Photography, Photoshop

Intensifying image contrast & colour

Modern Digital cameras are very prone to delivering very flat, low contrast images, particularly if you shoot RAW (and you really should be shooting raw). There are lots of ways to deal with this from simply boosting contrast, adjusting levels to the deep dark secrets of Curves and curves adjustments. Each of these techniques have their place and there are images with which these techniques work perfectly. My particular preference in portraits is for a more intense look that I could not achieve using any of these techniques and the following is a workflow I have come up with which gives me images I am happy with. [column width=”50%” padding=”0%”] This is an image of an indian man I photographed in New Delhi a couple of years ago. The image appeals to me on a number of levels; the expression on the mans face, the weight of years evident in the lines of his face and the sadness in his eyes. I was not very happy with the intensity of the colours not the contrast in the image.
Step one for me was to duplicate the layer and change the blend mode to soft light. Soft light has a similar effect to overlay mode but just not as strong. Depending on your tastes, you can also change the opacity to reduce the intensity of the effect. In addition, to increase the intensity, just create a third layer with its opacity also set Soft Light. [/column] [column width=”50%” padding=”0″] [singlepic id=173 w=320 h=240 float=center] [/column] [end_columns] [column width=”50%” padding=”0″] [singlepic id=169 w=320 h=240 float=center] [/column] [column width=”50%” padding=”0″] [singlepic id=162 w=320 h=240 float=center] [/column] [end_columns] [column width=”50%” padding=”0″] Finally, I “sharpen” the image using a hi-pass filter. To do this, first add a new copy layer (the keyboard shortcut for this is CTRL+J). Then go to filter |Other| High-Pass. At this point, the image should go uniform grey. Slowly adjust the slider until detail starts to show through. The high pass radius setting you want will depend on the intensity of the sharpening you want to add – don’t be afraid to experiment to play with different looks. [/column] [column width=”50%” padding=”0″] [singlepic id=171 w=320 h=240 float=center] [/column] [end_columns] [column width=”50%” padding=”0″] [singlepic id=170 w=320 h=240 float=center] [/column] [column width=”50%” padding=”0″] [/column] This is the final image! You can click on any of the images to see a larger version of the image and see the effects more clearly. [end_columns]