Post processing in Photoshop
This is a continuation from the process I started in the RAW tutorial. Once again I would emphasise that this is how I do it, I make no claims as to whether this way is right or wrong, I just hope that it will give some pointers to those who are feeling their way a bit. And please, if anyone has any different ways of doing things then please feel free to add them.
I will continue with the photo which I had converted from RAW
The first thing to work on is the Brightness and Contrast. So first make a duplicate of your image by dragging the 'Background' image down to the 'Layers' icon in the tool bar of the Layers Palette.
Once the layer is duplicated I make a decision whether the photo has different needs in different areas. In this photo the grass needs to be more defined and slightly greener, whereas the sky, although more detail would be good, greener wouldn't, so I make a selection with the 'Magic Wand' of the entire sky. The selection can be inverted so that the 'land' can be treated separately from the sky. So sky first - we need to go to 'Image' > 'Adjustments' > then down the menu to 'Shadow/Highlights'.
The new menu that opens will look like this
Move all the sliders to the far left to give you zeros for all readings.
You can see above the settings that I have used for the sky in the above image, but each image will be different. (And possibly parts of the image!). When you are happy with this section click OK. I then invert the selection to give me a 'land section active' and again move the sliders to zero and make adjustments as necessary to the lower part of the image. Of course this part may not be necessary if you have a very homogenous image - a field of flowers for instance with no sky.
So when you are satisfied with your result click on OK.
You may at this point be happy with the result or you may feel that the colour is not quite right to how you remember it. We can correct this by using 'Colour Balance', so again 'Image' > 'Adjustments' > 'Colour Balance'
This time we have colour sliders. And you will see that I have still got the selection on the land active.
At the bottom of this you will see 'Shadows', 'Midtones', 'Highlights'. You can influence the colour in each of these categories, but it is useful to have some idea of colour mixing as often a move to one colour or another has a different action on the image to what may be expected. For instance if your clouds are blue rather than grey adding more red will turn them grey, not necessarily moving the blue slider, so it is a good idea to experiment with the sliders, moving them slowly, and with the preview window ticked you can see exactly the effect that each move makes on the image. Most images need very little in the way of adjustment so huge moves really will make the image a different colour whereas small moves will add to detail, light, and shadow.
When these adjustments were completed my picture looked like this
and a final check on the histogram where overall lightness and shadow can be checked. This histogram accompanies the 'Levels' Adjustment. As with the RAW conversion, placing the cursor on the right little white arrow and pressing 'Alt' will reveal any blown highlights, and on the left black arrow and 'Alt' will reveal any underexposed dark areas.
A tweak in Curves will emphasise the new highlights and shadows - giving more contrast.
And if you have one colour which seems to be a bit too prominent then a slight desaturation on that colour will correct it
clicking on the little arrow (where my image says Blue) will give you a list of the colours and using the saturation slider and moving to the left will remove any slight colour cast there might be.
Hope this helps.
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