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This last summer my whole family got together to celebrate my mom and dad's 60th wedding anniversary and my mom brought her veil with her and of course I had to take a couple of pictures. What I want to do in this picture with my mom is I want to examine how we can use Color Balance and Blending modes and then Curves together in order to come up with some nice results. Well, one of the things that we are going to do first is we are going to create a Curves Adjustment layer. We are going to create this Adjustment layer with something in mind. Let's click on the Adjustment layer icon for Curves.
What we are going to here is simply click and drag up the bottom left-hand point, bringing up the Blacks here and then I will go ahead and bring down the rest of the curve. Well, at this juncture, what we have done is we have brought up some of the Black detail. Now the image looks awkward. It looks flat. It doesn't look any good at all. But we are making this adjustment knowing that what we'll do next is create a Color Balance adjustment and we are going to use a Blending mode of Soft Light. And whenever you use Soft Light, a lot of times you just hammer the blacks. I mean, they are hit too hard.
So in this case, this adjustment is going to protect or save those Blacks. Let's turn off the Visibility here so we can see how that works in a second. Next adjustment, we will click on our Adjustment layer icon. Here we will choose Color Balance. With Color Balance we will start off in the Midtones increasing the Reds and the Yellows. We will then go into the Shadows, we will add quite a bit of Red here and again we just have so much color and tone here, but we are not afraid of that. Here is why. We are going to our Blend mode which is Soft Light. So when we use Color Balance on Soft Light, we all of a sudden come up with these interesting combinations.
In this case, we can then go back and modify this color further and I will go into my Midtones as well and just get this where I want it. Next step, lower the Opacity. We will take this down with this image, I am guessing to about 70%. Well, that looks interesting. Here is our before and then after, but it's too heavy-handed. So, this is where that Curves adjustment comes to save the day. When we turn on this adjustment what this will do is it will bring up those Blacks. So let's double-click this layer and examine how we can control the density of those Blacks in the background.
Now each image will respond a little bit differently, but this can really save some of those tones. What you need to do whenever you are doing this technique is look away, close your eyes, and then look back. Here we can see that this gives us some pretty nice results. What this allows us to do is to blend that color into the contrast. In this case if we look at our before, here it is before and then after. It's a pretty subtle adjustment. But nonetheless, it's an adjustment which creates nice vivid and beautiful colors so that my mom, and so that the colors of this photograph, really look nice.
Once again here we have it, our before and then our after. In this case, how we can use Color Balance on a Soft Light Blending mode and then also how we can create a Curves adjustment in order to protect those Blacks or to bring some detail in, back on the Blacks and some of these areas, which in turn affects the overall color and contrast and it just kind of even things out a bit so that we can have this nice look and also be able to reproduce this image without having that concern that we have added too much Black to our photograph.
Once again here we have it before and then after.
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