With all the tools for post-processing of digital photos these days, you can have a lot of fun being creative with your images. To encourage people to learn and share different post-processing techniques, a photographer named Stacey Fisher has set up a Before and After weekly event, as well as a once a One Photo Focus month event where everyone processes the same photo in a different way. The idea is not only to share the images but also some explanation of how they were derived.
This month the photo challenge was “Drawing with Light” by Katie Prior. Here is the original (made smaller for my blog):
On first looking at the photo, I was struck by the great angles of the stone path / pier and the focus on the stones, which I really liked, but noticed the dull colour of the sky due to the weather that day. I had the idea to replace the sky with a starry sky and see how it would look as a night time photo, but at first was unable to figure out how to do this on Photoshop Elements.
So instead I played around with the colour saturation (Enhance –> Colour –> Hue/Saturation). Suddenly a lot of interesting colours popped out: the algae on the bricks of the pier, the different shades of the mountains in the distance. The crashing waves against the pier also stood out more, and suddenly it reminded me a bit of a seaside painting, so I went with this theme. I really liked the angles and brick details of the original, but for the seaside version I wanted to focus on the colours and details of the pier, so I cropped the photograph. Since the original focus had been on the closer stones, I then sharpened the image. Finally, to make it look like a holiday snapshot, I just added a frame with my Android phone gallery. Here is the finished version:
However, I was still keen to learn something new in Photoshop Elements, so I decided to try to have a go at changing the sky using instructions from this website.
According to the instructions on the website on how to change the sky, i then opened both images in Photoshop Elements and resized them (Image–>resize) to the same size (length and width in pixels). The next step was to select the whole sky picture with the Rectangular Marquee tool and press Ctl C (copy). After that, I selected the other picture again, and in Layers, I right clicked and chose Duplicate Layer, to make an identical background layer. With the lasso tool, I then selected the sky area in the original photo. I cut out the mountains because it was hard to select them neatly and their colour didn’t look right against the night time sky I’d chosen. Once the sky area was selected, I pressed Control Shift V to paste the sky (already copied) into selected area. It worked!
To make the rest of the photo look more like night time, I then changed the hues of the photo to some purple shades. (Enhance –> Colour –> Hue/Saturation). I then imported the picture into Light Room and enhanced the clarity a bit so that the sea would stand out more, and increased the shadows. When I enhanced the shadows too much I ended up with a crazy splintered sky, but I kind of liked this effect, which I show in the version below:
On a version with less shadows (and splintered sky) I used Photoshop Elements Lighting Effects to try to create the effect of moonshine.
I also tried playing around with Lighting effects on photoshop elements to try to create the effect of moonshine. (Filer–> Render –> Lighting effects). Here you can see two different Starry Sky versions using different lighting effects.
Thank you Katie for providing an interesting photo to play with! To see what other people came up with, check out the original August One Photo post on Stacey Fisher’s website.