Spring is absolutely my favorite time of the year in Texas. The temperature is nice, everything is in bloom, and I don’t suffer from a pollen allergy. (sorry for my friends who do!) But the highlight of this time of year is all the wildflowers most notably, the bluebonnets! We took a trip to Brenham about a week ago and had a little fun photographing the kids playing and attempting to get a family photo (fail, but that’s another story)
One picture, in particular, that I liked was this one. This is straight out of camera (SOOC) I loved the way the wind was blowing her hair, the contrast of her white dress and, of course, the bluebonnets. But I felt that this image could use a little “oomph!” Enter Photoshop. So, I’ll break down the steps I took in transforming this image.
The first thing I did was to do some basic edits in Lightroom. I raised the shadows and the exposure just slightly, increased the contrast and reduced the highlights. Then I added vibrance and reduced the blacks. At this point, I moved the image over to Photoshop. Once in PS, I decided that I wanted her to be trying to catch something more interesting than her little toy dog, so I Googled “balloons png” and I found a few free images to use and settled on what you see. Then, I added a new sky from my collection (I sometimes photograph pretty skies just for this purpose) So, I dropped the sky in over my image and put a layer mask on it. I used the graduated filter to make it darker at the top and lighter towards the horizon (as skies are not generally the same intensity throughout) Then I used my paintbrush to brush the sky off of my subject. Next, I added the balloons. At first the balloons were too different from the overall image and it wasn’t looking natural. So I went to Image, Adjustments, Match Color then selected the sky as my source and the layer as my balloons. I adjusted the Luminance, Color intensity and fade until I felt that the balloons were blending into the overall image a bit better. Now, the issue of her dress. It was too flat and still but I wanted it to help express the movement of the wind that day. So, I opened another image of her dress blowing (see below) and I cut off the part that I wanted to use and added it to my final image.
The final changes I made were to fill in the empty spaces with a few more bluebonnets. I used the clone tool and took from areas within the same focal range and blended them into the empty spots in the field. Then, I used the Liquify tool to make her hair a little more dramatic, Finally, I took the light poles and other small, distracting elements out of the image and Viola! The final product! It may seem like a lot of steps, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process and that, to me, is all part of the fun! I hope this helps and that you get a chance to see the bluebonnets for yourself while they’re still here!