A Cast Of Blue In The Shadows

One photographer I know once told me that it all boils down to photo editing. It sounded that if you just expose your shot properly, all you have to do is click on the famous “Nik” software and a masterpiece will just emerge from it.

While it’s true that post processing is as important as photography itself, no amount of post processing can transform a bad shot into a money shot.  A good shot on the other hand can stand alone without any post processing at all. The idea is to get the shot nearest to the image you imagine it to come out and let post processing enhance it.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot at stake and too many to consider when shooting that the chance of getting a money shot is not instantaneous in every shot you make. You can sometimes call it a lucky shot but setting yourself up to be in the right spot at the right moment is definitely a must skill for every photographer out there.

Bringing the photo to the next level is definitely a work of post processing. Photo editing, just like photography, is a journey of finding the right taste and the right mix. There’s just some feel to a photo that cannot be achieved by plain photography alone. In my case I love to put a cast of blue in the shadows of my photos.

Adding a cast of blue in the shadows using "Curves" adjustment layer.

Adding a cast of blue in the shadows using “Curves” adjustment layer.

There’s a number of ways to do this and choosing which ones to use is really dependent on the photo and of course based on your taste. The first approach is to use “Color Balance” under the adjustment layer in Photoshop. By sliding the blue sliders in the shadow, you’ll shift the other colors in the shadows and move it towards the blue channel.

There’s a tendency that the image will look heavy and midtones would swell and darkens the entire image. Sometimes, you want to combine this with a “Curve” adjustment layer bringing the midtone up a notch. Note that some images would come out just fine without the additional Curve.

Another approach is to use the “Curve” adjustment layer and slide the blue channel to put more weight on the shadows. The effect is similar to the “Color Balance” approach but it gives you a different feel. Whatever approach you choose, take note that this techniques is applied to the photo after all the necessary retouching and editing is done.

This technique just adds a certain feel to the image and shouldn’t be used as a main editing technique. Note that we are only doing a cast of blue and therefore shouldn’t be too much so as not to overwhelm the entire image. The subject and the story of the image should still emerge  as the main concept of the image.

Find the right mix and taste that would define your signature in every photo you publish. This will define your unique art among the many images out there.

Keep on shooting everyone! www.albertpedrosa.com

Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa

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