DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY - GRADUATED FILTER EFFECT - LANDSCAPE PHOTOS
ENHANCE YOUR LANDSCAPE PHOTOS
If you see a landscape photograph taken by a professional photographer, you will usually notice that the sky is quite dramatic. This is an effect that's easy to reproduce in a digital image.
Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0. Time: 10 minutes. Suitable for: any landscape photo with a band of uninterrupted sky.
Open the image. Click Enhance>Auto Levels. This removes the dullness from the photo. Now click Enhance>Adjust Colour>Hue & Saturation and move the Saturation slider up to +15, to brighten the colour slightly, if required (this will depend upon your original photo).
CREATE AN ADJUSTMENT LAYER
First make sure that the Layers palette is visible on screen. If it isn't, click Window>Layers. Now click on the circular Create an Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette. Click Levels. The Levels dialogue box will open, showing Input and Output levels. It's the Input Levels that you'll be adjusting in this case. If you look at the sliders under the Input Levels histogram, you'll see there are three sliders, the one on the left adjusts the dark areas of the image, the one in the middle the midtones, and the one on the right the bright areas. Move the middle slider to the right until the sky is considerably darker (ignore what the change does to the rest of the photo). Click OK.
Adjust the image so that only the sky is darker Click on the Gradient Tool in the toolbox on the left of the screen. In the Tool Settings bar near the top of the screen, an example of the gradient will appear. It should be graduated from white to black. If it isn't, click on the tiny drop-down arrow next to the example and choose the gradient in the top left-hand corner. If you look at the Levels adjustment layer that you created in the layers palette, you will see a Layer Mask (the all-white rectangle). Click on the Layer Mask, then put your mouse back over the picture. Click at the very top of the picture, hold down the mouse button and drag vertically from the top to the bottom of the sky. The Layer Mask should now be black with a small white area at the top. This will reveal the darkened sky, but the rest of the photo will now be unaffected by the change in Levels. If you're not entirely happy with the result, you can double click on the Layer Thumbnail in the adjustment layer and readjust the sliders until you achieve the desired effect.
Jan uses Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter for image editing and digital, see Jan's portraits website for more details.. She has been running popular digital photography training courses for four years. See Jan's digital photography website.