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Some of you might remember my blog from last year about my attempt of a portrait of Joy in tricky light condition and how I solved it with a fill flash and a head shot. Here's the blog from last year:
And here is the photo I 'discarded' then because the sky is washed out:
Having learned some additional ways on how to use PS, I tried to edit this photo. As I always shoot RAW (Nikon NEF), I get to PS RAW converter when opening a photo.
On the screenshot below, you can see that I have all settings on 0, except brightness on +25 (I learned that in a tutorial and will just use it for now) and WB as shot (including temperature and tint). On the histogram (top right), I already clicked on the yellow icon and the washed out highlights are now marked red on my photo:
On my next screenshot, you can see that I changed the exposure just to the point where my red markings disappear, which gives me a value of -0.24. That's not too bad; that is less than a third of an f-stop. Of course, if that sky would have been totally washed out, I could have just trashed the photo or cropped it.
I also have already used the straighten tool (top bar, to the right of the crop tool) and have drawn a line over my horizon to keep the water in the ocean :-). When you let go of the cursor, you automatically get to the crop tool and find a corrected rectangle. Just double click the photo and then open your image:
The sky is now visible everywhere but you might like it to be a bit more dramatic. One of the most important thing in PS is to understand the work with layers. So the first thing I do is, I duplicate the layer. A window does now appear and calls the new layer 'Background copy' - I changed it to 'sky'. On that layer (make sure it is highlighted blue; on the right side) I select the sky with the selection tool (left, about fourth from top). You can also save your selection for further use and give it a name. Next time you want to work on it just go to load selection (again make sure the layer your selection is on, is highlighted blue).
Before you save your selection, you can smoothen it by clicking 'refine edge' (top bar). A pop-up window appears. At the top of that window, you see a black arrow on blue ground; click on it and choose 'on black'. Then with your cursor 'paint' over the black edge and when you're done, click ok. On the next screenshot you can see where my cursor was - just right of the background mountain. Refining your edge is very important for instance when you want to separate Setter hair from a sky background!
You can now for instance just darken your sky by adjusting the brightness (adjustments/first icon) - only the selected area will be affected!
When your done merge the sky and the background layer or your file will become too large (depending how many layers you've created). Click on both to highlight them (not the brightness layer), go to layer menu (top bar) and merge layers (near the bottom).
I have worked with many more layers on this photo and changed contrast, colour, tone in sections but thought of just showing how a selection could be made on a seperate layer and used for something like the sky - or else this blog would have never ended... :-). I hope this was helpful. Come and join us on Camera Corner...