December 9, 2011

Dreamy Backlit Photos

So you may always be looking through online images, magazines, blogs, etc. and see these amazing photos that have this awesome lighting and great contrast. Well, I am going to share some secrets with you that I use to make my photos high quality, even when they originally are not.

First, when setting up your shot, try to set up with a window behind your subject (or yourself, if you are the subject) and set your camera's aperture to be really wide and your shutterspeed to be relatively low, so the light behind your subject is whited out, instead of showing all of those things that are distracting through the window.

So here is the end result we are shooting for, and I will go through some very simple and quick steps you can do to make the photo look a million times better.

 This is the original photo that I started off with, you can still see a lovely dirt bike through the window, but you don't want that to show in your nice photo, so here is what I did to bring more light and get rid of background noise.

 First open your file in Photoshop (this tutorial is using CS5 on a Mac, so it may be different commands on your PC).
 First, you want to create a new brightness/contrast adjustment layer.

 Change your brightness to +75 (or to where it looks best for your photo) and your contrast up to +30, so you don't lose those nice details in the forefront.
 Now, returning to your background layer, create a curves adjustment layer and stretch the line upwards to where you like the way it looks (don't grab the line from the center, grab it from the top third).
 Now, you can do one of two steps, 1. you can open up your levels panel (command-L) and bring up your blacks (left toggle), or 2. press shift-command-L to do an auto-tone, which also looks nice and gives a similar effect.

 Now what you want to do is take the clone stamp tool (in your tool bar) and get rid of any unwanted background noise that didn't go away with your adjustments. I covered up a heating vent, a wire and part of my sliding glass door handle.
 Now crop to your size of choice, I always crop to 300 ppi, no matter what dimensions I choose for a photograph.
And now you have a finished product! It is simple, fast, and makes a great photo for your posts.

Have fun Photoshopping!

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