Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing
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Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

About the image

Preface: Dificulity is low to moderate. To get the most out of this lesson, you will need to know: Photoshop. You do not need to know a lot about any of the following, but you do need to at least know what they are and what they do.

Within Photoshop you will need to know: Layers, masks, brushes, adjustment layers, curves.

Additionally you will need to know: ACRC (Adobe Camera RAW Converter) in Bridge or ACRC in Lightroom and have some knowledge of what each of the sliders in ACRC do. This lesson will not cover any of these other than showing how I used these items. Google what you do not know and you will likely find what you are looking for in your Mother tongue.

And you will need a photo to work on.

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

This lifestyle fishing image was shot on Piney Lake in Colorado USA. Dave, the fisherman, ask me if I wanted to go. I knew the light was going to be less than thrilling but I got my camera bag and got into the boat. I squeezed into the bow and got as low as I could and I noticed the dog was taking interest in something and realized this was going to be a cool image.

Color wise the photo is flat, as I knew it would be. I opened the file and no matter what I did, it was just a snapshot and not that great of a snapshot so I quit.

2 years later I wanted to try different layers of the same photo, each with a different color so I could "Build" the image into WOW. The dialog and photos below will walk you through this process and tells you what each of the 7 layers are doing.

Note that this is me opening the image 4 times and each of these times I made different color, hue, saturation, contrast etc. adjustments to the same image file. Also note that I saved and named each of these adjustments so I could go back and re-adjust the file if I did not like what I did the first time.

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

This is the RAW file out of the camera, nothing has been changed. So as you can clearly see, nothing exciting.

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

My first adjustments were to warm the general scene and add contrast.

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

The layer below was for the color in the boat and on the water. I also removed the tripod because I knew if I moved it, the dog's expression would stop and I'd lose the image.

Hint: If the sky has a tint, the rest of the scene needs to have that tint too, not matching, but in that color direction.

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

This shows what the "Sky" layer looks like:

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

This shows what the "Sky" layer looks like with the rest of the scene masked off:

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

This shows what the "Blue Bags" layer looks like:

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

This shows the "Blue Bags" layer with the mask applied, note there is some blue added to the dog.
When the sky is blue and no sun hits the subject, they are lit by the blue sky:

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

This shows what the layer structure looks like. Note that the layers are named, this helps
when you are working on the image as what is doing what - click here or on photo to enlarge.

Note, inside the large red box you will see 5 image layers and 2 adjustment layers.
Also there are 4 different masks.

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

And this shows the "Snapshots" in ACRC (Adobe Camera RAW Converter). When I am working on an image I know I will need several layers to built on, I will save every color, contrast, hue, saturation etc. setting as I build the image. Each "Snapshot" saves everything you did to that image within the Adobe RAW converter.

Google how to save a snapshot, on Windows I hold down the Control + Shift keys then tap the "S" (for save) key. A small new window will open with the default name of: "Untitled-1", I suggest you change the name to something that relates to the image. Examples in this image would be: Sky, Water, Blue bags etc. Photoshop will NOT save any of these for you. It will only remember what your last setting was.

If you want to use this feature, I strongly suggest you save a snapshot of every version. Example: If I did not like my first sky adjustment, I would go back the file, make a new series of adjustments and I would save a new snapshot with the name: Sky V2 ("V" for Version). If I did another adjustment I'd name it Sky V3 and so on. You will be very thankful when you decide your first version was the best one and if you saved it you can go back to it, if you do not save it, it is gone.

Hint: Using this same example, if I have 2 or 3 different sky layers, (it happens) I'll rename the layers to match which blue snapshot is which layer: Blue, Blue V2, Blue V3.

This means you can return to the image in the future and re-build the image to match the original finished photo. I can almost guarantee that most photographers will not remember exactly each step and how each layer was processed. By creating and naming these snapshots, you can have a real good idea what you did.

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

For Photographers

The Gear:
A Canon camera using 100 ISO and 1/125 of a second shutter speed using a
Canon 16-35mm zoom lens at 16mm and f2.8.

The Light:
Overcast skylight.

Award Winning Imagery, Fly Fishing Steve Thornton

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

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