After Before Friday: Week 61 | Tea Towels and Balloons!

AfterBefore Friday Forum is a weekly get together for a bunch of photographers of all skills and abilities to share their processed images and the “magic” behind them. Now hosted by Benjamin Rowe from Aperture64 except for the first Friday each month when Stacy will host the One Photo Focus. Got it? If you want to join in the fun at AfterBeforeFriday, see this link.

Earlier this week I watched a video on “Creative Live”, one of their Photo Week series, about Monochrome Conversion. Hosted by Vincent Versace, he was talking about better ways to create a monochrome image. His point seemed to be that many methods of B&W conversion in Photoshop just get rid of the colour data, leaving you with much less information to make a decent monochrome image from. He showed us how to convert using hue/saturation adjustments. Although I understood exactly where he was coming from, I didn’t quite get how he was doing it, so today I found a step by step guide on MacLife (it refers to Photoshop, so could be used on Windows also) that showed me more simply.  Basically, you create a hue/saturation layer, taking the saturation down to -100 and underneath that create another H/S layer that enables you to adjust colours before they are desaturated.

Anyway, enough waffling on, here is my start image…

tea towels and balloons-before

Don’t get me wrong, I like this image in colour, but I thought it had a reasonable amount of contrast in it and also plenty of different colours to experiment with.

After basic Lightroom adjustments, I opened in Photoshop and created two hue/saturation layers, the first to adjust colours and the second to desaturate.

Screenshot 2015-09-23 13.26.22

The desaturated image seemed a little bland, so I brought the lightness in the blues down to the left to darken the sky and did some gentler alteration to the other colours to try to get the best tonal separation in the image.

Then I added a further H/S layer and changed the blending mode to soft light to increase the contrast.

Screenshot 2015-09-23 13.32.03

Then I added two further layers, one to give it some warm tones by colourising a H/S layer and finally a curves layer to bring out the white of the balloons and cloths.

Bringing me to my final image…

tea towels and balloons-3

I’d love to know your thoughts on this edit and also your views on this process.

For more After Before Friday images and edits, visit Ben at Aperture64.


10 thoughts on “After Before Friday: Week 61 | Tea Towels and Balloons!

  1. The monochrome version looks so much better, sharper. I love how you saw the potential in the image, I find that the best part of the editing job. When I look at the image and now just what to do.
    As for the process, I use something similar with PicMonkey and PixlrExpress, just without layers. Tweaking and adjusting until I get the best contrast. When I see how many of you are eager to look around for tutorials and new info, I feel extremely lazy. I am like an elephant in a glass shop, just running around and trying to find some candies. 😀

    1. Thanks Loré. Maybe the photography tutorials are just a way to escape what I really should be doing! And now I’m picturing the elephant in the glass shop and can’t stop smiling. 😀

  2. Nicely done, Katie! I’ve just started using the color sliders in LR to create monochrome images instead of exporting them to Silver Efex Pro. It’s an interesting learning exercise and I feel more satisfaction that I am crafting the image instead of relying on presets. I have nothing against presets, mind you; I just like the challenge of starting from scratch, so to speak, as you did with your layering in PS.

    You’ve brought clarity and definition to the focus of the photo – the tea towels – while creating lovely layering in the tones throughout.

    1. Thanks Stacy, I’ve not used presets much and Silver Efex not at all. I’m sure they have their place, but you do get a great feeling of satisfaction when you have done it all from scratch. See you for One Photo Focus next week! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment Sherry. I think it probably could if you used the HSL panel and the tone curve. I found it gives more control when you work with the layers in Ps though.

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