When taking photographs in certain lighting conditions, such as on a dull, overcast day, your photo location’s colours may be less than striking in your final image.
In our start image, for example, a burst of flash has brought out the colours of our model’s clothing, make-up and skin tones, but the rest of the shot’s colours are rather drab and desaturated.
The location’s flat-lit colours – like the boring brown brickwork in the background – may be weaker, but they still distract the eye from our main subject. There is a solution.
In this tutorial we’ll show you how to use Photoshop Elements to desaturate the shot’s weaker (and largely irrelevant) background colours to create a more moody monochrome urban scene.
You’ll then discover how to apply brush strokes to a Layer Mask to restore the model’s vibrant colours so that she stands out more effectively against the monochrome environment.
By making selective colour adjustments in this way you can emphasise the shot’s strengths – such as the attractive colours of the flash-lit model – while desaturating the location’s weaker colours.
We’ll also show you how to make selective tonal adjustments so that the brighter model stands out even more against the darker background. By using the Burn tool to darken specific tones you can also hide some of the room’s busy and distracting details and add a sense of mood and mystery to the simplified scene.
To add a gritty texture to our urban location we’ll also demonstrate how to use filters, layers and Blending Modes to give our clean, digitally-sourced start image a film-style grain. This analogue look helps make the shot look more ‘street’!
On the next page we show you step by step how to achieve the effect of keeping selective colour in your images when making black and white converstions.
Photoshop Layers Demystified: a beginner’s guide to smarter photo editing
Blend Modes: the 10 best blends for photographers (and how to use them)
Truthful Tone-mapping: a quick guide to realistic HDR in Photomatix Pro