I shot this picture just while standing at a red light on a street corner. I thought nothing of it, but with just a few adjustments I was able to make it into a really interesting picture that really shows off the texture of my old leather shoes.
Before / After:
1- Adjustments in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
I made adjustments to the contrast and clarity of the picture in Lightroom before importing it in Photoshop:
- I increased the Contrast to +60.
- To add even more contrast in the mid-tones, I increased the Clarity setting to the maximal value of +100.
- Now that the image is ready for final edits in Photoshop. Right-click on the photo thumbnail at the bottom of Lightroom and select Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop.
2- Even more contrast + slight blue tint
I used a Curves adjustment layer to add even more interesting contrast to this shot and to bring a little bit of blue in the shadows:
- Create a Curves adjustment layer.
- In the RGB channel, bring the dark point slightly to the right and the white point slightly to the left. Here’s how the curve looks like:
- Now, in the same Curves adjustment layer, but this time in the Blue channel, bring the dark point straight up slightly and the light point straight down slightly. This adds a little bit of blue in the shadows and brings back a little bit of yellow/orange in the highlights. Here’s how the curve looks like:
- I wanted double of that effect, so I duplicated the layer Cmd+J Ctrl+J, and left the copy at an opacity 100%.
3- Darken everything
I then realized that the image could look even more interesting by being just a touch darker overall:
- Create another Curves adjustment layer.
- Staying in RGB mode for the curve, bring the middle of the curve slightly downward to darken the whole image ever so slightly.
4- Darkening the sidewalk around the shoes
Now I used another Curves adjustment to just darken the sidewalk:
- Create yet another Curves adjustment layer.
- In the RBG channel, bring the dark point that’s in the bottom left corner slightly to the right.
- Now click on the layer mask associated with that Curves layer and hit Cmd+I Ctrl+I to invert the colors and effectively make the mask hide the whole effect.
- Using a Soft White Brush → B, paint the sidewalk around the shoes to reveal the effect of the adjustment layer on the sidewalk part of the picture.
- You might be able to see where the effect starts and stops too easily, in which case you’ll want to add a Gaussian Blur filter effect to the whole layer mask.
- Now once again I wanted double of that darkening effect, so I duplicated the layer Cmd+J Ctrl+J.
Et voilà! The stylish leather shoes have been rendered justice with just a few tweaks.
🌄 Image info:
- Camera: Nikon D80
- Focal length: 60mm
- Shutter speed: 1/80s
- Aperture: f/7.1
- ISO: 1250
My Suggestions for You
✨ Here are some of the top photo retouching courses from PHLEARN:
- Frequency Separation: How to Master Retouching in Photoshop
- Better than HDR – Master Luminosity Masks in Photoshop
- How to Master Dodging & Burning in Photoshop
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Hey there! 👋
I'm Seb and I'm creating Purple11. I'm into photography (duh!), but also music, design, meditation, healthy living and just spending time in nature. You can read more about what I'm up to on my Now page.
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