Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Playing with photography

Here's a confession. I may be addicted to photoshop.

One of my favorite things to do is going over some older pictures and playing with them in post-processing - trying adding sepia, exclusion blue, and gradient layers on the picture to get a moody or somber feel. As with any of my experiments, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Here's what I do:

1) Do all the initial work in camera raw (white balance, exposure, contrast, and whatever else I think it needs)

2) Always working in different layers, I adjust the levels and color curves.

3) I usually start with gradient map layers and add at least two. Then I tweak the style (overlay and soft light are two favorites, but I always try multiples to see what works for me)

4) Depending on what mood I'm looking for I'll add an exclusion blue or sepia layers on top for a soft, older feel.

Here are some examples of what I mean.

For these two pictures of downtown Boston, I added two gradient layers - one BW and one copper - then adjusted their opacity and style. And then I added an exclusion blue layer on top. The only difference between the top and the bottom is that for the top I used BW gradient layer in hard light, and for the bottom I used screen. And just for comparison, here's one without the exclusion blue layer and the original respectively.

And more example, because... like I said... photoshop owns me.

the original

Two gradient maps and exclusion blue layer (she looked a little orange so...)

Different shade of exclusion blue

With an added vignette

"Ma'am, step away from the photoshop, now, before anyone else gets hurt."


  1. Photoshop is fun!

    Yes, but you know - in the north of Sweden when I´m raised, the sun never goes down during the summer. It´s called Midnight sun and busloads of tourists come every year to see that. It´s lovely actually, you get a lot of energy! :-)

  2. where I´m raised of course, not when. Was in a hurry! :-D

  3. Wow, your editing enhanced these photos so much-they were cool originally, but with the editing they are awesome!