Lazy Hazy Days of Summer---tutorial

7:08 AM Katie Evans 8 Comments

Here it is... The tutorial you've been waiting all weekend for. (or not.) But really, I hope you learn something...
This is my little 5 going on 25 year old, Maddie. Friday night we found ourselves on a nearby train track just as the sun was setting. Ahhh, perfect for a nice back lit lazy hazy summer picture. right? I thought so too. So I want to show you the steps I take to get to this:

from this:
(Note: All my editing is done in Adobe Lightroom)

When I first went through my pictures from the evening I have to admit, I pretty much just passed by the above picture. It didn't really call out to me...except for the fact that I liked her expression. It's real. Many times Maddie seems to only be able to give me those forced looks that I'm not too fond of. I like natural. And this was natural Maddie. But I didn't like all that empty space around her. I also don't like the subject to face or look "out of my picture". See how she is slightly looking to the right? She's looking "out of the picture". If she were looking to the left (into the frame), I may not have cropped the picture because she would be looking "into the picture".

SO I then cropped the picture to look like this:

I usually always crop my picture first and then work on enhancing or changing the coloring. So now that it's cropped I increased the blacks quite a bit (44). Chances are if I'm working with back lit pictures I almost always increase the blacks. The brightness and harshness of the sun tends to wash out the color. But by increasing blacks, the color becomes more apparent.

Next, I felt like the picture looked a little dull, especially her dress so I slightly increased the brightness (+21). And to get it to pop I also increased the contrast (+23).

At this point I just wasn't fully satisfied with the picture. I liked it but I didn't feel like it Captured the look and feeling of the evening. I wanted more of a warm lazy summertime glow. Which means the colors need to be a slightly muted. So I decreased the vibrance (-45).

And last, to give it that glow, I increased the temperature (+26). I also took that little spot by her right hand out using the spot removal tool. It was bugging me. :) So there you go, the final image...

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. I'd love to see some of your summer days pictures. I plan on starting a flicker group where we can all showcase our improvements. Until then..happy Monday to you!

Here it is... The tutorial you've been waiting all weekend for. (or not.) But really, I hope you learn something... This is my little ...


Alicia said...

thanks katie! tutorials are a great idea!

Aliki said...

i agree with Alicia, tutorials are great!thank you!
just bought my Nikkon and i am trying to figure it out...thankfully i have your book!

man girl you sure know where to find the light. amazing shot!

Do you have any suggestions on how to increase or decrease the blacks in photoshop?

Thank you so much! Love reading simple how-to's!

Alysa said...

Bookmarking this for when I get my new DSLR (very very soon I hope!). Thanks for all of the great knowledge you share.

I love these tutorials! Very helpful for someone like me who just started using Lightroom. Thanks!

Emily said...

Hi Katie, I'm a new follower. I'm also one of those moms who bought a DSLR to take pics of my kids and somehow became obsessed with the beauty of photography. I'm so happy I found your blog and thanks for sharing your tips!