but not adding to the photograph.
Definitely not the best option for this photo, but it is an option worth considering when you are processing your own photos – sometimes you really don’t have to save everything – it might not be what you had intended the shot to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s a complete loss.
Expose for what you have clone out what you can’t save.
#2 – Use Graduated Filters and Adjustment Brushes Until You Can’t Use Them Anymore
For this second attempt at saving this image I did a lot of the same processing as I did on the first one to get the sky the way I wanted it. Once I got to that point instead of simply giving up and cloning out the run down shack I decided to add a graduated filter and some adjustment brushes to try and save the foreground.
As you can see with just a few modifications I was able to really bring out the hut and add some light to the grass as well as some much needed contrast to the road. This became the after image scene above.
Use a graduated filter to bring light back into the foreground.
Add light to the grass and hut with one adjustment brush
Darken the road to add contrast and remove some noise with a second adjustment brush.
#3 – Convert to Black and White
If we have a really bad case of underexposure, as I do in this photograph, noise will become a problem. As you recover data from the darkest of the shadows you will find that there just isn’t any data there to recover and you’ll end up with pixelated noise in those regions. This is especially true if you were already shooting at a higher ISO.
In cases like this sometimes the only solution left to do is convert to black and white. By converting the image to black and white you essentially are able to hide the color noise leaving only the luminance noise in the photograph. While it’s still not ideal, it can be a useable alternative if you have no other options.
Convert the image to black and white to minimize the effect of noise
For those who enjoy videos this photograph’s edit was part of a weekly series I run on YouTube called Let’s Edit you can watch the video of that episode below.
How to transform your color images into stunning monochrome
My photography career began 30 years ago as a photojournalism student in college. Each week, I would be assigned a story to cover and off I’d go with my Nikon FM2 and 50mm lens in search of images. But capturing the images was only half the story. The best part, I thought, was getting to develop my shots in the darkroom. I can almost smell the chemicals to this day. Slowly, my images would come to life in beautiful, bold…black-and-white. Yes, that’s right, black-and-white.
Today, photographers get the best of both worlds. We can capture an entire photo shoot in color and decide later if we want to convert the images to black-and-white. No more harsh chemicals, darkrooms and nasty drains. Using software, anyone can convert an image to black-and-white with a few mouse clicks. But similar to working in the “wet” darkroom, understanding what makes a good black-and-white image, and how to pull that out of a color shot, is critical to creating dramatic black-and-white images.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD BLACK-AND-WHITE IMAGE?
Before we can start converting our color images in the computer, it helps to know what elements create a good black-and-white image. Or, another way of looking at it is, what color images would look better without color distracting the viewer?
Strong black-and-white images rely on design elements such as line, shape, form and texture. Images with a lot of tonal contrast work well in black-and-white. The more tones you have in your color shot, the more shades of gray you’ll have in your black-and-white image.
What if you’re shooting on a dreary, overcast day? Color photographers try to reduce the bleak gray sky in an image because it takes away from colorful subjects. But imagine that same shot in black-and-white. The dreary sky is now only another shade of gray and works just fine with the other black-and-white elements in the image.
Virtually any subject can look great in black-and-white: portraits, landscapes, architecture and travel images. Look for scenes that have a lot of tonalities and strong design elements, as these aspects can be brought to life in a black-and-white conversion.
Some cameras allow you to capture in black-and-white, but I like to shoot in RAW and convert the image with software. You capture more information in color, with the option to have both color and black-and-white versions of the photo.
Use this technique to turn flat portraits into fab portraits
This installment of “Quick Fix” is about creating a dramatic portrait using a technique called painting with light. But first, here’s a tip about portraiture: If you want an interesting portrait, don’t light the entire subject. Instead, create shadows with your lighting.
Shadows are the soul of the photograph. Shadows add a sense of depth and dimension to a photograph. Shadows are your friend. Light illuminates and shadows define.
The opening photograph for this column is a painting-with-light portrait, created using a small, $20 flashlight as the only light source. I took the image on one of my “See the Light” workshops in a barn in Spearfish, S.D.
Okay, let’s get to the technique.
First, you’ll need to shoot in a dark room or area (which can even be outdoors at night, if it’s very dark). A dark room is needed because you want to use only the light from your flashlight to illuminate the subject. A totally dark room is best.
I’ve found that you need your subject to hold as still as possible for at least a five-second exposure. I say five seconds because I’ve found that most subjects have a hard time holding still for more than five seconds. That said, I’ve made 10-second painting-with-light photographs.
The length of time you spend “painting” depends on the power of your flashlight and the spread of its beam; how fast you paint the subject with light; your distance from the subject, your ISO, aperture and shutter speed combination; and the area you want to paint. It may sound complicated, but in practice, it’s not.
Set your camera on a tripod. For starters, set the ISO to 400, aperture to ƒ/5.6 and the shutter speed to five seconds. Use your camera’s self-timer or cable release (or app) to trigger the shutter to prevent camera shake. Once the shutter is released, gradually move (paint) the light over the subject. If your subject is too dark, increase your ISO or open your aperture and vice versa.
In this installment of Quick Fix, I’ll cover some of my favorite Photoshop features. Don’t worry if you don’t have Photoshop since many of these features or similar effects are found in other imaging programs. Okay, here are the features I’ll cover: Adobe Camera Raw, Shadows/Highlights, Lens Correction, Levels, Sharpening, Sponge Tool, Transform and Cropping. I’ll also touch on a cool plug-in effect.
1 The image that opens this column took me about 15 minutes to create in Photoshop. As you can see from this screen shot of the Adobe Camera Raw window, the original looks very flat because it was taken on an overcast day. What’s more, the horizon line is curved because I used a 15mm fisheye lens on my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which is a full-frame image-sensor camera. Originally, I liked the effect of the curved horizon line, but as you’ll see, I leveled it during my image-editing process.
2 I do as much editing as possible in Adobe Camera Raw, which is basically the same as working on RAW files in Lightroom or Apple Aperture. In this before-and-after screen grab of the main Adjustment panel, I made these adjustments:
•?Recovery—to bring back some of the lost detail in the water
•?Fill Light—to fill in some of the shadow areas
•?Contrast—because the image looked flat
•?Clarity—to give some “pop” to the picture
•?Vibrance—to add Rsome color to the noncolor saturated areas
3 Next, I used Shadows/ Highlights, a feature that’s sort of like Recover and Fill Light. I used it here because, after opening my image, I still wanted to enhance the shadows and highlights—which, if you think about it, are what a picture is all about when it comes to light.
4 As you can see in this screen grab, I opened up the shadows and toned down the highlights with the Shadows/ Highlights adjustment.
5 One of the very cool features in Photoshop (and Lightroom) is Lens Correction. In the close-up on the left, you can see what’s called a chromatic aberration—the magenta fringe where the dark areas in the picture meet the light areas. In the right close-up, it’s virtually gone. As you saw in the opening images, I cropped out this area of the frame. However, there was a slight chromatic aberration in the distance, where the water met the trees, so this was a good adjustment to make.
6 Reducing chromatic aberration was easy in Photoshop. I went to Filter > Lens Corrections > Custom Panel and moved the control on the Fix Green/Magenta Fringe all the way to the left.
7 As I mentioned, I originally liked the curved horizon line, but I changed my mind while I was working on my image. To level it, after Selecting All, I went to Edit > Transform > Warp. Then I pulled down on the top horizontal line until the horizon line was straight.
I was almost done! I used the Sponge tool, which is nested with the Burn and Dodge tool on the toolbar, to add some saturation to both rainbows.
Next, I cropped my image to draw more attention to the double rainbow. Then, because sharpening should always be the final adjustment, I sharpened the image using Unsharp Mask.
8. I like to play with plug-ins, so as an experiment, I played with different plug-ins to see how they would affect my picture. I tried the Midnight filter in Nik Color Efex Pro and liked it, as it changed the mood of the picture—to one with a softer feeling.
Rick Sammon, teaches Photoshop and Lightroom in his workshops. For information, visit www.ricksammon.info.
How to expand the dynamic range of a single exposure
Okay, I admit it. I used the title for this column to grab your attention. Of course, there are times when using specialized High Dynamic Range (HDR) software is a must to create a true HDR image—very high-contrast scenes require multiple bracketed exposures to produce a single HDR shot.
However, if the contrast range of a scene isn’t greater than about three ƒ-stops, you can greatly expand the dynamic range of an image without specialty HDR software using Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop, Photoshop Lightroom or Apple Aperture.
The opening image for this column was created in Camera Raw from a single JPEG file, the middle exposure from a series of pictures taken at +2 EV, 0 EV and –2 EV.
Well, first of all, I always shoot RAW files. To save time when processing HDR images, however, I convert my RAW files to JPEG ones before working in HDRsoft’s Photomatix or Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro.
1 Here’s the middle exposure. Detail in the shadow areas is very hard to see and, in some areas, lost. Now, you might be asking two questions: One, “Why did Rick ‘RAW Rules’ Sammon use JPEG files?” And, “How did he get those JPEG files into Adobe Camera Raw?”
Secondly, when it comes to getting JPEG files into Camera Raw, all you have to do in Photoshop is go to File > Open and select Camera Raw in the Format window. When you do that, you can open JPEG and TIFF files in Camera Raw, and take advantage of all the cool adjustments.
2 Here are two screenshots that show the before-and-after settings that I made in Adobe Camera Raw. The basic concept was to use Fill Light to open up the shadow areas; use Recovery to preserve the highlights; boost the Exposure a bit because the picture was somewhat dark; and, finally, to increase the Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation to develop and enhance color.
3 As a comparison, here’s a true HDR image that I created in Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro from my original three images. As you can see, it’s not that different from my single Camera Raw-enhanced image, again, because the contrast range of the scene wasn’t that great.
Rick Sammon, has a bunch of apps; the latest one is Rick Sammon’s iHDR. Check it out on his website at www.ricksammon.info.