I travel a lot and photography not only complements my desire to travel but also provides me a canvas to relish the memories from each trip. In one such trip I had taken a few “off the hook” pictures, one of which was of my fellow railfan – Raj Kumar Sharma. My intention was to depict his enthusiasm towards rail photography. The other day he asked me, “can you change the color of the image and make it more natural?”. The image had a uneasy hint of orange and I thought why not add another angle to this picture as well.
Where do I start? Of course, the natural winner was Adobe Photoshop and in all these years, this neat program has been a life saver for me. So here is a step-by-step guide to the final outcome.
First I opened the original image in Photoshop. I created 2 more layers so that I can play safe and not lose my original image. Created layers by Selecting the image (CTRL A) – Copy (CTRL C) – (CTRL V)
I will usefor all my experiments.
Next I play around with shadow or highlights. Image>Adjustments>Shadow/Highlight
This is how it looks.
You can see how using Shadow/Highlight has made the image sharper and clearer.
TIP: If you increase the amount of shadows to more than 50% then it will produce a washed out effect. For this picture, I don’t need a washed out effect.
At this point you can increase the input levels for RGB. Image>Adjustments>Levels. It should be as below.
Next, I create a copy of Layer 2. I can do that by selecting Layer 2 and drag it to the bottom of the layers palette to the “create a new layer” tool.
Automatically, it created a copy named “Layer 2 copy“. Now I am going to focus all my attention to this layer only.
Note: Make sure Layer 2 is also visible.
Now my intention is to show everyone what my friend is really trying to capture i.e: the subject. In this case, the subject is a train on a curve. Thankfully, I had a taken a picture of the train on the curve as well. So I open the picture in Photoshop and copy the image into the existing file and it becomes ““.
I need to now make the image smaller and place it into the lense of the camera. First, I decrease the opacity of Layer 3 to 50%.
Then I reduce the size of the image: Edit>Transform>Scale
I make it small enough to fit it into the lens. Since the opacity is 50%, I can see both the images.
I increase the opacity of Layer 3 to 100%. Once this is done, I look at the image. I still need to make it look natural. There is too much orange in the picture. I select Layer 2 copy.
Now I crop the picture so that there are no extra spaces on either sides and the focus of the viewer remains on the camera and the lens.
To add a little sharpness to the image, I use contrast. Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast