Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Editing the background image, part of Portrait Project: Changing a Background for Dramatic Effect.
In this chapter we'll begin another project. We will look at how we can change the background of a portrait. Yet this time, we'll explore how we can change the background in order to create a dramatic effect, almost as if we were designing a book cover or maybe a movie poster. We'll be working with this portrait here, and rather than having an over exposed and bright background like we have in this picture, what we'll do is we'll change that with something different. We'll be using this photograph that I captured of this sunrise coming up behind this oak tree.
And because our goal is create some visual interest and dramatic effect, what we're going to do is change the overall color palette and look and feel of both of these pictures. Let's begin by working on the raw file of this sunrise photograph. To do so, here in Bridge we're going to select the file then open it up in Camera Raw. To do so, navigate to the File pull down after you selected the thumbnail and then choose Open In Camera Raw. Also as a quick side note, if your a Lightroom user you can obviously begin the same work that we're doing here in Lightroom, but to keep things simple I'll work with Camera Raw.
So again click on the thumbnail, then choose File>Open In Camera Raw. Once Camera Raw is open, I want a highlight that we'll begin to work in the Basic panel. Here we'll walk through our Temperature and Tint sliders, we'll make some adjustments there. We'll also work with some of our other adjustments here. And then after having done that, we'll further customize a color, by working with the Split Toning controls. Alright, well let's begin in the Basic panel. This is a sunrise photo that I captured in the Santa Ynez Valley when I was driving on this dusty road.
And I just love the beautiful colors and I snapped this frame, but when I look at it here it's a little bit lackluster. The colors aren't very vibrant. So what we want to do here is boost those up. One way to do that is to increase the Color Temperature by dragging that to the right and also by increasing the overall Tint. This'll just give us a different color palette, or look, with the photograph. Here you can see how you can cool or warm this off pretty dramatically. In this case, let's go for a warmer look. After having done that, let's brighten up the picture by working with Exposure.
And here, we're simply going to walk through these different controls and make some adjustments, so we'll increase the Exposure, also increase Contrast. So, again add a little bit of Brightness and Contrast. Then let's go into the Shadow area. And you can bring in some details in the shadows or you can darken those by working with this slider. What I want to do is just brighten that up a little bit. And then for the deepest, darkest tones, we'll use the Black slider. Drag this to the left. And, again, that just builds up more contrast and a little bit more visual interest.
Then, we'll go to Presence. And in Presence we can work on the Clarity, the Vibrance, and Saturation. First, we'll increase the Clarity to add a little more definition, little midtone contrast there. Increase the Vibrance to increase the color variety, and also boost some of the weaker colors. And we'll add a touch of Saturation as well. Now at this stage of the game, it might be helpful to tap the P key, or to click on the Preview check box. Let's do that. Here when we click on the Preview check box we see the before and then now we see the after.
And again, we created this color palette and this look by working with our Temperature slider and our Tint sliders. Then we also modified the overall exposure or Brightness, and Contrast. We boosted up those Shadows, and then brought down the Blacks to deepen those darker tones. And then we modified the Clarity by increasing that, then customize Vibrance and Saturation by increasing those values as well. All right? Well this is a pretty good spot at least for our first few steps. Next, let's navigate over to the Split Toning controls.
You can access those by clicking on the tab for the Split Toning panel. You'll see that right over here. Now here what we're going to do is add a color to the highlights. We'll add a yellow there. So if you drag the Hue slider over into the yellow range, right around here, you can then increase the yellows that we have by dragging that Saturation slider to the right. Notice how those become more yellow as we drag this over to the right. Alright, what about the deep shadows? Well there I want to bring out some reds. So lets leave the Hue slider where it is and just increase the Saturation of the reds in the hadows.
Exaggerate it for a moment, you can really see how far you can go with this. And again, I'm going for something which is a little bit closer to say a book cover or a movie poster. So I'm not looking for realistic color here. Rather, I'm looking for drama and visual interest. And in this case, I think having a lot of reds in that photograph looks pretty fun. Alright well lets click on the Preview check box. Here's the before and after of the Split Toning panel adjustments. And again we made those by dragging the Hue slider over to the yellow area right here, then by increasing the Saturation, and by working on our shadows by leaving the Hue slider where it is, and by increasing the Saturation of that amount.
How far you go with all of these adjustments is really subjective. And so you just want to bring them over until you think the photograph looks good. Alright, well, before we leave Camera Raw, we also want to work on the little teeny details. So let's navigate over to the Detail panel by clicking on the Detail tab right here. Here what we'll do is just bring the Detail amount down. We don't want to bring out any of the small little artifacts. We do perhaps want to sharpen just a little bit of the photograph here, and then reduce a touch of the Luminance noise as well.
And leave the Color Noise Reduction right where it's at. So again I'm not even zooming into 100%, I'm not analyzing the little details, because I know that basically what I want to do is make sure I"m protecting the small details, so my Detail goes to zero. I'm applying a really, just subtle, moderate amount of sharpening. It's just kind of fixing the image up just a little bit. Keep in mind, this is a background, and there's sun flare, so it shouldn't be that sharp. And because it is a lower exposure, I know there may be some noise, so I just brought up my Luminance slider.
And left the Color Noise Reduction slider right where it was. Alright well now that we've done all of these things lets go ahead and open up this photograph. To do so we'll click on Open Image. That will then apply all of these settings to the photograph and then it will open it up here in Photoshop. Once the file is open in Photoshop we need to save it out. So let's do that, navigate to the File pull down menu, then choose Save As. And we want to save this out, we'll save that to the same folder, we'll just name it sunrise.psd.
Save this one out as a Photoshop document, and then go ahead and leave the check box on for Embed Color Profile. And then next, let's go ahead and click Save. Alright, well now that we have modified this photograph and saved it, the next step, of course, is going to be to bring over our portrait and begin to take a look at how we can remove the subject from that environment. So let's take a look at how we can do that in the next few movies.
- Combining multiple exposures in one Photoshop file
- Selecting and removing the subject from the background
- Using masking to combine images together
- Improving color, details, and tone
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why do the exercise files contain extra images?
A: The exercise files folder for this course contains the images for all three courses in the Portrait Project series .