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Cate and Meg on the blue steps

April 1, 2011

I’ve had a bunch of people ask about the processing of this picture:

For some reason I can’t find the original RAW file (I must have moved it somewhere “safe”) so I picked one that was similar and tried to recreate the steps.

This is SOOC (with a crop in ACR):

This is after I’m done in ACR:

(In ACR I changed the Temperature from 5100 to 5150 and the Tint from -6 to -13 and I took the exposure slider down to -.50)


Once in Photoshop I:

1) I ran my “Light Brown Sugar” action and turned of the “vibrance” & ” tones” layers.

a) What that leaves is a “punch” layer, which involves:

~ going to the Channel palette, clicking on the green channel, going up to Select and choosing All, and then going to Edit, Copy
~ going back to the Layer palette, making a new layer, and pasting a copy of the green channel
~ set that layer to luminosity
~ run an “unsharp mask” filter on it, high on the radius and low on the amount
~ take the opacity of the layer down, in this case it’s at 50% (on this picture I took it down to 25%)

b) and a “drama” layer, which is:

~ a hue/saturation adjustment layer, with the colorize box checked
~ set to soft light
~ opacity taken down, in this case it’s at 30%

c) and a “darken” layer, which is a levels adjustment layer with nothing done to it, set to multiply, with the opacity taken down to 20%

The punch layer desaturates and adds contrast.  The drama layer adds more contrast.  The darken layer, well, darkens it all a bit :)

2) Flattened the image

3) Added a levels adjustment layer with nothing done to it, set it to softlight and took the opacity down to 10% (to add more contrast)

4) Added a gradient map adjustment layer, set black to white, and took the opacity down to 6% (to desaturate just a bit)

5) Added a curves adjustment level with the red channel bumped up a bit (clicked in the middle and took the output to 132 and the input to 126) and the blue channel with a very slight reverse S curve (pinned down the bottom and the middle and then pulled down the top half to output 171 input 177) and then took the opacity of that layer down to 35%

6) Made a duplicate copy of the background, ran a highpass filter set at 2.0, and set the layer to vivid light, to sharpen

7) Cropped a bit more

and this is the final product:


16 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2011 10:36 am

    Thank you for sharing this with us! Even the sooc is stunning 🙂 your edit is awesome too!
    Could you pass me a link to your site with actions pls? I went thought the link on your Flickr profile and it doesn’t work for me.
    Thank you!

  2. Lori F permalink
    April 1, 2011 11:18 am

    Thank you so much for your tutorial. This is Fabulous!!

  3. Nancy Simutis Newell permalink
    April 1, 2011 11:24 am

    thanks for the tutorial, Lauren! I tried your technique out on Kristin and her friend Daniella. I do love your eye!!


  4. berta ... permalink
    April 1, 2011 12:33 pm

    You know …
    Ilovit :o)
    Thanks !

  5. Ken Robinson permalink
    April 1, 2011 12:34 pm

    Amazing editing. Thanks for sharing.

  6. April 1, 2011 6:57 pm

    Fantastic edit. Thanks for sharing.

  7. stacey permalink
    April 2, 2011 8:20 am

    Thanks so much for sharing! Always very excited when you post. Great shot also!

  8. April 3, 2011 2:22 am

    you are a fabulous teacher…it was so easy to learn how to… and looks so gorgeous!
    sincerely thanking you for you generosity!

  9. April 4, 2011 7:17 am

    Haho ! Great job again, with many great tips in there … The sharpening with High pass in a Vivid light option just saved my life … The others for color management simplify the job … that’s just fantastic.

    (I just have an advice for you. That is “Write a book” ! I’ll buy it, eyes closed … ).

  10. Jacqui Elliot-Williams permalink
    April 4, 2011 12:42 pm

    perfect !!

  11. April 5, 2011 8:04 pm

    Amazing! Thanks for the advice!! You are so generous to share your recipes. 🙂

  12. April 6, 2011 9:51 pm

    Awesome — thanks, Lauren! I like how you list out *why* you’re doing certain steps; that’s super helpful too.

  13. April 10, 2011 4:56 am

    I love the colors of this photo!!

  14. April 15, 2011 3:26 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you for this tutorial! Really, this is one of the most helpful things I’ve read in a while 🙂

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