Since discovering Pioneer Woman and her FAB Photoshop tips last week, I've been all excited about fiddling around with Actions and Masks, something I've never done before. Usually when I alter a photo, I'll just adjust the Curves to make it lighter overall, up the Contrast to make the shadows a bit more interesting, then Sharpen if it needs it. I took some photos of the lovely Sam modelling my aprons yesterday (which will be up in my Etsy/Folksy shops ASAP) and spent a couple of hours experimenting with all these new ideas last night. Although I know it's only start and I still have plenty to learn, I'm quite chuffed with my first attempts. Here's what I did to make one photo more interesting:
Here is my original photo straight out the camera:
Perfectly nice, but not all that exciting.
First of all, I upped the Curves and Contrast as I usually do to make it lighter overall, and the shadows darker:
Here comes the fun part. I duplicated the photo so there were two copies of the same thing, just on different layers on top of each other. Then I put the Gaussian Blur filter on the top copy, like so:
Then, using a Mask on this top, fuzzy layer, I "rubbed out" the blur on Sam herself, leaving the un-blurry layer underneath showing through:
Blurry background, sharp foreground. I then Flattened that so it was all one layer again, then added Pioneer Woman's "Warmer" Action and adjusted the Opacity down 30% or so so it wasn't quite so obvious:
I then lightened the whole thing up again a little:
As the "Warmer" actions makes things yellow-tinged, I used the Lasso tool on Sam's teeth, then upped the Brightness on them a little to whiten them back up to their natural state, then used Unsharp Mask on the whole thing:
Et Voila. To summarise,
Cool, huh? Simple, yet effective. By the last few photos I had my working methods down pat, so hopefully I can make this a quicker process from now on. Not that I think I'll do it on all my photos - I'd be there forever! - but for special ones I think it will make a difference.
Now, just have to measure up my finished aprons and they'll be up in my Etsy/Folksy shops in no time!