Colour grading – Natural light effect

This is a 4 step process to achieve a natural light, colour grading effect on your images.

  1. Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Take the saturation down. Not too much unless you’re looking for a really dramatic effect (which is fine for some studio portraits but not for a “natural” look). About -15 to -20 is a good range.
  2. Curves. We’re going to colour the image using the individual red, green & blue curves. Being subtle is the key here. Maybe bring out the red in the highlights & slight ‘S’ curves in the green & blue but it can vary according to ones individual opinion.
  3. Levels. On the blue channel draw in the triangular markers slightly to bring back some blue in the shadows & reduce it in the highlights to bring back some warmth.
  4. Colour fill layer. Add a new solid colour fill layer & choose a gold colour (eg. d0a702). Change the blend mode to “hard light” & bring the opacity down to about 8%.

As ever, the final step is to sharpen the image using whatever sharpening method you prefer (unsharp mask, adjust sharpness, high pass filter etc.) The above image displays the before & after photographs.

Week 29

Harris Shutter effect, wine glass, drink

Settings: f/5.6, 1/60 second, ISO 400, 49mm focal length

Set up. Harris shutter effect. For the initial shots, pour water into a wine glass while operating the camera with a remote trigger. To obtain the Harris shutter effect, turn each of the three images red, green & blue respectively (add a Solid Colour layer to the image & set the properties to R:255, G:0 & B:0 for example, change the blending mode to “multiply” & then Layer>Merge down). Add all the layers onto the red image & alter the blending mode of the green & blue images to “lighten”. Finally, add the finishing touches such as dodge & burn, hue/saturation adjustments & sharpening.

Opinion. I’ve been wanting to attempt this effect for a while now (& after painting a blackboard onto my kitchen wall for my daughter, found I had the ideal backdrop!) While this was a standard type of shot I’ve seen replicated on the web many times, I can see the possibilities & may try a more imaginative image at a later date.