Before and After

Mixing Filters and Styles on your image

For me Lightroom is my first port of call when processing an image.  I like its simplicity, its versatility and for me the easiest post processing software to use. My main aim of using Photoshop is to remove elements that you can’t remove in Lightroom.

img_5788-hdr

The above photograph was created by using Lightroom’s HDR feature.  Once the HDR image was created I immediately sent the image to Photoshop to remove some of the distractions, mainly the people standing just above the water cascade.

This was done easily in Photoshop using the Spot Healing Tool.. I could have sent the photograph back into Lightroom but I wanted to use some filters I have the first Filter I used was Nik Collection Color Efex Pro.

after-color-efex-pro-4

I wanted to warm the photograph up so in the Nik Software I used two filters one a Warmth Filter and the second a Soft Focus Filter.  I then saved my image in Nik and it was Imported back into Photoshop.  Using a mask I faintly removed this filter from the steps of the water cascade.  I didn’t like the sky so it was off to Topaz Texture Effects 2 to add a Preset I downloaded.

after-topaz-texture-effects-2

Again this gave my photograph a warm look and once again I removed the Filter effect slightly from the steps of the water cascade.  I did no more in Photoshop so I saved my image in Photoshop and it was automatically sent back into Lightroom.  And this was the image I was going to use for all of my compositions.

I have a few presets in Lightroom which I use on a regular basis… some I have altered to suit my style of editing… others I just use as a starting point.

My first composition was to create a warm looking photograph

Water Cascade

I liked the golden tones and the green and how soft those weeping willows were.  In Lightroom I then created a virtual copy of this photograph, reset the image back to the original import and then added a warmer looking Preset which added a reddish tint to the image which created my second composition.

For my third composition, I then did the same as before… made a virtual copy.. reset the image in the Develop Module and then added a Preset I modified from an original Preset from Serge Ramelli where it involved using lots of radial filters to add lights to the photograph.

This gave the image a dreamy like effect to the image.  For my fourth and last composition I then decided to use a Preset which I use primarily as a starting point for Black and White Photos.

Throughout my processing of this photograph I wanted to keep a soft looking feel to the trees whilst keeping clarity to the water cascade and the elements that were in the water.

You don’t have to stick to one filter… you can mix and match.. and I love the versatility of all these Filters/Plugins.  If it wasn’t for having to use Photoshop to remove certain elements, I could have processed this photo by only using Lightroom and Topaz Labs Software and Nik Collection Software work both in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Mix and match is the order of the day for me today… I have loved using these software programmes with each other.  And if you don’t like what one programme has done.. and you are using Photoshop just duplicate your final image layer and try another combination of the various presets within each plugin/filter.

Just one little tip.. normally in Photoshop once I have finished my spot removal which I do on a duplicate of the original image.. I then press Control + Alt + Shit +E which merges all my previous layers together.  It is this new layer, that I have just created, that I duplicate before applying a Preset/Filter and once I have created my new duplicate layer for that particular plugin I name the layer to tell me which Plugin/Filter I used.  I didn’t do it for this image simply because I knew that I was definitely using the soft focus from the Nik Collection to create the soft dreamy look to the image.

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Before and After

The power of texture

A photograph of one of the paths that winds through the estate at Nymans in West Sussex
A photograph of one of the paths that winds through the estate at Nymans in West Sussex

 

It was cold, it was murky and the sky was absolutely dreadful.. it was dismal and there wasn’t any clouds that gave drama to the sky… but even with the sky as dismal as it was.. I still liked the photo… so what do I do with it?  Of course, at a texture and use Topaz Texture Effects 2 to create the sky I wanted.  Here is my processing technique for this photograph..

  • Opened image in Lightroom,
  • Exported Image to Photoshop
  • Removed lone twig in sky with spot removal
  • Removed object in the middle of the path
  • Tided up image with spot removal tool
  • Filled in the path so it was all shingle looking.
  • Duplicated Layer and changed blending mode Overlay 50% Opacity
  • Added a Colour Lookup Adjustment Layer
  • Added a Hue and Saturation Layer and played around with the colours to enhance the fall colours.
  • Edited the Photo in Topaz Texture Effects and added a texture to the sky.
  • Saved image back into Lightroom
  • Added a Preset which added many little lights created by radial filters, to the photograph
  • Deleted the radial filters I did not want
  • Used the Local Adjustment Brush to add adjustments to the trees and add a blue tint to the sky.
  • Auto straightened the photo
  • Played around with basic settings
  • Added gradient filters to the top and sides, which decreased the brightness and added a coloured tone to them.
  • Added gradient filter to lighten the bottom of the photograph.
  • Exported to hard drive.

Here is the image SOOC

SOOC
SOOC
Before and After

Topaz Texture Effects Comparison – SOOC -vs – Lightroom…

Well today is day 6 of my Topaz Texture Effects ‘trial before buy’ challenge.  So for this challenge I thought I would do a complete comparison of using Lightroom and Topaz Effects and just using Topaz Effects.

This is the image I started out with… which was taken at Inveruglas on the edge of Loch Lomond in Scotland.

SOOC
SOOC

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Processing Technique

 

 Step 1 – Basic Adjustment Layer
  • Open image in Lightroom and Edited In Topaz Texture Effects without any Lightroom Adjustments using the SOOC image.
  • Add Basic Adjustment Layer – adjusted sliders.

 

step-1-basic-adjustment-custom

 

Step 2 – Added Texture Adjustment
  • Using one of my own textures I added a brown/cream tinted texture

 

step-2-texture-custom

 

  • Enabled Masking and used the luminosity masking option

 

step-3-luminosity-masking-of-texture-custom

 

Step 3 – Added Blue Texture to Water
  • Added blue texture

 

step-4-adding-blue-texture-to-water-custom

  • Enabled masking and used luminosity masking

 

step-5-luminosity-to-blue-texture-custom

 

 

Step 3 – Added Vignette
  • Added a vignette using these settings

 

step-6-vignette-custom

 

 

Step 4 Added a Basic Adjustment
  • Added a basic adjustment for Toning with these settings

 

step-7-basic-adjustment-toning-final-image-custom

 

 

Step 5 – Added a Basic Adjustment for Dodging
  • Added a basic adjustment for dodging using these settings

 

step-8-basic-adjustment-dodging-custom

 

  • Enabled masking and inverted mask  and used the brush tool and altered the settings as I made my brush strokes.

 

Step 6 – Added Basic Adjustment for Burning
  • Added a basic adjustment for burning using these settings

 

step-9-basic-adjustment-burning-custom

 

 

Step 7 – Added Split Toning Adjustment
  • Added split toning using these settings

 

step-10-split-toning-custom

 

 

Step 8 – Dust and Scratches Adjustment
  • Added a dust and scratches layer to the whole image

 

step-11-dust-and-scratches-layer-custom

  • Enabled Luminosity masking using these settings.

 

step-12-luminisoty-mask-dust-and-scratches-layer-custom

 

Step 9 – Created my own Preset.

  • I created my own preset for these settings by clicking Save so that I could use this preset again.

SOOC/Topaz Effects -vs- Lightroom Basic Adjustments/Topaz Texture Effects 2

 

I wanted to try the same processing technique using the same image but doing basic Lightroom adjustments  before editing in Topaz Effects.  And here is the result.

before-and-after-topaz-effects-wm

 

 

SOOC/Topaz Texture Effects 2 and Lightroom Basic Adjustments/Topaz Texture Effects  – Final Lightroom Edits

 

I wanted to also do a comparison of both images (SOOC and Lightroom basic edits) with added Lightroom Adjustments after Processing in Topaz Texture Effects 2 using the same Topaz Texture Effects 2 processing method as above.

basic-edits-final-image-lightroom

 

 

Conclusion

On a personal note I love Topaz Texture Effects 2 for adding a texture to your photographs .. it is easy, fast and a versatile piece of software.  Excellent results can be achieved by either SOOC images or images that have had basic Lightroom/Photoshop/Camera Raw edits.  For me I do prefer to do some initial adjustments in Lightroom, before editing in Topaz Texture Effects 2.   And irrespective of whether I am in Lightroom or Photoshop… for adding textures to my photographs in the future, I will definitely be using Topaz Texture Effects 2 as I find this software achieves great results with ease of use.

I do hope this appraisal has helped you in some way and I think Topaz Texture Effects is a great addition to your software bundle.

 

Before and After

Apricot Roses

Apricot Roses IMG_6709-Framed

One of the things I love about photography is post-processing… and taking photos to a whole new dimension.  Lately I have been experimenting using Photoshop… which I am slowly becoming conversant with.

The above image started out… being rather bland and lacking colour.

IMG_6709-2

And I wanted to make those roses more apricot in colour… so below is my processing techniques.

Lightroom Part 1

Spot Removal Tool

  • Spot removal on some blemishes of the roses..

Camera Calibration

  • Camera profile set to Camera Landscape

Basic Panel

  • Exposure lowered to -0.71
  • Contrast increased to +24
  • Highlights lowered to -52
  • Shadows increased to +38
  • Whites increased to +29
  • Blacks lowered to -38
  • Clarity set to +31

Details Panel

  • Sharpening set to 102
  • Edge Masking set to 76
  • Luminance Smoothing set to 12

Edited in Photoshop as a smart object

 

IMG_6709
Lightroom Part 1

 

Photoshop

  • Added a gradient Fill Layer black to white – Soft Light blending mode and opacity set at 30%.
  • Created new layer, filled with white and added a cloud difference filter – Soft light blending mode and opacity set at 37% – layer mask created and using a soft brush (black) set at 82% opacity brushed over the roses – to remove the cloud difference from the roses.
  • Created a Colour Adjustment Layer and used an orange colour  – Colour blending mode used and an opacity of 53%
  • Saved image – which resulted in image being re-imported back into Lightroom.

 

Photoshop
Photoshop

 

Lightroom Part 2

Radial Filter

  • Added a radial filter and to create a vignette played around with the sliders until I achieved what I wanted.

Crop Tool

  • Cropped image so that the two roses were the subject of the photograph

Hue/Saturation/Luminance Panel

  • Red hue shift increased to +7
  • Red saturation shift lowered to -2
  • Orange hue shift lowered to -2

Radial Filters

  • Added several radial filters just to highlight the petals on the roses are various exposures.

Brush Tool

  • Added a couple of brush strokes as certain parts were of a pink shade… so I changed the temperature/tint so that these parts became more orange.

Spot Removal Tool

  • There was a small branch on the right-hand side of the photograph half way up… used the spot healing brush set to clone to remove the branch.

Details Panel

  • Sharpening set to 73
  • Edge masking set to 74
  • Luminance Smoothing set to 13

Effects Panel

  • Post-crop Vignette lowered to -55

 

A photograph of apricot roses taken at Pashley Manor Gardens in East Sussex
A photograph of apricot roses taken at Pashley Manor Gardens in East Sussex – Final Image

 

A special thanks has to go to Paul Barson, who gave me the inspiration and the tip of how to use a Cloud Difference Filter and colour adjustment layers in your photograph … You can see more of Paul’s beautiful flower photography on his  Facebook Page.

Before and After

Monthly Before and After Challenge – August

 

The final image for this challenge started out as three shots at different exposures..

 

To create my HDR image I used Google Nik HDR Efex 2… and used a deep Preset that is already installed with the Nik Software.

Bodiam Castle

Once my image was merged into a HDR image.. I then sent the photograph to Photoshop where I removed the distractions in the background just above the bridge… and using the Content Aware Path Tool I also removed the little boy..  Using the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop I then used transform function and used the auto setting to give a better perspective of the photograph.

I then reimported my photo back into Lightroom where I did the following:

  • Used a Preset I created, by turning a black and white Preset by Serge Ramelli called ‘Experimental B&W-Many Lights’ back into Colour and removing all the radial filters.
  • I then added another Preset by Serge Ramelli called – ‘Western Mid’ (which is a free Preset which you can download by signing up to his site).
  • I then played around with the saturation and clarity.
  • I then cropped the image.
  • I then added a couple of more radial filters… and a few brush strokes to dodge and burn the image.  I also altered the settings of the radial filters to a more the effects more pleasing to the eye.
  • My final edit was to add a vignette and hey presto this is the final image..

 

A photograph taken of the ruins at Bodiam Castle back in 2012
A photograph taken of the ruins at Bodiam Castle back in 2012

 

If you would like to submit a photograph to my monthly Before and After Challenge please feel free to follow the instructions on this post…  I, hopefully, look forward to seeing your entries.

Before and After

From Harsh to Delicate

Final Image
Final Image

 

I wanted to create a soft looking flower… and to see how soft and delicate I could make a harsh looking photo by using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Lullingstone Rose
Lullingstone Rose – SOOC

As you can see from the SOOC photo on the right, that particular rose has many petals and I did manage to get most of the rose in focus… as I was using shallow depth of field settings on my camera.

So I started off in Lightroom, and my first task was to crop the photograph until I got the amount of petals I wanted to play around with.  So in the Basic Panel my first job was to lower the saturation, contrast and increase the exposure.  After that I played around with the Highlights and Shadows sliders and then I then readjusted the Vibrance and Saturation to achieve a pastel pink rose. I then added some minimal split toning before exporting my photo to Photoshop.

Lullingstone Castle
Lullingstone Rose – Pre-Photoshop

Once I was in Photoshop, I duplicated my layer and then using the Lumenzia Panel by Greg Benz I added some sharpening and used a setting of 3.5.  I only wanted to sharpen the certain parts of the flower, mainly the centre of the bloom, so I added a Layer Mask filled it with black and then added an eclipse shape with a lot of feather so that the mask only allowed the section I selected to be sharpened.

9655 Layers PanelI then added a Colour Fill Layer and choose one of the pastel pinks and set the blending mode to colour.  As I only wanted the same section enhanced as per my previous layer I just used the same layer mask as my sharpening layer.  Using Shift+Alt+Control+E I created a new layer which merged all my other layers together… to this layer I added a Gaussian Blur.  But as I only wanted the blur to affect the outer edges of my photography, I copied my layer mask and then inverted the mask.

After that I then added a Black and White Adjustment Layer and use the same Layer Mask as my Gaussian Blur and I then lowered the Opacity of the layer to around 40%.

Lullingstone Castle
Lullingstone Rose – Post Photoshop

I was happy with the Image so I then saved the image and it automatically transferred it back to Lightroom.

Theoretically speaking I could have achieved the exact same adjustments in Lightroom without going to Photoshop but I used Photoshop a) because I have it and pay for it and b) because it gives you experience of playing around with layer masks, adjustment layers etc.  Plus you learn how to do things quicker once you have practised a few times 😀 😀

Now that my image was back in Lightroom, I did want to do much more to it so the only edits I did was in the Details Panel where I added a little bit of sharpening using the Edge Masking and a little bit of noise reduction.  In the Effects Panel, I added a Vignette but instead of darkening the edges I lightened them just a little.  And here is the photo in a black frame.

Lullingstone Rose - Framed

And in the frame below which I created in Photoshop I used the colours of the image for the mount.

Framed--Lullingstone-Rose

Hever Castle Lake Before and After

Hever Castle Lake

Hever Castle - More Swans

 

As you stroll around the grounds of Hever Castle in Kent… you come to this wonderful lake.. and what caught my eye was that red little building beside the lake.

Hever Castle
Taken by Bren Ryan – SOOC

As you can see from the original photo there were some distractions and I knew I wanted to remove them.  So I did a couple of small spot removals using the Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom.  Whilst in Lightroom I also added a Preset I have and played around with the sliders in the Basic Panel and the Split Toning Panel.

Taken by Bren Ryan - Sent to Photoshop
Taken by Bren Ryan – Sent to Photoshop

That was it before I headed into Photoshop to take care of the those buoys and out of focus ducks…and some of the green foliage in the foreground..

Most of those distractions were taken care of using the Spot Healing Brush.  Once the distractions were removed I then added a texture layer to the photograph.  I then changed the mode blending style and to add some more impact I duplicated the texture layer and then lowered the opacity and changed the blending mode again. I also created a Curves Adjustment Layer and used a Luminosity Mask created by Lumenzia so that the curves adjustment only affected the parts of the photo I wanted it to affect.

And that was it for Photoshop, I saved it and it was automatically imported back into Lightroom.  Once it was back into Lightroom, I played around with some Graduated Filters and the sliders in the Basic Panel.  I then added a couple of Radial Filters and did some increase of exposure to the trees using the Local Adjustment Brush Tool. And then I decided it needed a frame… so off to the Print Module in Lightroom to frame my image..

Hever Castle Lake - IMG_7874 - Framed

But something wasn’t quite right… so I thought I would add a few more swans and ducks… now this was my first time of really adding things to an image.. so I apologise for it not being 100%… but you only learn by trying… and to be honest I quite like the photo now that there is more wildlife in it.

Birling Gap Before and After

Sheer Drop

Taken by Bren Ryan - Final Image
Taken by Bren Ryan – Final Image

 

The above photograph was taken at Birling Gap in East Sussex, and was shot just by the houses that are very close to the cliffs edge.

IMG_4957
SOOC

As you can see from the SOOC photo, there is a fence post that is rather distracting and a piece of fencing that just doesn’t seem to belong there.. so I knew I had to use Photoshop to remove those parts.  But first in Lightroom, I did my basic edits.. Camera Calibration, Lens Profile and Chromatic Aberration.  I know I didn’t want to do too much to the photo before it went into Photoshop because most of my editing would be carried out later on.

IMG_4957-2
Photo Sent to Lightroom

Once I did those I went to the Basic Panel played with the White Balance, Shadows, Highlights, Exposure, Clarity, Vibrance, Contrast and Saturation Sliders.  My next task was to add some Sharpening, Masking and Noise Reduction in the Details Panel.  Then it was off to Photoshop to remove that post and fence.

Once I was in Photoshop, I duplicated the layer and using the Patch Tool and working in little sections I removed the post and fence.

4957 - Layers PanelMy next task was to add a curves layer, using Lumenzia for luminosity masking I only allowed my curves layer to affect the cliffs.  Again I used a Luminosity Mask to add a Photo Filter.  However on that mask I lowered the density of the mask to about 86%.

Again using Lumenzia I added some sharpening and used a radius of 3.0.  And that was it for Photoshop.. I had achieved as much as I had wanted so back into Lightroom, to do my more profound editing of the photo.

Originally I was going to use a Black and White Preset by Serge Ramelli… which was called Experimental: B&W Many Lights.  But there were far too many lights for my liking so what I did was copied the settings of that Preset minus the Radial Filters and Pasted them into my Photo. I then changed it from B&W to Colour.

Local Adjustments was added to the Sky to using the Temperature Slider and I added new brushes to the cliffs where I increased the Shadows and Exposure slightly.  I played around with the little bit of see using the Local Adjustment Brushes and finally I added a Graduated Filter to the outside of the photo using a cream colour.

In the Details Panel I added some more Sharpening, Masking and Noise Reduction.  My final edit was to add a small Vignette in the Effects Panel.

I wanted to create a HDR’ish type of photo only using a single image… and I think I did achieve that.  And here is the Final Image set in a Photo-Frame.

Sheer Drop IMG_4957-Framed