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The Summer Workshop

Lesson 8 of 8

Editing 2: Sunrise In The Jungle

Alex Strohl

The Summer Workshop

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

8. Editing 2: Sunrise In The Jungle

Lesson Info

Editing 2: Sunrise In The Jungle

All right. I'm going to be editing this sunrise photo shot drone of Andrea in the pool. And I'm going to try a new method. (inspirational music) I'm going to let you see what I'm doing and then before I change panels in the edit, I'll stop and explain to you why I did what I did. Let's do it. Before I begin, I wanna know where I'm headed, so this image has some soft light in the morning so I definitely want to maximize that. And it also has a lot of green and blues, which is making me want to make the image a little cooler. Then have a look at the image overall. I don't have always have the same first step. So here I'm seeing that it's very faded. The drone usually does that, so I'm going to bring the blacks lower. First also, I dropped my clarity, because it gives a more dreamy feel to the image. So you just saw me work on my curves and so real quick, I always drop 3 points. The first two are towards my blacks, I fade them and then I give more contrast to the faded, and then I work on...

my highlights and mid-lights with the third one. My goal is to give more punch and contrast to the image. So I know there's a contrast slider, but I don't use it very much because it will flatten your histogram. It's destructive to me. I rather use the curves for this. After I do my curves I generally go back to my basic panel and do some more micro adjustments. If you're not getting the results you want with your edits, it's okay we're here to fix this. The point I want to get across is that you're always tinkering and you're always making changes, so don't shy away from revising your decisions. Keep moving. And if you're not getting the results you want, it's probably because you don't know where you're going. So you need to have a sense of the edits you like. Gather a bunch of images online of edits you like and then each of them contains a piece of you. Like there's something yours in these edits, because you like them. So try to point that. It's not about replicating people's edits. I'm doing this edit to show you how I do it, the goal is that you don't replicate this, but you use it to your advantage, to your own images. Okay so after refining these basic edits, I always go down to my split toning or my HSL. And I use that to enhance the atmosphere of the image. I'm not trying to make up something that wasn't there. I'm just adding to it. If there was warm light coming, I'm going to warm it up. I'm going to warm up my shadows, because it's the sun rise so it's warm. And you want to be pretty light handed with these. I never we go about 15 more in saturation. After my split toning I work on my HSL, so you've seen me here going around on the colors. So the biggest thing here, the biggest takeaway is that you use the color picker. You see me using that tool and I just drag it on highlights, I drag it on the light on the trees or the water and I like to work specifically on little details, because it makes the image so much deeper when somebody's put thought into what tone is this leaf, what tone is this pool, and I don't want to go too crazy, but I like to give it a different feel, my feel. My water I usually like to have it a little greener, a lot more turquoise. The trees I wanna warm them up because they have this soft light coming, but then the highlights in the trees they can be cooler. So this takes me to the lens correction. So rarely I use it, but with the drone, because the lens is so wide it distorts a lot and it's not very expensive lens. So with the drone 90% of the time I'm gonna use profile Corrections, because you remove some of this vignette and it removes some of the distortion from the lens. Gradient filters and radial filters, I use them all the time in a moderate way, but I use them and I use them to give more emphasis to my subject. Where ever my subject is whether it's the middle of the image, the side, I'm gonna use these filters to darken the areas around the subject and I'm gonna brighten and sharpen a little bit on my subject. they're super subtle, but once you start using them you can't just live without them. I just did some adjustments in the curves. may need to make sure the image has enough punch. And as you see I'm always going back to the radial filter just making little adjustments. After every major decision, I'm always checking my initial image. I'm toggling my filters on and off. I'm looking at the image on a white background. I want to make sure I'm not going way too far off the image. All right, so I think this image is almost finished. I've double-checked my curves once again. There's always a little adjustments at the end, but at this stage I think I'm done and I'm gonna move on to Photoshop to clean it up. If you wanna get serious with your photos learn Photoshop. I can't say it again. Lightroom is great for all the edits and the colors and the tones, but if you want to get professional-looking stuff get into Photoshop. I'm gonna walk you through the process of cleaning up these two pools on the side of the image, which I think are too intrusive, too big and white. I'm just doing some test cropping to see what my crop's gonna be at the end. Then I'm gonna revert back to the wide, because I need all this green around the clone stamp. To duplicate your base layer Command + J or Control + J on a PC. You always want to do that so you keep a backup of the initial image. Then on to my favorite friend, clone stamp tool. So as you saw in the settings I use it very faded. It has a huge feather on the sides and it's not huge. I use the clone stamp in a rough manner. It's not the finished way I just bring bits of trees from different areas of the image, so it doesn't look too obvious that I just pick from the one in one spot. You need to be careful with the light you pick. You can't just be picking very bright trees into this dark section. It's fine if it's not perfect at this stage, then you go and you can polish it. No matter how good you are with the stamps there's always a need where you need the lasso tool. W, that's the shortcut. Once I've made the selection Command + J to duplicate. So I go ahead and take a section of image that I think will work where I want to put it and I just move it. It doesn't have to be super precise, because I'm gonna show you how you can be gentle around it. You're gonna work around it with a mask and I'll show you how. This is one of the most powerful features of Photoshop for me, the vector mask. It allows you to use the paintbrush to paint around that section you selected and you moved to soften the edges. To reset the colors of your brush you use X, so you have to be using either white or black on your brush. You can't be using any color. Right click on your brush to see that it's hardness is at zero and that it's a couple hundred pixels big. The hardness at zero is crucial so it makes very soft edges. Now I'm using the curves on that layer of the place I'm patching only on that layer. So to do that select a layer and hit Command + M. It's going to open up the curves panel just for that layer. There's a thousand ways to do this. This is my method and if you have your own, use it. If you don't have one use this one, because I've honed it over the years and it's very efficient. But as you can see it's just a lot of tinkering. There is always a little thing you can do and it's important to step back. Sometimes I stand up and walk out of the room, come back and ooh, I miss this obvious thing. So once I'm happy with my vector mask, once I think I'm done, I go ahead and select that layer and the layer underneath and I go and merge them. So then I can go work on that specific layer with my stamp tool once again just to make it a little better. All right, right sides done. Left side, let's do it. I'm gonna be using the stamp tool for this one only, because I don't think there's a need to patch from somewhere else. You just saw me going back into Lightroom for a very specific reason. I'm looking at my other images that are not selects to see if there's a piece of forest I can use for this section and I didn't find one, So back to Photoshop. So the beginning you see me cropping the image first and then going back. Well now it's time to crop it finally. I ended up going back on my crop and using the wide image, so I could use all the forests from the rest of the image into this crop. So now you see I wish I had more forest in the lower part of the image, but no issue I just go and select the lower section of the image and just extend it. So this is one way you can do it, but the other one which I like better is using content aware scale. Content aware scale is this pure black magic. I don't know how it works exactly, but I'm guessing it uses pixels from the surrounding areas to predict and to extend the image. It's super powerful and it works awesome with patterns. If you have the sky and not much clouds into it, perfect. If you're trying to extend, I don't know, the stairs of something or rocks or roots or tree branches, no so good. Think of this one as the radial filter of Photoshop. I just go ahead and duplicate my layer once again. I used my lasso tool with a massive feather, 600 pixels here, and I draw my selection where my subject is, in the middle of the image and then I hit Command + Shift + I on Mac. Should be Control + Shift + I on PC and the I stands for invert. So I do my selection then I invert it and then I hit Command + M to open my the curves like before and then I go and darken that. I'm darkening my inverted selection. Once I do that I hit Command + Shift + I again and that's my selection. And I go Command + M again to do my curves on it and I bring the curves up to bring a little bit more brightness there. So it's just like a manual radial filter with more control. And I always like to do that in the ending stages of the image, just to bring a little more focus and attention to where my subject is which here Andrea is in the middle of the image. So there's a reason why duplicated my layer before doing this final adjustment. So now I can go and play with the opacity of that layer and be super precise way more than Lightroom will ever be. I can go and play with the opacity of it and make it you know 10, 20 be super subtle. That's what Photoshop is all about is being able to adjust the intensity of your layers. So I'm always Command + J everywhere. I'm just duplicating my layers each time, so I can be subtle with my adjustments. And I am done. I'm happy with how it looks, so I just hit Command + S to save it and that takes it back to Lightroom as a TIFF file. If you didn't know how to save a preset on Lightroom, this is how you do it. You just hit plus, you name it, select a folder, and done. That's your brand new preset. We're done with the editing. You've seen me go through Lightroom, Photoshop processes, so take some time and try to implement these changes. It will bring much more life and strength to your images, but remember I don't think it's about spending too much time editing. I think it's more fun to spend time shooting. So get out there and have fun this summer. (inspiring music)

Class Description

Summer is the most active time of the year. Everything is more accessible, it’s nice outside, the perfect time to go shoot new work and have fun. Alex Strohl is bringing his course to CreativeLive to get you ready to confidently make the most of your summer.

You’ll learn:

  • Camera gear, tech gear and accessories to pack
  • Setting yourself up for the iconic sunrise and sunset pictures
  • Light, Lenses and Composition
  • Utilizing a drone
  • Underwater techniques
  • Editing techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop

This summer set yourself to have fun, explore creatively and expand your photography portfolio. 

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