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- Reviewing the images
- Evaluating and opening the selected image
- RAW processing
- Fine-tuning adjustments
- Achieving an older look
Skill Level Intermediate
One of the reasons I'm such a strong advocate for a layer based work flow in Photoshop, is that it maintains a certain degree of flexibility. You can interpret the image in a variety of ways, and perhaps producing creative interpretations of your photo along the way. With this photo, I have certainly done a fair amount of work in terms of optimizing the original photo, and also creating a black and white interpretation of the same scene. I'll go ahead and collapse my black and white version layer group, so that all of the various adjustment that are inside of that layer group are collapsed. And then we can take a look at where we've come from and where we've gotten. I'll turn off the visibility for that layer group so that we get back to my original full color version of the photo.
And then I'll hold the Alt key on Windows or the Options key on Macintosh while clicking on the Eye icon to the left of my bottom most layer, causing that to be the only layer that is visible. And you can see this is the initial version of the image after that raw conversion. And then if I Alt or Option click again you see the after version. The version with all of my various adjustments applied. Each of those adjustments was relatively minor. None of these adjustments were too terribly exaggerated, and yet the difference from my starting point to the finishing point is rather significant.
And I'm very happy with the result. I think we have a strong image in terms of texture and contrast, as well as color. And it really does in my mind exemplify what it was like to stand there before this old abandoned farm house, in the middle of a wheat field, in the Palouse region of Eastern Washington State. Scrolling back up on the Layers panel, we come up to the black and white version that I created. That layer group that contains several additional adjustments to produce a black and white interpretation of this photo. I'll go ahead and turn on the Visibility for that Layer Group so that we can see the black and white version with a little bit of a color tint applied and a vignette effect.
So nothing too dramatic but certainly a very big departure from the original image. I'll turn off that Layer Group once again so we can see the finished color image and then turn it back on to see the finished black and white version of the photo. And I have to say that all things considered, I still prefer the full color image of the photo. To be sure, there's certainly a little bit more of an indication of age in the black and white version. At least as far as the overall mood. It certainly seems to harken back to an older time than the color image might. But at the same time, in the color version of the image, I feel that it's a little bit more obvious that this old farm house is actually abandoned. So taking all of that into account, I think I do like the color version of the photo, but I'm certainly much happier with this final version than with what I started from.
The adjustments overall were relatively subtle but I do think that each of them represented a good improvement. So at this point I'm finished with this image. I will keep my black and white version layer group as part of the overall layer document, but I think that when it comes to sharing this image or printing it, I will work with this full color version. So with that I'll go ahead and choose File > Save one last time to save my master copy of this image with all of the layers intact, and at its full original resolution, and I will come back to this image at any time when I want to create output.
So for example preparing the image for printing at a particular size or creating a copy of this image to share on an online sharing site for example. Whatever the method of sharing this original master image will be the source for all of that output because I've spent the time to improve it to the point that I'm very happy with the image and this is certainly the version that I want to share with others. But of course, later, if I decide there's anything I'd like to change about this photo, about the way I've optimized this photo, I can always open this master image and adjust the existing layers or add new layers in order to further refine the result.
But ultimately, all the effort that went into capturing and optimizing this photo is a labor of love and it is resulted in an image that I'm very happy with.