I am going to show you how I edited one of my favorite photos (from a mini session, actually!) that I took last year. It is very typical of my editing style and uses one of my favorite “tricks” that a lot of people don’t know about. If you love that vintagey, muted look that is so popular right now, you are going to want to read this!
This is the almost SOOC (straight out of camera) image. The only thing I did was sharpen and resize it for web viewing and slap my watermark across it.
Then I ran one of my favorite actions, The Shire.
I then did a blue levels layer, a color balance layer, and a fuchsia and purple gradient map.
At this point, it was a little cool for my taste so I used a curves layer to warm it up (open up the red channel and drag the middle up, open the blue channel and drag the middle down). It is very subtle here; I’m not sure if you will be able to see much difference due to image compression.
Here is where it gets good! I used a luminosity selection (basically selecting only the highlights in the image) on an exclusion layer. This probably sounds like Greek to most of you, which is why I am about to whip out my handy dandy screenshots!
Okay, first we are going to do a luminosity selection. To do this on Photoshop CS3 or below, use ctrl+shift+alt+tilde (that little squiggly line that looks like this: ~); if you are using CS4 or CS5, you will need ctrl+alt+shift+2. After you make your luminosity selection, you should see a bunch of marching ants along the brighter parts of your photo.
Now we are going to create a solid color layer. Go to the new layer button at the bottom of the layers palate (as seen here) and select solid color. You can also go to the layers tab at the top and go to “new fill layer” and select solid color.
When you create a solid color layer, this box is going to pop up. To get the effect that I did in this picture, be sure to select a deep navy blue and click ok.
Now we are going to change the layer mode to exclusion. You will also want to lower your opacity; typically I like 30% but you should play around with it to see what suits your photo and tastes best.
After doing a slight eye pop, here is the finished product!