I shot this picture just while standing at a red light on a street corner. I thought nothing of it, but with just a few adjustments I was able to make it into a really interesting picture that really shows off the texture of my old leather shoes.
Before / After:
1- Adjustments in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
I made adjustments to the contrast and clarity of the picture in Lightroom before importing it in Photoshop:
- I increased the Contrast to +60.
- To add even more contrast in the mid-tones, I increased the Clarity setting to the maximal value of +100.
- Now that the image is ready for final edits in Photoshop. Right-click on the photo thumbnail at the bottom of Lightroom and select Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop.
2- Even more contrast + slight blue tint
I used a Curves adjustment layer to add even more interesting contrast to this shot and to bring a little bit of blue in the shadows:
- Create a Curves adjustment layer.
- In the RGB channel, bring the dark point slightly to the right and the white point slightly to the left. Here’s how the curve looks like:
- Now, in the same Curves adjustment layer, but this time in the Blue channel, bring the dark point straight up slightly and the light point straight down slightly. This adds a little bit of blue in the shadows and brings back a little bit of yellow/orange in the highlights. Here’s how the curve looks like:
- I wanted double of that effect, so I duplicated the layer Cmd+J Ctrl+J, and left the copy at an opacity 100%.
3- Darken everything
I then realized that the image could look even more interesting by being just a touch darker overall:
- Create another Curves adjustment layer.
- Staying in RGB mode for the curve, bring the middle of the curve slightly downward to darken the whole image ever so slightly.
4- Darkening the sidewalk around the shoes
Now I used another Curves adjustment to just darken the sidewalk:
- Create yet another Curves adjustment layer.
- In the RBG channel, bring the dark point that’s in the bottom left corner slightly to the right.
- Now click on the layer mask associated with that Curves layer and hit Cmd+I Ctrl+I to invert the colors and effectively make the mask hide the whole effect.
- Using a Soft White Brush → B, paint the sidewalk around the shoes to reveal the effect of the adjustment layer on the sidewalk part of the picture.
- You might be able to see where the effect starts and stops too easily, in which case you’ll want to add a Gaussian Blur filter effect to the whole layer mask.
- Now once again I wanted double of that darkening effect, so I duplicated the layer Cmd+J Ctrl+J.
Et voilà! The stylish leather shoes have been rendered justice with just a few tweaks.
🌄 Image info:
- Camera: Nikon D80
- Focal length: 60mm
- Shutter speed: 1/80s
- Aperture: f/7.1
- ISO: 1250