Shadows on Steps a Tutorial
This started life as quite a mundane colour image with very little going for it, as you can see below:-
The only thing that this image has going for it are those shadows, the whole point of the shot in the first place I suppose. Those concrete slabs making up the steps look just awful, definitely a little Photoshop work needed to make this an acceptable image methinks.
First stop, open up in Camera Raw – I always shoot in RAW, it gives far more versatility in post-processing – and set the overall tone of the image. For the techy minded the settings were:-
Temperature – 4650
Tint – +24
Exposure – -0.30
Recovery – 40
Fill Light – 10
Blacks – 5
Brightness – +50
Contrast – +45
Clarity – +50
Vibrance – +30
Saturation – +20
This came out as a slightly more acceptable image, but still left a lot to be desired. So, I decided to play around with a black and white adjustment layer to see where that took me.
After a little experimentation I settled for a High Contrast Blue filter, which was sort of close to what I had in mind, a slightly more dilapidated, grungy sort of feel.
I know that the shadows were the whole point of the image, but the toned down nature of them now adds to the image as a much more holistic one. The High Contrast Blue filter ahs also cooled the picture somewhat, so that is the next step to deal with by the use of a Sepia filter adjustment layer:-
at the same time asking it to preserve the luminosity:-
And that was about it really except to finish off by flattening the image, using a little noise reduction and, finally, sharpening, which I did on only one channel of the image. For the sharpening I converted the image to Lab color mode, selected the Lightness channel and applied an Unsharp mask with the following settings:-
Radius 50 pixels
then converted back to RGB mode for the finished photo.