Photoshop Adjustment Layers Explained and How to Use Them (Part 2)

The post Photoshop Adjustment Layers Explained and How to Use Them (Part 2) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

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Part 1 of How to Use Photoshop Adjustment Layers introduced you to the first eight of the adjustment layer type editing tools, which allow you to work non-destructively. Here, we continue to look at some of the other tools available as Adjustment Layers.

Photoshop Adjustment Layers Explained and How to Use Them (Part 2)

1. Photo Filter

Did you know that there are colored filters that you place in front of your camera lens that alter the color temperature and balance of your final image? Well, the Photo Filter adjustment layer adds a color filter to your image similar to this.

There are many preset photo filters in Photoshop, but the most common are those that make your image warm or cool. You can further tweak each preset to your liking. For instance, you can change the density of the effect easily using the Density slider. There is also the Preserve Luminosity box to check so that the applied filter does not darken your image.

You can also choose an exact color that you would like to overlay as a filter by clicking on “color” and chosing from the color menu or by using the eyedropper tool to chose a color from your image.

Image: Warm (oranges) and Cool (Blues) Photo filters applied to the image above

Warm (oranges) and Cool (Blues) Photo filters applied to the image above

2. Channel Mixer

The Channel Mixer Photoshop Adjustment Layer is another great tool to create stunning black and white and tinted images.

The principle is similar to that used by the Black and White Adjustment Layer. In each of these, you can adjust the displayed grayscale image by changing the tonal values of the color elements of the image.

There are three channels in the RGB view: red, green and blue. Note: The source channel is the one that defaults to 100%. The Channel Mixer, therefore, allows you to combine and mix the best of each channel. It does this by adding (or subtracting) grayscale data from your source channel to another channel.

Also, of note, adding more color to a channel gives you a negative value and vice versa. Hence, at the end of your edit, it is advisable that all your numbers total 100%.

Photoshop Adjustment Layers Explained and How to Use Them (Part 2)

The Channel Mixer also allows you to exaggerate color and make creative color adjustments to your image.

3. Color Lookup

The Color Lookup adjustment layer uses presets to instantly color grade or change the “look” of your image. The presets are called LUTs or lookup tables. Each lookup table contains specific instructions for Photoshop to remap the colors in your image to a different set of colors to create the selected look.

Image: Applying the Late Sunset LUT creates a dramatic finish

Applying the Late Sunset LUT creates a dramatic finish

When you choose the Color Lookup Adjustment Layer, three options are available to you: 3DLUT File, Abstract and Device Link.

Most of the presets reside under the 3DLUT File option. Of note, 3D (in 3DLUT) refers to Photoshop’s RGB color channels (and not three-dimension).

Image: Late Sunset LUT applied at 60% opacity for a more realistic finish

Late Sunset LUT applied at 60% opacity for a more realistic finish

Furthermore, LUTS are available for download from various websites or you can create your own LUT.

4. Invert

The Invert Photoshop Adjustment Layer is self-explanatory. It inverts the colors and is an easy way to make a negative of your image for an interesting effect.

Image: The first image with colors inverted gives a surreal otherworldly effect

The first image with colors inverted gives a surreal otherworldly effect

5. Posterize

Looking for a flat, poster-like finish? The Posterize Adjustment Layer gives you that by reducing the number of brightness values available in your image.

You can make an image have as much or as little detail as you like by selecting the number in the levels slider. The higher the number, the more detail your image has. The lower the number, the less detail your image has.

This can come in handy when you want to screenprint your image. You can limit the tones of black and white. This is also true of the Threshold Adjustment Layer.

Image: Posterize Adjustment Layer

Posterize Adjustment Layer

6. Threshold

When you select Threshold from your Photoshop Adjustment Layers list, your image changes to black and white. By changing the Threshold Level value, you control the number of pixels that are black or white.

Image: Threshold Adjustment Layer

Threshold Adjustment Layer

7. Gradient Map

The Gradient Map lets you map different colors to different tones in your image. The gradient fill, therefore, sets the colors representing both the shadow tones on one end and highlight tones on the other end of the gradient.

Likewise, checking the “Reverse” box swaps around the colors of your gradient. This means that the shadow colors are moved to the highlights end and vice versa.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your shadows dark and your highlights brighter for ease of reference.

Photoshop Adjustment Layers Explained and How to Use Them (Part 2)

Your gradient map also makes available many presets that are adjustable via the gradient editor window. Additionally, you can also define/create your own gradients by changing the slider colors.

8. Selective Color

Use the Selective Color Adjustment Layer to modify specific amounts of a primary color without modifying other primary colors in your image. Check the Absolute box if you want to adjust the color in absolute values.

Example: If you have a pixel that is 50% yellow and you add 10%, you are now at a 60% total. The Relative box is a little more complicated as it would adjust the yellow pixel only by the percentage it contributes to the total. Using the same example, if you add 10% to the yellow slider (with relative checked), it actually adds 50% of the 10%, which brings your total to 55%. Relative, therefore, gives you a more subtle effect.

Photoshop Adjustment Layers Explained and How to Use Them (Part 2)

However, when it comes to this editing tool, the potential is far beyond this simplistic edit technique. You can use it to correct skin tones and for general toning.

While selective color adjustments are similar to hue/saturation adjustments, there are subtle differences. Selective Color allows you to subtract/add color values, whereas Hue/Saturation does not.

The Hue/Saturation adjustment allows you to work with a range of hues that are included with the six color ranges in Selective Color, so there is more control there if you need it.

Conclusion

These basic examples of how to use the Photoshop Adjustment Layers tools merely scratch the surface of their capabilities. Certainly, you will appreciate editing non-destructively, whether you are just starting out or advanced with adjustment layers.

Some of the adjustment layers seem similar, but each has its differences and its pros and cons. Either way, there are many possibilities of playing around with your image, while preserving the original.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 in this series.

Do you use Photoshop Adjustment Layers? If so, which ones do you use and why? Share with us in the comments.

The post Photoshop Adjustment Layers Explained and How to Use Them (Part 2) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

The post The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

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Even if you do most of your editing in Lightroom, you’ll still find that you need Photoshop to really finesse your photos. Because it’s a pixel editor, Photoshop offers you more retouching tools and gives you further control than you can obtain from Lightroom.

In still life photography, like food and product, every aspect of your image needs to hold up to scrutiny for maximum impact. It needs to look clean and perfect.

There are certain tools in Photoshop that will help you tweak the best out of your images.

Although this article won’t go in-depth for every single tool – you’d need several articles for that – it will get you up and running in applying some basic treatments to your still life photography.

So without further ado, here are the most useful Photoshop tools for still life photography.

Photoshop for still life photography

1. Spot Healing Tool

The Spot Healing tool is one Photoshop tool that you’ll use on every still life image you retouch in Photoshop. This tool has improved greatly over the years.

Similar to the Healing Brush tool, it samples pixels from the surrounding areas to correct blemishes and imperfections. However, unlike the Healing Brush, it automatically samples the pixels without your having to specify where they should come from.

Why is this so great? Because the Spot Healing brush does this way better than it used to. This means you can remove dust and small marks very quickly.

If you’ve ever tried the Spot Removal tool in Lightroom, you’ll know that clicking on it repeatedly will quickly slow down Lightroom’s performance. Photoshop will give you better results, more quickly.

When you’re dealing with still life photography, remember that you want a clean-looking image. Zooming in on your photo at 100% and cleaning up any dust or blemishes will make a big difference in the overall aesthetic.

To use the Spot Healing tool, select it from the tool menu or hit J.

Zoom into your image and simply click on the blemish you wish to correct. It will automatically sample from an appropriate area and apply the pixels.

You can also clean up a larger area by brushing over it.

One thing to note is that if you use it repeatedly in a small area, the pixels can start looking unnatural and plastic-like.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

2. Patch Tool

The Patch tool is another Photoshop tool for still life photography that you’ll most likely use on the majority of your images.

It works great on small areas by creating a selection and replacing the pixels with other pixels of your choosing. It considers lighting, shade and texture when sampling an area.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

In the image below, I wanted to get rid of the yellow filament from my flower because I found it distracting.

There are many ways to do this in Photoshop, but I find the patch tool quick and seamless for this type of correction.

To use the tool, select it from the toolbar.

Draw a selection around the area that you wish to correct.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

Click on your mouse and drag the selection to an area that you would like to replace the selected pixels with. Let go of the cursor.

Press Command D to undo the selection.

To have greater control over the final result, make sure you have Content-Aware selected in the tool menu and play with the Structure and Color to further influence the edges.

Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

3. Content-Aware Fill

Content-Aware Fill is sort of like the Patch tool on steroids.

It was first introduced in CS5 as a fill option in the Fill Dialog box. In 2019, Adobe improved this tool by leaps and bounds.

Content-Aware analyzes the pixels from a chosen area to determine what pixels it should use to remove unwanted objects. With the improvement, it allows you to choose exactly where you want it to sample the pixels from. It gives you so much more control and also allows you to rotate, scale or resize your selection, and preview the results.

To use Content-Aware Fill, draw a selection around the area you would like to correct. The Lasso tool makes a nice, versatile tool, but I often use the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee tools.

Go to Edit and choosing Content-Aware Fill from the dropdown menu.

Photoshop tools for still life photography

This opens up the Content-Aware task space.

Photoshop tools for still life photography

On the right-hand side of the task space, you’ll see a Preview area that will show you how the changes are affecting your image.

If required, resize the sampling area with the Sampling Brush Tool.

You can find the tools for Content-Aware Fill in the left-hand corner of the workspace. The Brush tool is the first one on the top and the one you’ll most often use.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

You’ll also notice on the right-hand side of the workspace that you can make adjustments to the opacity.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

Save your changes as a Duplicate Layer.

I often use Content-Aware Fill to even-out my still life photography backgrounds, which tend to look less even in color and texture as I would like.

In this image of a salad, I wanted to even-out the left-hand corner of the image, which was looking too dark, despite my removing vignetting. I used the Rectangular Marquee tool to select the part that I wanted to change and brushed out the parts of the image I didn’t want sampled from.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

I played around with the opacity until I got something that looked good, which in this case was 66%.

4. Clone Stamp Tool

Can anyone live without the Clone Stamp tool?

No matter what kind of photography you do, you probably use the Clone Stamp tool a lot. Great retouching is largely about cleaning up the little things, which all come together for a powerful, transformative effect. Clone Stamp is one of the crucial Photoshop tools for still life photography.

The Clone Stamp tool allows you to copy pixels to a different part of the image to another. It’s great on areas where you have texture and pattern, or an edge. However, with this tool there is no real blending, so you often have to use it with other tools to get a more seamless-looking result.

Note that if you work with the Clone Stamp tool on its own layer, you can use it with other tools such as Free Transform to make further adjustments to the cloned areas.

Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

In the image above, I used a surface that was textured and knotty, but I wanted it to look smoother. I did this (achieving the image on the right) by cloning smoother areas over the bumpy areas.

To utilize the Clone Stamp tool, select it from the toolbar by hitting S for the shortcut, or hit Cmd/Ctrl+S 

Photoshop for still life photography

Select the area that you wish to paint the pixels from by choosing Opt/Alt. The selection point will be indicted by the crosshairs.

Paint with your cursor over the area you want to correct while making sure the crosshairs don’t pick up any pixels you don’t want.

Photoshop tolls for still life photography

5. Transform

Transform is another of the useful Photoshop tools for still life photography because it allows you to make changes and adjustments to objects in your image, like straightening and shaping.

For example, I decided to make a change to the olive oil bottle in the image below. I wanted to adjust the direction the handle was facing and to make the bottle appear larger in scale. I did this easily and quickly with Transform.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

Start with your background layer or your top layer. Use the appropriate tool to make a selection. In this case, I used the Lasso tool but I could have also used the Quick Selection tool.

photoshop tools for still life photography

Copy the selection onto another layer by hitting Ctrl/Cmd+J.

The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography

Then hit Ctrl/Cmd+T to bring up Transform, or go to Edit and choose Transform from the Menu.

Make the adjustment by manually rotating or expanding the Transform box by clicking on the white points/squares.

photoshop tools for still life photography

Hit Enter to accept the adjustment.

Always make sure to constrain proportions when necessary.

6. Focus Stacking

If you’re shooting a product, you’ll usually need your subject to be sharp throughout. This means using a high F-stop number like F/13 or F/16. However, this requires a lot of power if you’re using flash.

You can also get lens diffraction at these higher numbers, which will degrade the quality of your photo.

The answer to shooting with a wider aperture and still getting a sharp image is to focus stack in Photoshop.

This is when you take two or three images with different focus points and blend them together to create one image file that is sharply in focus throughout. It’s a quick process and isn’t anywhere near as complicated as it sounds.

To utilize focus stacking, make sure your images have the same exposure and alignment.

Export PSD files into a folder or onto your desktop where you can easily navigate to them. 

Follow these steps:

  • Open Photoshop.
  • Go to File and choose Scripts.
  • Select Load Files into Stack.
  • Click Browse and select all the images from where you saved them initially.
  • Check the Box for Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images.
  • Click OK. Each of the images will open as a new layer in Photoshop.
  • Hold down Shift and click on the top layer in the Layers panel to highlight all the layers.
  • Under Edit, select Auto Blend-Layers.
  • Check the box for Stack Images and also for Seamless Tones and Colors. DO NOT check ‘Content-Aware.’ Click OK.
  • Save the final image.

If you have uploaded a lot of images, flatten the final image by selecting Layer -> Flatten Image -> Save.

photoshop tools for still life photography

Three images focus-stacked in Photoshop

Conclusion

Photoshop is a powerhouse of a program and there are many tools that can help you retouch your photography. The tools mentioned here are my top Photoshop tools for still life photography. They are easy to learn and utilize, and will quickly take your images to the next level.

Do you have any other Photoshop tools for still life photography that you’d like to share? Do so in the comments section!

The post The 6 Top Photoshop Tools for Still Life Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos!

The post 6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos! appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

faster-lightroom-workflow-tips

Many photographers rely on Lightroom to organize, edit and share their photos. While this software has a vast array of tools to help people in several key areas, it has not always been known for speed. Recent updates and GPU acceleration have helped, but if you really want to have a faster Lightroom workflow, there are some simple things you can do to supercharge your post-processing. These aren’t hacks or plugins, but simple tweaks to Lightroom that can make your life a lot easier.

6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos!

1. Apply a preset when importing images

The first thing you can do for a faster Lightroom workflow is to apply a preset when importing images.

Lightroom has a mind-boggling number of options and sliders to adjust when editing images. If you find yourself using the same types of edits on most of your pictures, you can use Presets to shave hours off your editing. Most people already know this, but you might not be aware that you can apply Presets when initially importing your files.

On the right side of the Import screen, there is an option for “Apply During Import.” Use this to select one of the many presets built into Lightroom (or select one of your own that you may have saved) and have it automatically applied to your pictures as you import them.

faster Lightroom workflow

In the screenshot above, you can also see an option called Nikon RAW import. That’s a custom preset I made that contains specific adjustments I like to apply to my Nikon RAW files, which gets me to a good starting point when editing. That alone has helped me with a faster Lightroom workflow, but applying it to a batch of photos on import is even more of a speed boost.

Don’t worry about messing anything up if you apply presets on import. Like everything else in Lightroom, they are non-destructive, meaning you can always go back and change things later.

2. Sync settings across multiple images

If you have spent any time editing multiple similar images in Lightroom, particularly from an event or photo session with clients, you have no doubt found the Copy/Paste Settings to be useful. Right-click on any image in the Develop module and choose “Develop Settings->Copy Settings…” Then check the boxes next to any (or all!) the settings you want to copy.

Finally, go to another photo, right-click, and choose “Develop Settings->Paste Settings.” Or better yet, use Ctrl+C (cmd+C on mac) and Ctrl+V (cmd+V on mac) like you would on any word processor.

faster Lightroom workflow

I shot dozens of pictures of this wasp. The Sync Settings option let me instantly edit a single image and then apply those edits to all my other images in an instant.

This process works great, but what if you want to paste your settings on to five, ten, or a hundred images? Even the fast method of using Ctrl+V starts to feel like a chore.

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

faster Lightroom workflow

Image 21 is selected, and Images 17-20 are also highlighted. After clicking the Sync… button, all the edits from 21 will be applied to 17-20.

In the Develop module, select a single picture in the filmstrip at the bottom of the screen. Then hold down the [shift] key and select more images. Finally, click the “Sync…” button to synchronize any (or all) of your edits on the original image to the rest that are selected.

When I discovered this trick, I almost fell out of my chair! I didn’t just speed up my Lightroom editing. It supercharged my editing.

3. Straighten your pictures with the Auto button

I’m always a little leery of anything that says Auto when I’m editing pictures. I don’t need my computer to do what it thinks is best – I want my computer to do what I think is best! At best, I use some Auto options, like when setting white balance on RAW files, as a rough draft that I go and refine.

However, there is one Auto setting that I have learned to use over and over again. Learning to embrace Auto for straightening my photos has saved me a lot of time and really led to an overall faster Lightroom workflow.

Image: The Auto button in the Crop & Straighten panel can really help make things go faster when...

The Auto button in the Crop & Straighten panel can really help make things go faster when you need to straighten your photos.

The reason Auto works so well for straightening images is that it doesn’t try to make a guess which affects the artistic goals of the photographer. It simply looks for straight lines such as light poles, buildings, or horizons, and then adjusts images accordingly. It works far more than I initially thought. Plus, it can really speed things up when editing in Lightroom.

faster Lightroom workflow

My tripod was askew when I shot this, but Lightroom fixed it with a simple click of the Auto button.

4. Automatically organize with smart collections

Collections in Lightroom are an easy way to organize your images. You can create as many collections as you want, and one photo can exist in multiple collections. What you may not realize is that Lightroom lets you create Smart Collections, which are populated dynamically according to rules you specify.

To create a Smart Collection, choose the + button at the top-left of the Collections panel. Then select “Create Smart Collection…” and specify your parameters for the Smart Collection.

faster Lightroom workflow

As an example of how this can lead to a faster Lightroom workflow, I create Smart Collections to sort my photos by month for an entire year. I do this each January, and for the rest of the year my photos are automatically sorted month-by-month without me having to do anything.

Image: I create Smart Collections for my personal images at the beginning of each year. My images ar...

I create Smart Collections for my personal images at the beginning of each year. My images are then sorted automatically.

These Smart Collections also do not include any photos with the keyword “PhotoSession” which I apply to all images that I take for clients. Photos with that keyword go in another set of Smart Collections that I use to keep client images separate from personal photos.

Smart Collections can contain dozens of parameters including Rating, Pick Flag, Color Label, Keyword, even metadata such as camera model or focal length. They are an incredibly powerful but very simple way to make your day-to-day Lightroom editing significantly faster.

5. Multi-Batch Export

Lightroom has long offered customizable export presets. These allow you to export photos with certain parameters specified such as file type, image size, quality setting, and even specifying custom names.

faster Lightroom workflow

New in the November 2019 update to Lightroom Classic is the option to perform a single export operation that utilizes multiple Presets. This means you no longer have to do an export operation for full-size JPGs at 100% quality, another export for low-resolution proofs at 80% quality, and so on.

Just check any boxes in the Export dialog box for the presets you want, and Lightroom will take care of the rest!

Image: The November 2019 update to Lightroom Classic lets you select multiple presets for a single e...

The November 2019 update to Lightroom Classic lets you select multiple presets for a single export operation.

This is a great way to save time when you are ready to export your images. It’s not the kind of workflow addition that will change your life, but it’s another simple but highly effective process you can utilize to shave precious minutes from your editing. And as someone who exports a lot of photos regularly, those minutes add up.

6. Cull on Lightroom Mobile

One of my favorite aspects of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan is the synchronization between Lightroom Classic and Lightroom Mobile. While the mobile version of Lightroom isn’t as full-featured as its desktop-based big brother, it does one thing incredibly well that has made a huge difference for me when editing photos for clients.

Click the checkbox next to any Collection to sync those photos with Lightroom CC. This means you can access low-resolution previews of all those images on the web, your phone, or tablet. (Note that this does not work with Smart Collections, only regular Collections.)

6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos!

I don’t find Lightroom Mobile particularly useful for detailed editing, but it absolutely runs circles around the desktop version when it comes to culling operations. If you have an iPad, this could honestly change your entire approach to culling your images. It also works pretty well on other mobile devices too.

Load a picture in any collection that you have synced to Lightroom CC and then click the Star icon in the lower-right corner. This switches to a mode where you can quickly assign star ratings or flags to any picture. Tap one of the Flag or Star icons at the bottom of the screen to change the status of the image. A quick swipe of your finger will load the next image.

faster Lightroom workflow

Tap the star icon in the lower-right corner of Lightroom Mobile to quickly assign Flags and Star Ratings with a swipe of your finger.

This is all well and good, but there’s one trick here that will send your culling into overdrive.

Slide a finger up or down on the right side of the photo to change the Flag status. Slide a finger up or down on the left side to assign a Star rating. Then swipe to the next image and repeat.

All your edits on Lightroom Mobile, including Star ratings and Flag statuses, are instantly synced back to Lightroom Classic on your computer.

I’m not kidding about the speed of this operation, either.

I used to dread the culling process, but now it takes a fraction of the time it used to. A few weeks ago, I returned from a photo session with over 1,100 images. In about an hour, I was able to cull them to a fraction of that amount, thanks to Lightroom Mobile.

Image: There were hundreds of images from this session that I had to sort through. Lightroom Desktop...

There were hundreds of images from this session that I had to sort through. Lightroom Desktop makes this a burden, but Lightroom Mobile makes it a breeze.

All six of these tips have saved me a huge amount of time over the years. I hope they are useful to you as well.

If you have any other tricks or suggestions for a faster Lightroom workflow, leave them in the comments below!

The post 6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos! appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Create Awesome Reflections in Photoshop with Ease (Step-by-Step Guide)

The post Create Awesome Reflections in Photoshop with Ease (Step-by-Step Guide) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

reflections-in-photoshop

Attractive reflections can be challenging to capture naturally in your photographs. Sometimes it’s easier to create reflections in Photoshop. You will have more control over how the photo looks and you can avoid the difficulties that photographing reflections can bring.

Often you can’t find just the right place to stand to catch the best reflection. Sometimes the light is wrong and a natural reflection will look too dark. Choosing to make reflections in Photoshop gives you much more flexibility to get the look you want.

It’s really not that difficult to do. In this article, I’ll walk you through a series of steps you can use to make a mirror image in Photoshop.

Reflections in Photoshop

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Step 1: Selecting your photo

When making reflections in Photoshop, it’s important to start out by choosing a photo that’s suitable. Not every photo will look good or natural when you make a mirror image of it.

When you’re looking for a photo to use with this technique, think about how it will look. You ideally want to use a photo where the main subject has a distinct line along where the reflection will appear.

Open your photo in Photoshop. You may need to crop the bottom of the photo to create a clean line where the reflection can be placed.

Step 2: Adjust the canvas size

You need to adjust the canvas size to make room for the reflection you will create.

Go to the top menu and select Image->Canvas Size. In the pop-up that appears in the box next to the Height option, click the drop-down and choose Percent. Make the Height percentage 200.

Click the top center of the Anchor options grid. This will force the new canvas space you are creating to appear underneath your photo.

Click OK.

Create Awesome Reflections in Photoshop with Ease (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 3: Duplicate the layer

In the Layers panel, unlock the base layer. To do this, click on the padlock icon. Now you can duplicate this layer by going to the top menu and selecting Layer->New->Layer Via Copy.

Convert both the layers to Smart Objects by right-clicking on each of them and selecting Convert To Smart Object. Now rename both layers to make it easier to keep track of which one is which.

Reflections in Photoshop

Step 4: Position the new layer

Drag the new layer to the space you created under your main image.

Now you need to flip the lower layer. This will be your reflection. From the top menu select Edit->Transform->Flip Vertical and press Enter.

Reflections in Photoshop

Step 5: Add blur to the reflection layer

With your reflection layer selected, from the top menu select Filter->Blur->Motion Blur. Set the Angle to 90-degrees and use the Distance slider to add a suitable amount of blur. How much you add is up to you and will vary depending on the resolution of the photo you are working with. In my example, I have set it to 30.

You may need to reposition your reflection layer by nudging it up slightly if a gap has appeared between your two layers.

Create Awesome Reflections in Photoshop with Ease (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 6: Make a new file

Duplicate your file by going to the top menu and selecting Image->Duplicate. Crop the image so you are left only with the reflection.

Delete one layer so you are left with a blank canvas. Resize the canvas to 30%, otherwise, it will be too big to manage easily. Select the paint bucket and fill the image with black.

This file you have created will be added to the reflection layer to make it look more realistic like water.

Reflections in Photoshop

Step 7: Add blur and noise for texture

From the top menu select Filter->Noise->Add Noise. Make the amount 350% and check the boxes Uniform and Monochromatic. Click OK.

Now add some blur. Select Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur from the top menu and set the Radius to 1.5 pixels and click OK.

Create Awesome Reflections in Photoshop with Ease (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 8: Emboss your texture

In the Channels panel click on the Red channel.

Next, go to the top menu again and select Filter->Stylize->Emboss. Set the Angle to 90, the Height to 5, and the Amount to 500. Of course, you can experiment with any of these amounts. Click OK.

Now select the Green channel and Filter->Stylize->Emboss from the top menu. Set the Angle to 0, the Height to 5, and the Amount to 500. Click OK.

Turn on all the channels by clicking RGB. Go back to your Layers Panel, right-click the layer and Convert To Smart Object.

Create Awesome Reflections in Photoshop with Ease (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 9: Stretch the perspective of the distortion

Select Edit->Free Transform from the top menu. Right-click inside the image and select Perspective. Make sure you are zoomed out a long way so your image is small in the center of your monitor.

Click on one of the bottom corners of the frame and drag it out horizontally. This will stretch and distort the lower part of the texture. Don’t worry if it looks weird, once you incorporate it into your reflection it will make it look more natural.

Zoom back to 100%. Save this image as a .PSD where you can find it easily and name it something recognizable.

Create Awesome Reflections in Photoshop with Ease (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 10: Make an adjustment layer on your main image

Click on the reflection layer on your main image and duplicate it by pressing Ctrl (Cmd)+j on your keyboard. Name it “Reflection Copy.” With the new layer selected (which should be above the other reflection layer), from the top menu, choose Filter->Distort->Displace. Set the vertical and horizontal scales to about 10.

You may need to alter these if it does not look good, depending on your image size and resolution. Click OK.

From the window that opens, find and select the distortion image you just created and saved. This will use the texture image as a displacement layer. If the ripple effect is too large or too small, undo that step. Redo the step again, but this time choose a higher or lower number for the displacement scale.

Experiment with this until you are satisfied with the way it looks. It’s entirely up to your taste.

Reflections in Photoshop

Step 11: Adjust the reflection

With your Reflection Copy layer selected, click on the layer mask icon, which is at the bottom of the Layers Panel. Select the Brush tool with the color set to Black and a large brush size and Hardness of 0%.

From the options panel above your image, set the brush opacity to 20%. Select your layer mask, not the main reflection layer. Paint from side to side over the top half of your reflection layer, where it meets the top layer until it looks natural.

What you are doing is erasing 20% of the distortion each time you paint. You want to make the reflection look smoother in what appears to be the distance.

Reflections in Photoshop

Step 12: Merge the reflection layers

Select both the reflection layers in the Layers Panel. Right-click on one of them and select Merge Layers. Make sure your main image is not selected. You should now have one reflection layer and your main layer.

Step 13: Darken the reflection

With the reflection layer selected, go to your top menu and choose Image->Adjustments->Curves. Click in the middle of the curves adjustment line and drag it down to darken the reflection. Adjust it until it looks natural. A reflection in water is typically darker than the scene it’s reflecting.

Reflections in Photoshop

Conclusion

Follow through these steps a few times and experiment with the variables. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Your personal preference and the photos you choose will determine the outcome.

You will find reflections in Photoshop look better on some images than on others.

Try out this technique for making reflections in Photoshop, and share your images with us in the comments below!

The post Create Awesome Reflections in Photoshop with Ease (Step-by-Step Guide) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Fake it to Make it – Creating Convincing Photo Composites

The post Fake it to Make it – Creating Convincing Photo Composites appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

Photo composites – it used to be said that “the camera never lies.”  We used terms like “photographic evidence,” and “photographic memory.” We believed whatever cameras captured were literal representations of fact depicting exactly what you would have observed had you been a witness to the scene.

Then, as editing techniques improved, photographers learned ways to enhance and even alter images.

Well before the days of digital photography, dodging, burning, airbrushing, layering of negatives, hand-painting, and a host of other “analog methods” were used by skilled photographers seeking to enhance and manipulate their images.  Sometimes this was in the name of art, other times to fool the viewer.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

“Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave.” Assignment – depict a Beatles song title or lyric. I used a photo of a Vermont graveyard, made a shot of myself in the backyard, and with some creative compositing depicted the lyric from “Eleanor Rigby.”

Enter the world of digital photography and desktop editing programs.

It wasn’t long before we used the term “Photoshop” not only as a noun as the tradename of an editing program but as a verb describing the manipulation of an image using that tool.  When we now say an image has been “Photoshopped,” we are saying it has been digitally altered.  The camera might not lie, but the photographer can if they choose.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

It took a while to clone out all the footprints from this shot of Bandon Beach, Oregon.

The ethics of photo alteration

So, is altering your image a bad thing? Unethical?

I’d say that depends on your intent and the context in which you’re using the image. We’ve all heard the term “fake news.” If you are a photojournalist whose job it is to depict a scene truthfully, then the rest of this article is not for you. Move along… “creative photo editing” is totally taboo for you. Enough said.

For the rest of us, is photo manipulation acceptable? How much? What kind? Under what circumstances?

Let’s come back to those questions a little later after we’ve looked at some kinds of photo “enhancements.”

Fake it to Make it - Creating Convincing Photo Composites

creating-convincing-photo-composites

A balloon over Boise, Idaho landmarks. One is composited the other a straight shot. Can you spot the fake?

Bad magic

Have you ever had the misfortunate of watching a really bad magic show, the kind where the unskilled magician clearly doesn’t know his craft and the illusions are obvious? You know, without question, there really was something up his sleeve? Bad photo manipulation is like bad magic; neither should be performed for an audience.

If your techniques aren’t convincing, if the substituted sky doesn’t look right for the scene or the person composited into the group shot looks like you cut him out and pasted him onto the photo, you might not be ready to perform your photo magic. Learn how to do the “trick.” Practice, practice some more and show the result to a single critic. When you finally pass muster, only then show your creation to the masses.

SOOC?

Most of us do at least some standard photo editing. I always smile at those photographers who say with pride their images are “Straight-Out-Of-Camera” (SOOC), unedited. That they always “get it right in the camera.” Really?

Unless you’re making only .jpg images (where the camera itself is doing some editing using the built-in .jpg algorithm), you have a Raw image that needs at least basic editing even to be presentable.

Sure, make the best exposure you can in the camera, frame your shot so no cropping will be needed. Pick a white balance appropriate for the scene – those are all good habits. But having to edit your shot to bring out its best? – That’s only logical, IMHO.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

I had nice shots of a storm over a wheatfield and a good windmill silhouette. Creative photo composite at work.

Creative photo composites

Now we get to what is clearly photo manipulation, the creation of an image from multiple pieces. This is the assembling of a final photo composite from separate shots carefully crafted to make something better than you could make with a single exposure.

Do it well, and you can make scenes that depict your creative vision. Create things of beauty that never were but should have been; landscapes with great clouds, gorgeous sunsets, or maybe portraits done in fields of flowers. Do it well, and people will marvel over your creation, unaware of your magic. Do it poorly, however, and you’ll wind up with a Frankenstein monster, a badly-stitched horror assembled from unmatched pieces and parts.

So let’s look at some things to consider when creating convincing photo composites.

Image: I think the scale looks correct here, but a pilot might say a jet wouldn’t come in like...

I think the scale looks correct here, but a pilot might say a jet wouldn’t come in like this on final approach. Both planes are composited into the sunset shot.

Light and shadow

Let’s use an example where we might add a person to a scene they were not originally in.

You have the image of the scene, and you have a separate image of the person. The first question to ask yourself is, does the light direction match? Look at where the light and shadows fall in both images. If the light in the person image is coming from the left, the light in the background scene must come from the left too. Fail to check this, and even the untrained observer will look at your photo composite image and know something isn’t right, even if they can’t put their finger on it.

Sometimes you can flip the person or the background image so the light direction matches; it depends on the scenes you’re working with. Other times you’ll have to look for a different background with a better match.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

The scale may not be correct, but creative compositing is a new fun way to play with your grandson.Pay close attention to the direction and quality of shadows. Compositing images where the light in one piece is harsh with hard shadows and the other where the light is brighter, darker, softer, or in some other way different will be a giveaway of something fishy.

Sometimes you might have to add a shadow manually. Say you’re adding an image of a car to another image of a road. Consider where the shadow of the car would fall relative to the light in the scene. Then blend in some shadows if necessary to make a more convincing photo composite.

Angle

The camera angle and focal length of the lenses used to make the separate shots should match as closely as possible if you want to make convincing photo composites.

A high or low angle background with a differing angle composite overlay isn’t going to look right. This even applies to sky substitutions.

If you want to make photo composites of a landscape and change out the sky for perhaps one that has a nice sunset or better clouds, take a look at the angle of both shots and the focal length of the lenses used.

You’ll be able to tell if something just doesn’t look right.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

A gray rainy day at the Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine. The lighthouse needed a light beam, no? Easy to add one. Convincing? You tell me.

Color

Sometimes this can be the toughest one in getting good convincing photo composites. Images at different times in different locations are almost guaranteed to have slightly different white balances. Mix a cooler piece into a warmer scene, one where the tint is slightly different, or other subtle differences exist, and once again, your viewer will detect that card up your sleeve.

See if you can set a white balance in Lightroom for your base image and then, using the Sync feature, apply that same white balance to your inserted image. Then take both into Photoshop for your compositing work.

Sometimes the best option for avoiding a fight with color differences is to avoid color altogether and go monochrome with your image. A monochrome composite is far easier to pull off than a color one. It’s a good place for beginning “photo magicians” to start.

Image: The moon was in the original shot, but tiny. I enlarged it a bit, but not so much as to be un...

The moon was in the original shot, but tiny. I enlarged it a bit, but not so much as to be unbelievable.

Scale

Pay attention to match the relative size of images in your photo composites. Unless you’re trying to make the model in your shot look like a fairy on that forest log, matching size counts.

The student who missed the group shot of his class, but you later composite him in, probably won’t appreciate it if you make him look like he has a giant head relative to the others in the shot.

Whatever multiple pieces you use to make your image, consider how their relative sizes match.

Image: Fake moon composited in? Not this time. This was a telephoto shot which made the already larg...

Fake moon composited in? Not this time. This was a telephoto shot which made the already large full moon look even bigger.

Anything funny here?

After working to create a convincing photo composite, it can be hard to be objective. You’ve worked hard to get it just right but sometimes may have misgivings about whether everything looks natural.

Or it could be the other way; you’re convinced you’ve created the perfect composite, but have overlooked what to someone else is obvious fakery. This is the time to bring in someone else, someone who has no idea what you’ve been working on, to look at your creation.

Simply ask, “How’s this look?”

Don’t immediately tip them that you did something to the image – see if they detect anything. If they don’t, drill a little deeper.

“See anything unusual?” Pay attention to their answers.

If this is someone who knows your skills, they may suspect you switched out the sky, put that cute bunny in the forest scene, or digitally shaved some pounds from the model. However, even then, they should be able to tell you if your creation is convincing.

Because you can…

The second part of that saying, “…doesn’t always mean you should.”  Or as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, (aka Spiderman), “With great power comes great responsibility.”

With practice, you may become highly skilled at photo composites. Alter a photo, replace the sky, make it jaw-droppingly beautiful, and no one thinks twice. Even fellow photographers marvel over the sunsets you always seem to catch, the great light, the pristine beaches with no footprints, litter, or people. They chalk up your beautiful images to stellar photo skills, hard work, sacrifice, and a healthy dose of good luck. They don’t realize you made your own luck, as well as that incredible ocean sunrise, with creative photo compositing.

Until one day, the truth comes out…

You’re just an average photographer but a great Photoshop artist.

One guy who understands where to draw the line is noted landscape photographer, Nick Page. I once had a chance to interview Nick on the subject of swapping skies in landscape photography. In addition to being an exceptional landscape photographer, Nick is also a gifted editor. If anyone could fool you with a creative composite, Nick could do so easily.

He could, but he doesn’t.

Image: He could, but he doesn’t. His amazing photos are the real deal. Photo by/courtesy of Ni...

He could, but he doesn’t. His amazing photos are the real deal. Photo by/courtesy of Nick Page.

“With my Landscape photography, I have drawn the line in the sand, (in my head anyway), that I will not composite or swap skies.  For me this comes down to two things,” Nick said.

“My favorite part of landscape photography is trying to chase the light, and have that great light line up with a great location.  This takes tons of planning and effort, and I love that aspect of photography.  If I were to start dropping skies into my landscape photos, I would be robbing myself of the joy of “the Chase.”

And the second thing?  “I want people to know and believe the photos I take are real,” said Nick. “So many of the photographers I follow, I can’t always trust that amazing light they always have in their photos.  Yes, it is an art, but I really enjoy the extra effort of trying to get it for real, and I want people to know and trust that I put in that extra effort.”

Image: Creative photo compositing is a fun way to help tell the story.

Creative photo compositing is a fun way to help tell the story.

As easy as a click – the rise of the robots

We’re headed for a major change in photo editing as we enter the dawn of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) age. For some time now, computers have been able to “recognize” images. Tell Google Photos to search the entire internet for photos of even something improbable, green dogs, and it almost instantly finds many. This is not a keyword search; it “recognizes” the image of a dog and the color green and finds the photos.

Facial recognition? Lightroom can do that.

We already see better and better implementations of AI photo editing tools too. How long will it be before an AI editing program can do a better job than you? Maybe that day is almost here.

Fake it to Make it - Creating Convincing Photo Composites

Image: Sky substitution. Soon you’ll do this with one click with the Luminar 4 Sky Replacement...

Sky substitution. Soon you’ll do this with one click with the Luminar 4 Sky Replacement AI tool.

Skylum Software recently announced its new Luminar 4 editing software with “AI Sky Replacement.”  Not only can it replace the sky in a photo, but it also does it with no selections, layers, or masking.  It claims to handle even detailed images such as fine tree branches extending into the sky. And, it goes even a step further, using the colors of the replacement sky to better match the scene.

Mixed emotions

I must confess, I have mixed emotions about software editing tools that better the skills I’ve learned after hundreds of hours slaving over a hot computer [Me too – Editor]. Or that don’t require I earn that great shot by setting the alarm for 4:30, shivering in the pre-dawn cold, and hoping the clouds and color are just right only to be disappointed. One-click to a beautiful shot?

Could I, in good conscience, enter a contest with such a shot and accept an award for “my” image? The one made with artificial intelligence instead of just my intelligence and skills?

Image: The Yellowstone Bison endure harsh winter conditions. Think this one was originally a part of...

The Yellowstone Bison endure harsh winter conditions. Think this one was originally a part of this shot? You’ve been “buffaloed.” Added with compositing.

Photography and “real” art

I have to think that when photography first entered the scene, traditional artists, painters, sketch artists and those who created their art from scratch by hand had to scoff. Photographers had no artistic skills, and they weren’t “real artists.”

Later, we transitioned from purely mechanical cameras to automatic ones and from film to digital. Autofocus? Auto exposure settings? Auto white balance? Pshaw!

How about processing negatives and film in chemical baths, working with negatives and enlargers, dodging and burning with real tools and real photographic paper? Do you say you do that all now in a computer with a few clicks of a mouse? That if you make a mistake, you can simply undo it and not have to throw away your work and start all over?

You call yourself a “real photographer?”

Image: Experiencing the 8/21/17 total eclipse was amazing. I used creative photo compositing to sequ...

Experiencing the 8/21/17 total eclipse was amazing. I used creative photo compositing to sequence my shots for this image.

Image: I made a shot of the forest near Crouch, Idaho the day before the eclipse. The next day I cap...

I made a shot of the forest near Crouch, Idaho the day before the eclipse. The next day I capture the “diamond ring” image of the eclipse. It did look like this, but I’m not sure I could have captured this in one shot. Creative photo compositing.

Conclusion

You get the point.  As technology marches on our tools change, we find easier ways of doing things and more people are able to become involved, not having to spend years learning complex skills.  More people can, with some technological assistance, produce better images.

One last thing to remember however, the human touch, the “soul” of your photography, your personal vision will never be replaced by “artificial” intelligence.  Wise photographers still appreciate the special skills of artists who create beautiful images by hand.  Wise digital photographers still appreciate the skills of analog film photographers who created great photos with very basic equipment.  And, perhaps one day, you and I will appreciate the skills of a robot photographer and an AI editor.  Or maybe not.

 

 

 

The post Fake it to Make it – Creating Convincing Photo Composites appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

Fake it to Make it – Creating Convincing Photo Composites

The post Fake it to Make it – Creating Convincing Photo Composites appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

Photo composites – it used to be said that “the camera never lies.”  We used terms like “photographic evidence,” and “photographic memory.” We believed whatever cameras captured were literal representations of fact depicting exactly what you would have observed had you been a witness to the scene.

Then, as editing techniques improved, photographers learned ways to enhance and even alter images.

Well before the days of digital photography, dodging, burning, airbrushing, layering of negatives, hand-painting, and a host of other “analog methods” were used by skilled photographers seeking to enhance and manipulate their images.  Sometimes this was in the name of art, other times to fool the viewer.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

“Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave.” Assignment – depict a Beatles song title or lyric. I used a photo of a Vermont graveyard, made a shot of myself in the backyard, and with some creative compositing depicted the lyric from “Eleanor Rigby.”

Enter the world of digital photography and desktop editing programs.

It wasn’t long before we used the term “Photoshop” not only as a noun as the tradename of an editing program but as a verb describing the manipulation of an image using that tool.  When we now say an image has been “Photoshopped,” we are saying it has been digitally altered.  The camera might not lie, but the photographer can if they choose.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

It took a while to clone out all the footprints from this shot of Bandon Beach, Oregon.

The ethics of photo alteration

So, is altering your image a bad thing? Unethical?

I’d say that depends on your intent and the context in which you’re using the image. We’ve all heard the term “fake news.” If you are a photojournalist whose job it is to depict a scene truthfully, then the rest of this article is not for you. Move along… “creative photo editing” is totally taboo for you. Enough said.

For the rest of us, is photo manipulation acceptable? How much? What kind? Under what circumstances?

Let’s come back to those questions a little later after we’ve looked at some kinds of photo “enhancements.”

Fake it to Make it - Creating Convincing Photo Composites

creating-convincing-photo-composites

A balloon over Boise, Idaho landmarks. One is composited the other a straight shot. Can you spot the fake?

Bad magic

Have you ever had the misfortunate of watching a really bad magic show, the kind where the unskilled magician clearly doesn’t know his craft and the illusions are obvious? You know, without question, there really was something up his sleeve? Bad photo manipulation is like bad magic; neither should be performed for an audience.

If your techniques aren’t convincing, if the substituted sky doesn’t look right for the scene or the person composited into the group shot looks like you cut him out and pasted him onto the photo, you might not be ready to perform your photo magic. Learn how to do the “trick.” Practice, practice some more and show the result to a single critic. When you finally pass muster, only then show your creation to the masses.

SOOC?

Most of us do at least some standard photo editing. I always smile at those photographers who say with pride their images are “Straight-Out-Of-Camera” (SOOC), unedited. That they always “get it right in the camera.” Really?

Unless you’re making only .jpg images (where the camera itself is doing some editing using the built-in .jpg algorithm), you have a Raw image that needs at least basic editing even to be presentable.

Sure, make the best exposure you can in the camera, frame your shot so no cropping will be needed. Pick a white balance appropriate for the scene – those are all good habits. But having to edit your shot to bring out its best? – That’s only logical, IMHO.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

I had nice shots of a storm over a wheatfield and a good windmill silhouette. Creative photo composite at work.

Creative photo composites

Now we get to what is clearly photo manipulation, the creation of an image from multiple pieces. This is the assembling of a final photo composite from separate shots carefully crafted to make something better than you could make with a single exposure.

Do it well, and you can make scenes that depict your creative vision. Create things of beauty that never were but should have been; landscapes with great clouds, gorgeous sunsets, or maybe portraits done in fields of flowers. Do it well, and people will marvel over your creation, unaware of your magic. Do it poorly, however, and you’ll wind up with a Frankenstein monster, a badly-stitched horror assembled from unmatched pieces and parts.

So let’s look at some things to consider when creating convincing photo composites.

Image: I think the scale looks correct here, but a pilot might say a jet wouldn’t come in like...

I think the scale looks correct here, but a pilot might say a jet wouldn’t come in like this on final approach. Both planes are composited into the sunset shot.

Light and shadow

Let’s use an example where we might add a person to a scene they were not originally in.

You have the image of the scene, and you have a separate image of the person. The first question to ask yourself is, does the light direction match? Look at where the light and shadows fall in both images. If the light in the person image is coming from the left, the light in the background scene must come from the left too. Fail to check this, and even the untrained observer will look at your photo composite image and know something isn’t right, even if they can’t put their finger on it.

Sometimes you can flip the person or the background image so the light direction matches; it depends on the scenes you’re working with. Other times you’ll have to look for a different background with a better match.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

The scale may not be correct, but creative compositing is a new fun way to play with your grandson.Pay close attention to the direction and quality of shadows. Compositing images where the light in one piece is harsh with hard shadows and the other where the light is brighter, darker, softer, or in some other way different will be a giveaway of something fishy.

Sometimes you might have to add a shadow manually. Say you’re adding an image of a car to another image of a road. Consider where the shadow of the car would fall relative to the light in the scene. Then blend in some shadows if necessary to make a more convincing photo composite.

Angle

The camera angle and focal length of the lenses used to make the separate shots should match as closely as possible if you want to make convincing photo composites.

A high or low angle background with a differing angle composite overlay isn’t going to look right. This even applies to sky substitutions.

If you want to make photo composites of a landscape and change out the sky for perhaps one that has a nice sunset or better clouds, take a look at the angle of both shots and the focal length of the lenses used.

You’ll be able to tell if something just doesn’t look right.

creating-convincing-photo-composites

A gray rainy day at the Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine. The lighthouse needed a light beam, no? Easy to add one. Convincing? You tell me.

Color

Sometimes this can be the toughest one in getting good convincing photo composites. Images at different times in different locations are almost guaranteed to have slightly different white balances. Mix a cooler piece into a warmer scene, one where the tint is slightly different, or other subtle differences exist, and once again, your viewer will detect that card up your sleeve.

See if you can set a white balance in Lightroom for your base image and then, using the Sync feature, apply that same white balance to your inserted image. Then take both into Photoshop for your compositing work.

Sometimes the best option for avoiding a fight with color differences is to avoid color altogether and go monochrome with your image. A monochrome composite is far easier to pull off than a color one. It’s a good place for beginning “photo magicians” to start.

Image: The moon was in the original shot, but tiny. I enlarged it a bit, but not so much as to be un...

The moon was in the original shot, but tiny. I enlarged it a bit, but not so much as to be unbelievable.

Scale

Pay attention to match the relative size of images in your photo composites. Unless you’re trying to make the model in your shot look like a fairy on that forest log, matching size counts.

The student who missed the group shot of his class, but you later composite him in, probably won’t appreciate it if you make him look like he has a giant head relative to the others in the shot.

Whatever multiple pieces you use to make your image, consider how their relative sizes match.

Image: Fake moon composited in? Not this time. This was a telephoto shot which made the already larg...

Fake moon composited in? Not this time. This was a telephoto shot which made the already large full moon look even bigger.

Anything funny here?

After working to create a convincing photo composite, it can be hard to be objective. You’ve worked hard to get it just right but sometimes may have misgivings about whether everything looks natural.

Or it could be the other way; you’re convinced you’ve created the perfect composite, but have overlooked what to someone else is obvious fakery. This is the time to bring in someone else, someone who has no idea what you’ve been working on, to look at your creation.

Simply ask, “How’s this look?”

Don’t immediately tip them that you did something to the image – see if they detect anything. If they don’t, drill a little deeper.

“See anything unusual?” Pay attention to their answers.

If this is someone who knows your skills, they may suspect you switched out the sky, put that cute bunny in the forest scene, or digitally shaved some pounds from the model. However, even then, they should be able to tell you if your creation is convincing.

Because you can…

The second part of that saying, “…doesn’t always mean you should.”  Or as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, (aka Spiderman), “With great power comes great responsibility.”

With practice, you may become highly skilled at photo composites. Alter a photo, replace the sky, make it jaw-droppingly beautiful, and no one thinks twice. Even fellow photographers marvel over the sunsets you always seem to catch, the great light, the pristine beaches with no footprints, litter, or people. They chalk up your beautiful images to stellar photo skills, hard work, sacrifice, and a healthy dose of good luck. They don’t realize you made your own luck, as well as that incredible ocean sunrise, with creative photo compositing.

Until one day, the truth comes out…

You’re just an average photographer but a great Photoshop artist.

One guy who understands where to draw the line is noted landscape photographer, Nick Page. I once had a chance to interview Nick on the subject of swapping skies in landscape photography. In addition to being an exceptional landscape photographer, Nick is also a gifted editor. If anyone could fool you with a creative composite, Nick could do so easily.

He could, but he doesn’t.

Image: He could, but he doesn’t. His amazing photos are the real deal. Photo by/courtesy of Ni...

He could, but he doesn’t. His amazing photos are the real deal. Photo by/courtesy of Nick Page.

“With my Landscape photography, I have drawn the line in the sand, (in my head anyway), that I will not composite or swap skies.  For me this comes down to two things,” Nick said.

“My favorite part of landscape photography is trying to chase the light, and have that great light line up with a great location.  This takes tons of planning and effort, and I love that aspect of photography.  If I were to start dropping skies into my landscape photos, I would be robbing myself of the joy of “the Chase.”

And the second thing?  “I want people to know and believe the photos I take are real,” said Nick. “So many of the photographers I follow, I can’t always trust that amazing light they always have in their photos.  Yes, it is an art, but I really enjoy the extra effort of trying to get it for real, and I want people to know and trust that I put in that extra effort.”

Image: Creative photo compositing is a fun way to help tell the story.

Creative photo compositing is a fun way to help tell the story.

As easy as a click – the rise of the robots

We’re headed for a major change in photo editing as we enter the dawn of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) age. For some time now, computers have been able to “recognize” images. Tell Google Photos to search the entire internet for photos of even something improbable, green dogs, and it almost instantly finds many. This is not a keyword search; it “recognizes” the image of a dog and the color green and finds the photos.

Facial recognition? Lightroom can do that.

We already see better and better implementations of AI photo editing tools too. How long will it be before an AI editing program can do a better job than you? Maybe that day is almost here.

Fake it to Make it - Creating Convincing Photo Composites

Image: Sky substitution. Soon you’ll do this with one click with the Luminar 4 Sky Replacement...

Sky substitution. Soon you’ll do this with one click with the Luminar 4 Sky Replacement AI tool.

Skylum Software recently announced its new Luminar 4 editing software with “AI Sky Replacement.”  Not only can it replace the sky in a photo, but it also does it with no selections, layers, or masking.  It claims to handle even detailed images such as fine tree branches extending into the sky. And, it goes even a step further, using the colors of the replacement sky to better match the scene.

Mixed emotions

I must confess, I have mixed emotions about software editing tools that better the skills I’ve learned after hundreds of hours slaving over a hot computer [Me too – Editor]. Or that don’t require I earn that great shot by setting the alarm for 4:30, shivering in the pre-dawn cold, and hoping the clouds and color are just right only to be disappointed. One-click to a beautiful shot?

Could I, in good conscience, enter a contest with such a shot and accept an award for “my” image? The one made with artificial intelligence instead of just my intelligence and skills?

Image: The Yellowstone Bison endure harsh winter conditions. Think this one was originally a part of...

The Yellowstone Bison endure harsh winter conditions. Think this one was originally a part of this shot? You’ve been “buffaloed.” Added with compositing.

Photography and “real” art

I have to think that when photography first entered the scene, traditional artists, painters, sketch artists and those who created their art from scratch by hand had to scoff. Photographers had no artistic skills, and they weren’t “real artists.”

Later, we transitioned from purely mechanical cameras to automatic ones and from film to digital. Autofocus? Auto exposure settings? Auto white balance? Pshaw!

How about processing negatives and film in chemical baths, working with negatives and enlargers, dodging and burning with real tools and real photographic paper? Do you say you do that all now in a computer with a few clicks of a mouse? That if you make a mistake, you can simply undo it and not have to throw away your work and start all over?

You call yourself a “real photographer?”

Image: Experiencing the 8/21/17 total eclipse was amazing. I used creative photo compositing to sequ...

Experiencing the 8/21/17 total eclipse was amazing. I used creative photo compositing to sequence my shots for this image.

Image: I made a shot of the forest near Crouch, Idaho the day before the eclipse. The next day I cap...

I made a shot of the forest near Crouch, Idaho the day before the eclipse. The next day I capture the “diamond ring” image of the eclipse. It did look like this, but I’m not sure I could have captured this in one shot. Creative photo compositing.

Conclusion

You get the point.  As technology marches on our tools change, we find easier ways of doing things and more people are able to become involved, not having to spend years learning complex skills.  More people can, with some technological assistance, produce better images.

One last thing to remember however, the human touch, the “soul” of your photography, your personal vision will never be replaced by “artificial” intelligence.  Wise photographers still appreciate the special skills of artists who create beautiful images by hand.  Wise digital photographers still appreciate the skills of analog film photographers who created great photos with very basic equipment.  And, perhaps one day, you and I will appreciate the skills of a robot photographer and an AI editor.  Or maybe not.

 

 

 

The post Fake it to Make it – Creating Convincing Photo Composites appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

Photoshop Layers for Beginners – What, When and How to Use them Best

The post Photoshop Layers for Beginners – What, When and How to Use them Best appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

photoshop-layers-for-beginners

This introduction to Photoshop Layers for beginners will help you learn a great editing habit. So, what exactly is a Photoshop layer? Quite simply put, if you imagine a stack of transparent paper, each sheet is equivalent to a Photoshop layer. When you add/change/remove any of the layers, what you see at the top of the stack forms your entire image.

The first time you open Photoshop, by default, the layers panel is on the right side of your screen and your image opens as a layer named “Background”. Keep this in mind as you read on.

Photoshop Layers for Beginners – What, When and How to Use them Best

Why use Photoshop Layers?

Now that you have an idea of what a layer is, here is why you should use them:

1. It is a way to work non-destructively

Destructive editing occurs when you move and change the pixels directly in your original image. This happens if you edit your original image/background layer when working in Photoshop. While you can undo your changes, if you exceed the number of “undos” you can apply, those changes commit. Also, you may like some changes, but not others, and there is no way to go back to just that change without undoing other changes you have made too.

Alternatively, when you edit your image on separate layers, both the edited image and the original save (they are saved to a .psd file and this maintains all your layers). This allows you to go back to your original image at any time, simply by hiding layers, or deleting them entirely.  This is a form of non-destructive editing.

One thing to remember, however, is that if you resize your entire document (via menu->image->image resize) at any point, that is a form of destructive editing, and you will lose image quality if you try to resize it back to the original size later.

As your editing style evolves, you will appreciate the option of going back to original images at a later date.

Image: Easily add text without affecting your original image

Easily add text without affecting your original image

2. It allows organized and flexible editing

Photoshop is usually a great option when you want more control over your editing process. While you start off with a certain end result in mind, you may change your mind, during (or even at the completion of) your process. Surely there are better ways than undoing multiple changes or starting over from scratch right?

Enter, layers.

Image: Since your original image is unaffected, you can change the text at a later date

Since your original image is unaffected, you can change the text at a later date

Layers allow you to work with your vision without affecting/destroying the original. Since you can work on each layer separately, you have major flexibility. With layers, you can also combine several images into one (composite), These include (but is not limited to), swapping out elements from your image, changing color, tones, and lighting, adding text and resizing, replacing or rotating an object independent of everything else in your image.

Image: You can use layers to replace a plain sky

You can use layers to replace a plain sky

This non-destructive editing style allows you to undo a change at any point in time, and you have control over each individual layer. This means you can work with different objects and elements of your image without affecting anything else.

How to use Photoshop Layers

If you do not see the Layers Panel on the right-hand of your screen, you need to turn it on. To do so, go to Menu->Window->Layers.

As mentioned before, when you open an image in Photoshop, it opens as a background layer. You will notice that there is a small lock icon on the right side of the background layer. This lock is intended to prevent inadvertent changes.

The first step is usually to duplicate this layer. That way, the background layer remains untouched (original).

Photoshop Layers for Beginners – What, When and How to Use them Best

To start, duplicate your background layer:

  1. Open an image in Photoshop
  2. Right-click on the thumbnail image in your layers panel named “Background,” and choose the duplicate layer option
  3. Click OK. A new layer will appear above your original layer with the default name “Background Copy” – you can rename it to anything you want. I suggest renaming it to something that relates to the changes you are making. This makes it easier to find later if you have many layers.

photoshop-layers-for-beginners

As you become comfortable working with layers, you will find yourself making new layers for each change you want to make e.g. if you are retouching an image or replacing a sky. This comes with the knowledge that, later on, you can adjust the intensity of any of those changes independently.

Image: I used Layers for Sky Replacement, with a Layer Mask to recover the top branches

I used Layers for Sky Replacement, with a Layer Mask to recover the top branches

Adjustment Layers

Photoshop also has another layer type called Adjustment Layers. These layers are not a duplicate of other layers; instead, they adjust the information of the layer directly beneath it. Thus you can simply use an Adjustment Layer to effect change on the image without changing the original layer image. For example, you can increase/decrease the contrast or brightness of your layer.

photoshop-layers-for-beginners

Notice how adjustment layers look different from other layer types. These adjust the layer below them.

Adjustment layers do not actually contain any pixels but instead are a series of instructions for Photoshop on what changes you ask it to make. You can access the Adjustments Layer menu at the bottom of the Layers panel or choose Windows and check the Adjustments option.

Layer Masks

A Layer mask is another non-destructive editing technique in Photoshop, used to control the transparency of the layer you apply it to. An even simpler definition is that a layer mask can make a layer visible or invisible. This is done by painting either white (to make it visible) or black (to make it invisible).

photoshop-layers-for-beginners

Blending Modes

At the upper left corner of the Layers panel is the blend modes drop-down menu. These “modes” are set to Normal by default and control how pixels on the different layers interact with each other. An easy way to understand what the different blending modes do is to duplicate your image (as described above) and cycle through them.

photoshop-layers-for-beginners

An example of how different blend modes change the look and feel of your image: 1. Normal 2. Multiply 3. Soft Light 4. Vivid Light 5. Hue 6. Luminosity

Important layering notes for beginners

When there are several layers, your changes only affect the layer that is active or selected. This is why it is a good practice to name your layer (Step 3 above) based on what you are using the layer for.

You can save the edits as a Photoshop (PSD) file, close it and open it at a later date to find all your layers (and changes) as you left it. Of note, saving it this way increases the size of your file. If you are finished with your edits and don’t need a large PSD file, you can merge all the layers (or flatten the file) and save it to a smaller, more compressed file type, such as a jpeg. Of course, in doing so, you will no longer have the ability to access those individual layers later.

Layers work in order. This means that the layer on top “covers” everything below it. You can, however, reorder your layers by moving them up or down by simply dragging them. Keep in mind that the layer on the top will be most visible.

photoshop-layers-for-beginners

Conclusion

The key thing to remember as a beginner is that Photoshop layers are a recommended non-destructive way to work. It is flexible, which allows you to organize your work, effect change in selected areas, and undo changes easily.

When you do not merge your layers, you can open your Photoshop file years later and make changes, all without affecting your original image.

I hope you can utilize these Photoshop Layers for Beginners tips, and if you have any tips on this topic, please share in the comments below.

The post Photoshop Layers for Beginners – What, When and How to Use them Best appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

Why These are My Favorite Free Online Photo Editing Tools

The post Why These are My Favorite Free Online Photo Editing Tools appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

free-online-photo-editing-tools

Are you looking for a way to keep your photography workflow going without your computer? Fortunately, there are some free online photo editing tools that can help you out. Here are a few of my favorites and why.

Maybe you’re traveling light or your computer doesn’t have enough capacity? Perhaps it just crashed and you sent it to get fixed? Whatever the reason, sometimes you just can’t work with downloadable programs.

Browser Photo Editors

But there are no more excuses because here are some great browser tools to solve your needs regardless of your level of expertise.

Google Photos

With Google Photos, you can have unlimited storage in their Cloud, but your photos and videos are limited to 16 MP in their file size. If you store files that are bigger than that, it eats into your Google Drive quota. Still, you can back up or share your images from anywhere you have Internet access.

If you want to learn more about protecting your work, check the article Are Your Photo Backups Rock Solid?

Back up, storage, archiving, organizing

Archiving

In order to keep track of all these images, you can organize them by album. But in case you haven’t gotten around to doing it, you can find them by type: video, movie, animations, collages or photos. Furthermore, you can search for them by the things or places featured in them, even if you didn’t tag them.

Albums, Artificial Intelligence, Face recognizion, Format

You can use Google Photos for free; all you need is to have a Google account. In this day and age, most of us already have one anyway.

Features

You can also create photo books to print directly from Google Photos. Other features include movies, collages, and animations.

print, buy, checkout, photobook, photoalbum

It includes some photo editing tools, but it’s mostly filters and very basic adjustments. If you need to do further edits, I suggest to move on to my next favorite on the list.

Fotor

Fotor is a photo editing and graphic design platform that you can use online or download it to your desktop. There is a free version or a paid pro version. The tools available depend on which of these combinations you’re using. Here, I’ll talk, as the title says, of the free online one.

interface, user experience, home page

Photo editing

I like the Fotor editor because it offers a good balance between customizable adjustments and one-click effects. If you want to do some controlled editing, just go to the Basic tab. If you prefer presets, go to Effects and Beauty. In these last ones, you’ll find some free choices and some premium ones.

post-production, photo-retouching,photo-editing

Collage

For the collage feature, it offers many more designs than Google Photos. There are four main categories, and each one has a series of templates. What I find particularly useful is Photo Stitching. With this, you can create a panorama by ‘stitching’ many images into one.

Collage, Montage, Design tools

Graphic Design

However, my favorite part is the ability to do graphic design. From a thank you card to a brochure, you can easily customize the templates with your photos. You can then adjust colors, fonts, and stickers to your liking.

The templates also cover any social media needs as well as the more traditional formats. Some are free and some you have to get the paid subscription.

Design, marketing, templates, social media, documents

Storage

If you decide to create an account, you also have free storage in the cloud for your photos and any work you make in Fotor. And, of course, if you go for the paid version, the storage space increases.

Pixlr

Pixlr is a browser photo editor that offers different versions to fit your needs. Again, there are different versions available that offer certain levels of functionality and effects.

The free Pixlr Express is very basic – not much more than any other editor.

Still free, the Pixlr Editor allows you to do more controlled and personalized edits and is the one I prefer to use.

Pixlr X, which is a blend of the first two, is the paid version, and it comes with more professional features.

interface, homepage, photo editor

Pixlr Editor

The interface is similar to Photoshop or GIMP, to explore these more in-depth, you can check my previous articles: A Brief Introduction to GIMP and How to Set Up the Photoshop Interface.

You’ll find a tool panel on the left side, the canvas for your image in the middle, and the panels for history, layers and other options on the right.

photo retouching, adjustments, photo editing

Tools

You have all the adjustments you need to correct and fine-tune your image and filters and effects for you to choose from. It also includes two of my most important tools when doing photo retouching – layers and masks.

layers, photo editing, black and white

Conclusion

I hope you liked my list of favorite free online photo editing tools. Remember, there are many solutions out there that are free. I’ll leave you some related articles in case you want to explore some more tools and software.

Please, also share your favorite free online photo editing tools with us in the comments section.

Related Topics:

Your Comprehensive Guide to Photography Post-Processing Software

3 Alternative Post-Processing Applications that Challenge the Adobe Throne

Tips on Choosing a Free Photo Editor for Post-Processing

Free Versus Paid Photography Portfolio Websites – Which is Best for you?

36 of the Best Online Tools to Boost Your Photography Business

The post Why These are My Favorite Free Online Photo Editing Tools appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

The post 10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

photoshop-cc-shortcuts-list

Learning photography well requires a lot of study and practice. Figuring out what the dials and buttons on your camera do takes time and focus. Choosing what to photograph and how you want it to look is challenging for many photographers.

Once you’ve taken some photos, another challenge to face is how to get them looking their best. This is where you need to learn a whole new set of computer skills. The more particular you are about the way your photos end up, the better post processor you need to become.

photoshop-cc-shortcuts-list

Adobe makes two of the most popular photography post-processing programs. Lightroom and Photoshop have been industry standards for many years. As the software develops, it becomes more and more complex. There are many built-in tools to make the user experience more fun. But to make use of them you will need to study and practice.

Photoshop CC Shortcuts

Making the most of your keyboard is about the best way to ensure not only greater speed, but more enjoyment when using Photoshop. The software has many cool shortcut keys that speed up your workflow. They also help you maintain unbroken concentration when you are working on a photograph.

With so many shortcuts, it’s not practical to sit down and learn them all at once. Looking at them in the software does little to inspire. This is why I’ve come up with a list of ten Photoshop CC shortcuts that I think you will find helpful.

From time to time, I make a point of learning a few more. I’ll search for five to ten shortcuts and make a list. I place this next to my computer monitor and refer to it when Photoshopping.

If you’re not used to using keyboard shortcuts with Photoshop, they might seem a bit fiddly at first. Like learning to touch type, the more you practice, the easier it becomes, and the less you have to think about where you are putting your fingers. Learning to use shortcut keys in Photoshop is a similar experience, but you can easily break it down and learn a few at a time.

1. Clone Stamp Tweaks

The clone stamp is one of the most used tools in Photoshop. It’s powerful and flexible to do everything from removing small blemishes to recreating whole portions of a composition. Here’s a couple of keyboard shortcuts that make it even more useful.

Use Alt+Shift+arrows (Opt+Shift+arrows on Mac) to offset the selection area.

Alt+Shift+<> (Opt+Shift+<> on Mac) rotates the selection

Using [] scales the source.

These shortcuts only work when you have a North American keyboard selected in your operating system.

photoshop-cc-shortcuts-list

2. Last-Used Filter

When you’re processing batches of images, you’ll often want to repeatedly use the same filter. To apply the previously used filter, use Ctrl+F (Cmd+F on Mac). Reapply the last filter used, but display dialog box to alter settings use Ctrl–Alt–F (Cmd+Opt+F on Mac)

photoshop-cc-shortcuts-list

3. Lock Transparent Pixels

In Photoshop, using the / key locks transparent pixels. This is helpful when painting or compositing. Working on a layer with transparent pixels, you will avoid affecting them using the keyboard shortcut.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

4. Color Fills

Use Shift+Alt+Backspace (Shift+Opt+Backspace on Mac). This fills opaque pixels on a layer with the foreground color. Shift+Ctrl+Backspace (Shift+Cmd+Backspace on Mac) fills with the background color.

photoshop-cc-shortcuts-list

5. Marquee Tool Tweak

Drawing a marquee by default happens from the edge. To draw a marquee selection from center Alt+drag (Opt+drag on Mac)selection.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

6. Selection Help

To bring back a selection you deselected, use Ctrl+Shift+D (Cmd+Shift+D on Mac). This will restore the last active selection. It is super helpful if you deselect and then notice something else you need to alter.

photoshop-cc-shortcuts-list

7. Layer Mask Speed

Ctrl+\ (Cmd+\ on Mac) switches between Layer and Layer Mask Ctrl+2 (Cmd+2 on Mac) to switch back. This is a pure workflow time saver. It allows you to keep your mouse active on the image rather than dragging it back and forth to the layers panel.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

8. Brush Tool Cursor

With the Brush Tool selected hitting the Caps Lock shows only the cross-hair cursor. This allows you to position your cursor more precisely. It’s also a good shortcut to know how to undo. If you’ve inadvertently turned caps lock on while using the Brush Tool, you may wonder why you can only see a crosshair. Hit the caps lock again, and your normal cursor will reappear.

photoshop-cc-shortcuts-list

9. Revert to Last Saved

F12 reverts the file to the last saved instance of it. This is a quick and easy way to review changes you are making to an image.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

10. Screen Space Savers

F keys to show/Hide panels. Memorizing these keyboard shortcuts will give you so much more screen space to use. If you are confined to a single monitor, making use of these shortcuts can change the way you use Photoshop.

F5 – Show/Hide Brushes panel

F6 – Show/Hide Color panel

F7 – Show/Hide Layers panel

F8 – Show/Hide Info panel

Alt–F9 – Show/Hide Actions panel

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

Conclusion

I suggest you use this list as a starting point. Not all these shortcuts will be helpful for everyone. Think about the actions you use repetitively when using Photoshop and search to discover if there are keyboard shortcuts to make your life simpler.

Making a note and keeping it near your computer will help you commit these shortcuts to memory. Once you have them, do some more research and make another list of shortcuts you’d like to learn. Making a concerted effort and being consistent with using these shortcuts, you will learn them quickly.

There are over 500 keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop. Master these, and then you can also customize your own.

If you’ve got a few favorite shortcuts you think others may not be aware of, please share them in the comments below.

 

The post 10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

The post How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

how-to-make-your-images-have-fall-vibes

With Fall fast approaching, we will soon be surrounded by beautifully warm-colored leaves and vegetation, filling the air with the sweet scent of Autumn. This is a photographer’s paradise, especially the ones who are also social media mavens following artistic trends. But what if you, like me, are not so lucky to live in a place that actually has seasons?! I live in Southern California, and finding trees that actually change color is…pretty uncommon, to say the least. So what are lonesome Californians to do?! Turn to post-processing, to make your images have fall vibes!

What defines a Fall or Autumn vibe in images?

how-to-make-your-images-have-fall-vibes

All there is to portraying specific ideas or ‘vibes’ are color. We associate colors with seasons, inspired by the colors that nature gives us during those times (in locations that actually have seasons. Is my bitterness over Southern California’s lack of seasons showing yet?!). Winter tends to be cold and blue, Spring is rainbow and vibrancy, Summer is warm greens, and Autumn is oranges, reds, and yellows.

Although you can sit there for several hours and recolor every leaf into a different Autumn color, for the most part, Fall vibes can be achieved by playing with and removing colors that are associated with the seasons we are not trying to mimic. Fall is warm and full of reds, oranges, yellows, and more rustic tones.

How to make your images have fall vibes in post-processing

Taken this summer, this is the base image we will be working with to show you how to make your images have fall vibes. I find that images with very shallow depth of field (like the one below) are a bit easier to work with when altering their colors.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

For the sake of explanation, the edits shown below are quite extreme. Use your judgment and personal taste to determine how far you take them.

Also, the tutorials I am listing below use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. However, they can easily apply to other editing software too as many feature similar options and sliders. Even the free mobile version of Photoshop and Lightroom have these sliders.

Adobe Lightroom

I turn to Lightroom for these kinds of color adjustments because it’s quite quick and simple to do. You can also copy the settings and apply them to an entire batch of images rather than having to do each one by one. Our final image will look like this:

how-to-make-your-images-have-fall-vibes

The HSL Panel

The HSL panel is the first panel I go to when I want to create a summer vibe in my photographs. Conveniently, this is one of the first open panels in Lightroom.

HSL stands for “Hue, Saturation, and Luminance,” and is a panel box in Adobe Lightroom (with similar panels in other programs). I like to say that this is the panel that adjusts each of the colors individually. Each slider is divided by colors: red, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, purple, and magenta.

Hue is the color. On a technical term, the hue is the wavelength of the light reflected. This describes why an object that is a solid color appears different depending on the amount of light that hits it. On the HSL panel, the Hue slider can change how specific colors look. For example, the reds can be made to be more orange in color or more red.

Saturation determines how intense a color is. Pulling the slider to the left makes the color more gray, pulling the slider to the right makes it more true to pure tone.

Luminance lightens or darkens a specific color. Luminance refers to the reflective brightness of colors. I use this slider to make colors that are a bit too light, much darker in photographs so that they don’t stand out to the eye too much.

With the image above, our primary objective is to change the green to more fall colors. In this case, I will make the green more orange. I can achieve this by adjusting the Green color slider under ‘Hue’ and subsequently adjusting the colors surrounding the green. The awesome thing about sliders is that you have full control.

Next, I drop down to saturation and adjust how true to tone each color is and decreasing the color we want to remove altogether (for example, the green).

Finally, with the Luminance slider, I brighten up all of the warmth we have put into the photograph.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

Split toning

If you find solely using the HSL sliders isn’t enough, you can add more of the color you want using the Split Toning menu. Split Toning is located right below HSL.

Split Toning is just toning applied to different areas of luminance. You can color your shadows with one color, and your highlights with another. In this case, I toned both the highlights and the shadows to bring even more warmth into the image.

When I do Split Toning, to make it easy to see what I am doing, I bring the Saturation up to its maximum 100 value point and then click on the little color rectangle next to Highlights and then next to Shadows. Clicking this rectangle brings up a color selection box. I then select the color I am interested in and proceed to significantly lower the sliders until I achieve the shadow or highlight coloration I desire.

The settings I used for the image above are these:

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

Masks

If you’re following along in your own editing program, you may find that making all of these color adjustments have now impaired parts of our image that you may not want to be colored like that. In my photo, the whites of the dog became far too yellow for my liking. You can use Masks to remedy this by selecting the parts of the image you do not want the effect applied to.

Locate Masks at the very top of the right-hand tabs when clicking “Develop.” I like to use the Adjustment Brush which is the long selectable line directly under “Histogram” in the screenshots below.  Then, you paint on the image and can make adjustments on the painted section independent from the overall image. In this case, I removed the warm effect from the dog and brightened the dog a bit. The red haze shows you where you applied the mask.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes how-to-make-your-images-have-fall-vibes

Adobe Photoshop

There are many, many, many different methods of achieving the same end result in Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop is a large, and at times, complex program. To keep it simple, I’ll explain my favorite color adjustment methods similar to the adjustments in Adobe Lightroom. For another example of a Fall-vibe in a more muted tone than the edit above, we will replicate the image featured below:

how-to-make-your-images-have-fall-vibes

Before we even get started, in the Layers panel, duplicate the Background (main) layer and work on that. As a rule of thumb, never work on the original layer and make all adjustments on a new layer. This helps you remedy mistakes, give you the flexibility to change your mind, and use masks to remove the effect from the parts of the image it shouldn’t apply to!

Hue/Saturation

The term ‘saturation’ in general describes the level at which something is absorbed. For example, a sponge heavily saturated with water. In photography, saturation refers to how pure a color is. How red is red? How blue is blue? You can imagine a color  “absorbed” in the photograph like a sponge, with a higher saturation resulting in a more significant color.

Hue is a color attribute that explains how discernible a color is to its true color (for example, how green is the green?). Hue is based on color wavelength and is completely independent of a color’s lightness or darkness and intensity.

You can use the Hue/Saturation slider in the Image > Adjustments window!

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

Where it says “Master” (which will adjust everything simultaneously) you can select individual colors to adjust. This is great to use on images that don’t involve a lot of color variation.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

Selective Color

The Selective Color in Photoshop (also located in Image -> Adjustments) is similar to the HSL sliders in Lightroom. Selective Color allows you to modify each color (located in the drop-down menu under “Color”) by either adding or decreasing CMYK colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). CMYK is the color mode that a printer operates in.

I like using Selective Color with images that feature a lot of white because I don’t necessarily want my whites toned the same as the rest of my image. You can adjust the white itself in Selective Color, which is pretty cool. This allows me to keep the white dog more authentic to the original rather than making the Great Dane orange.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes how-to-make-your-images-have-fall-vibes

Color Balance

Another way to adjust the colors in the image is by utilizing the Color Balance sliders. This can also be located under Image -> Adjustments. Color balance is the global adjustment of the intensity of the colors. This what I use the most when trying to create some fall vibes in my photographs.

I prefer this method because it’s the fastest slider set to use – but the end result does tend to look a lot like a filter. If that’s the look you’re going for; awesome! But if not, Selective Color may be of better use to you.

how-to-make-your-images-have-fall-vibes

Conclusion

Whatever method you implore to make your images more Autumn oriented, enjoy those warm fall vibes and glow up that Instagram feed!

Do you have other tips on giving your images fall vibes? Try these methods and share your images with us in the comments below!

The post How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

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