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Before-After : Norwegian beach

Did you ever happen to tell yourself “I like that photo, really. I loved the place, I like the angle I got to shoot, but… I don’t know, I wish it were more… dramatic“. Well that’s what I thought when developping this photo. I loved the hike on the wonderful beach of Bunes, in the Lofoten Islands, and I was glad to have thought of climbing up the stream that flows straight to the bleach ; but something was off.

I would have liked to shoot this place during the golden hour, but our return boat was scheduled, so I just went with it and “golden-hourized” it myself!

Bunesfjorden

I needed an evening sky, so I fetched a photo taken during the same trip and applied the technique I described in this tutorial.

Vesterøy

I took also care of the light reflections in the ocean and extended the sky patch to that area.

Changing the ambiance so that the photo would take place in the evening also meant that the light casted on the land would have to be modified likewise. I used a burn tool brush with a 10% exposure to soften the ray of light across the cliff and darken its edge.

The water flowing down the beach was also too bright, and now had to match the ocean colour.

I then took some time (a lot actually) to erase the many footsteps visible in the sand using the clone stamp tool.

And I finally added some saturation and contrast to make the ground pop a little bit.

Here we are! I think this photo has now much more character.

Before-After : Scottish bridge

Here is a picture of Sligachan Bridge, on the Isle of Skye. The photo was taken during summer, on a warm sunny day. Unfortunately, the sun was a bit too high and -what did I expect- I wasn’t alone.

"Before"

The sun right above the camera generates lens flare. The light is too hard, and the bridge is dark because of the back-lighting.

I first remove most of the details that dispute the fact that I am alone in the scenery.  With the clone stamp tool, I remove the people behind the bridge, the car and the electric pole on the right.

B_A-ScottishBridge_p1b B_A-ScottishBridge_p1a

B_A-ScottishBridge_p2a B_A-ScottishBridge_p2b

I then reduce the lens flare using the techniques I described in another article.

B_A-ScottishBridge_p3a B_A-ScottishBridge_p3b

B_A-ScottishBridge_p4a B_A-ScottishBridge_p4b

Then I get started on the exposure levels.

B_A-ScottishBridge_layers

The bridge suffers a lot from back-lighting, so I increase its exposure using a Levels adjustment layer coupled to a layer mask of which I kept only the bridge itself.

I then simulate a graduated ND filter (which I did not own at the time) to decrease the sky exposure, too bright because of the sun orientation. I do this by coupling a Levels adjustment layer with a layer mask in which I painted a black gradient.

I am not quite pleased with the gradient-only solution, so I add another mask to reduce the exposure in the upper right corner.

Et voilà !