Lesson from the Shop: Simple Tips for Fall by Jim Austin


By Jim Austin
Click on pictures for larger image.

Gazing at the glorious colors of Fall through the lens is often a joy. But every once in a while, photos need some help with Photoshop. It's always good to learn Photoshop skills to enhance your photography. Here are three easy ones:

Sepia ToneLeaf Picture, Figure 1

To add a color tone to a leaf image, open an RGB image. Click Image > Adjust> Hue Saturation (PC: Ctrl + U / Mac: Cmd + U). In Photoshop's Hue/Sat, just check the "Colorize" Box.
Slide the Hue slider right or left to choose any color you want. Choose a saturation level. Click OK. Brown tones work well, although you can try gold, red, or any color you like.
If you are working with RAW, use Adobe Camera Raw and open its HSL/Grayscale dialogue to check the "Convert to Grayscale" Box, or just de-saturate a color image.


Leaf Picture, Figure 2

First, set your scanner for web or print. Use a low resolution setting on your scanner if you’re in a hurry. Place a black sheet of paper over your leaf. Scan and Save. In Photoshop, select the black background (the paper area) with the magic wand. This is easy if the leaf has been scanned against a solid color sheet of paper.

With the selection active, feather the selection: Select > Modify > Feather (Shift +F6).

Click the gradient tool, pick a yellow-red gradient, select the circular gradient type. Drag this gradient across your selected background area. Apply a Gaussian Blur. (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur).


Contrast: Getting Reds to Pop OutLeaf Picture, Figure 3

To put more contrast into a leaf, select it by clicking on a selection tool in the toolbox. The lasso tool was used to draw an outline around this red leaf, but the polygonal and magnetic lasso tools are also effective.
Next, feather the selection with a radius of 2 or more (Select > Modify > Feather Radius = 2). To boost contrast, use Levels or Curves on the selection. You can do this on an added layer. Because a selection was made, the area of the selection can be reversed to select everything else (Select > Inverse).
I first selected the leaf and then inversed the selection to select the mossy rock and blue water, and applied a Lens Blur to them, to make the leaf stand out even more. I used a plug-in Filter called Mr. Contrast to increase contrast in the leaf above. This filter is from Flaming Pear software.