How to edit your pictures of flowers: adjusting colour and composition
01 Open in Camera Raw
Go to File > Open, select masterclass_start.dng and click Open to open the image in Adobe Camera Raw. We’ll make a few adjustments to enhance the colours and contrast our image.
If you’ve shot your own images you’ll need to make similar adjustments, tweaking the settings to suit. Start by setting Exposure to +0.15 to make the image a little brighter.
02 Tweak the white balance
To warm up the image a little, and enhance the sunny feel, set the Temperature slider to 6750. Next set Highlights to -45, to pull back some of the overexposed highlight areas.
03 Colour and Clarity
Set the Clarity slider to +15 to bring out more of the fine detail in your pictures of flowers. Set Vibrance to +20 to boost the pale greens without affecting the more saturated colours, then set Saturation to +10 to give all the colours in the image a boost.
04 Crop in
Click-and-hold on the Crop tool, and select the 2 to 3 crop ratio. Crop into the picture roughly as shown, to make the most interesting and colourful flowers more prominent in the frame. Press Enter to apply the crop, then select Open Image to open the image into the main Elements editor.
05 Boost the contrast
Add a Levels adjustment layer, and set the Midtones slider to 1.45 and Shadows to 15 to brighten the picture and boost the contrast. Next, add another Levels layer, and this time set the Midtones to 194 to lighten the image further.
Click the layer mask, and press Ctrl+I to invert it and hide the adjustment. Select the Brush tool, and paint over the shadowed flower with a small white brush to bring out its detail.
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How to edit your pictures of flowers: adding the new backdrop
06 Add the new backdrop
Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create a merged layer at the top of the layer stack. Open your backdrop image (for us it was a blue sky), drag it onto your flower photos to add it as a new layer, then drag this layer below the merged layer in the stack.
07 Select the existing backdrop
Take the Magic Wand tool, and set Tolerance to 27 and disable Contiguous. Click in the white background to select it; hold down Shift and click to select more areas if needed. Click Refine Edge, and set Smooth to 25 and Feather to 7.
08 Create a layer mask
Under Output To, select Layer Mask to create a mask based on the selection. Click the mask, and press Ctrl+I to invert it and reveal the flowers.
If you’ve missed any bits of white background, select them with the Magic Wand tool, then set the foreground toolbox colour to white, target the mask, and hit the Delete key: this fills the selected areas on the mask with white.
09 Fine-tune the mask
Take the Brush tool, and set Size to 1000 pixels, Hardness to 30% and Opacity to 30%. Brush over the central part of the picture, where the selection edges are noticeable: this lets some of the original white background show through, creating a smoother blend between the flowers and the new backdrop.
10 Add a lens flare
Add a new layer. Go to Edit > Fill Layer, select 50% Grey from the Use menu and click OK. Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Click 50-300mm Prime, and drag the centre of the flare to the right-hand corner of the preview.
Set Brightness to 145%. Click OK, then set the layer’s blending mode to Hard Light to hide the grey and reveal the flare, and set its opacity to 80%.
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