At the beginning of June, I attended a Photography gathering in Banff, which is in Alberta, Canada. It was absolutely breathtaking. Snow covered mountain tops everywhere. And since I live in Michigan, it wasn’t like anything I get to see often.
I took this shot from the hotel. Yes, this really was our view! This photo is beautiful, but the trees in the foreground were dark and the photo lacked contrast.
Above is the original photo, straight out of camera. It just needed a lift.
- To enhance the color of the sky, I used “Sky is Bluer Illusion” – a Photoshop action that makes blue skies even bluer. This is included in the Bag of Tricks action set. It was way too intense for the look I wanted so I adjusted the opacity to 34%. I could have created a really crazy, intense blue sky otherwise, but I still wanted it to look real.
- I wanted some contrast, but with flat photos like this it’s very hard to add contrast. What happens usually… the dark areas get even darker, almost like a blob. So, I needed to just affect the mid-tones. I used “Magical Clarity” from the Bag of Tricks set – this action adds mid-tone contrast in Photoshop.
- I did not love the color of the trees in this image. I felt they were too deep green. I used the “Grass is Greener” action from the Bag of Tricks, to paint on a richer, more vibrant color green. The layer opacity was at 67%, but I only painted the green on at 16%. The effect was subtle, but added to the photo.
- The last things I wanted to do all had to deal with lightening and darkening. The tree area looked too dark. I fixed this by using “Peek-a-Boo” from the Complete Workflow set. This action finds the shadow areas and lightens them. I lowered the opacity of this layer to 64%.
- Then I used the free Photoshop action, “Touch of Light/Touch of Darkness” to finish the photo. With the lightness layer selected, and using a low opacity brush, I painted on the trees, one side of each to add dimension. Then with the darkness layer selected, I painted on the sky to deepen the color a bit.
The whole edit took about 3 minutes. And the result is below: