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Photography Tutorial on how to add light in photoshop

Photography Tutorial on how to add light in photoshop

Photography Tutorial on how to add light in photoshop

Thought I would do a bit of a wedding photography tutorial on how to add light in photoshop today, so I can take a bit of a break from wedding photography editing! The editing is the stuff wedding photographers do whilst not photographing weddings, so it’s quite a big part of the job and I thought I would share this recent shot I got and go through some of the steps to get it looking how I wanted it to. It’s worth noting this can be done in any room with a bit of light coming through the windows but if you have an big impressive church to capture it might have a bit more impact! When I was taking this every now and then I could see these cool shafts of light coming through the windows but it wasn’t really enough to capture so I had already planned how I was going to edit this shot after the wedding (you can’t stop these sorts of things and just wait for the light, it’s a wedding at the end of the day). Anyway this was the end result but I will go through some of the main steps I took to get it.

This photography tutorial will be split between Lightroom (LR) for the early stages and Photoshop (PS) for the later stages. The shot was taken with a Canon 5DII with a 24-70 f/2.8L lens. Taken in manual mode at 24mm, f/2.8, 1/100 ISO3200. This is the image, unedited, straight out of the camera. One important point, generally if you shoot a lot in Av mode these types of shots tend to underexpose as the camera sees the big bright windows and thinks there is more light then there should be so it is important to either increase your exposure compensation (if in Av mode) or just go to manual and have an experiment with your settings.

Converging Verticals

The first thing to deal with is the converging verticals which is common when photographing any architecture, basically buildings look like they are falling backwards as the vertical lines go up. This is a very quick fix in LR in the develop panel, lens correction, manual. I just move the vertical over until the walls appear parallel (in this case I used the imposing columns/arches to line up with the grid).

It is also a good idea to check the ‘constrain crop’ box, this way LR will crop in to remove the white sections that will appear. You will lose some of the sides on this so it is worth remembering to go a little wider when taking the photo to account for correcting the verticals later. After the verticals were corrected I just tweaked where the crop was going

Colour Temperature

I then adjusted the temperature of the image using the white balance slider, again in the develop module. I love my images to look nice and warm so I sent this one from the cameras reasonable cool estimate of 3800K to a much more pleasing 5000K

Noise Reduction

I then did some noise reduction in LR. The church looked nice and bright but to get this I had to go to ISO3200 which isn’t ideal really so I wanted to get rid of a bit of the noise. This again is in the develop panel under ‘detail’ and the amounts will vary depending on what camera and ISO level you use. I have some presets set up so it’s just a case of clicking on the appropriate one (there are loads of noise reduction presets for LR out there or you can go ahead and save your own. Same really for sharpening, which you can auto apply when you import your RAW files.

Photography tutorial on how to add light in Photoshop – Adjustment Brush

The last thing I did in LR was use the adjustment brush (again in develop panel) to just bring back a bit of detail in the stained glass window. I did this by bringing down the exposure on the adjustment brush by 0.3 and reducing the highlights by 25. After that I then took the image into Photoshop for the shafts of light.

I began by using the polygonal lasso tool, on a new layer, to draw out the shaft of light from the first window, the important thing to remember is the light must spread out a little. I could use the pools of light on the floor of the church and the sides of the pews to line up the light. After this was drawn I then filled it white (ctrl + backspace)

As light isn’t that sharp it must be diffused slightly. With the light shaft layer active (no selection), go to filter, blur, Gaussian blur. I went with about 25 pixels but this again is dependent on the image. This will diffuse the shaft a little. I then reduced the opacity to suit (between 20-50%)

The next thing to do is apply a graduated layer mask to the shaft of light. This is done by adding a layer mask then selecting the graduated tool, making sure it is going from black to white and then drawing a line in the opposite direction to the light, in this case from the bottom left up to near the window. Again this may take a bit of experimentation to get right.

If you want to add a bit of warmth (or any colour) to the light you just add an adjustment layer, solid colour and then pick the colour you wish to add to the light (the whole screen will go that colour, don’t panic) you then hold ALT and click the line between the solid colour layer and the light shaft layer, this will then only apply the solid colour to that layer.

It is then just a case of repeating this for any other windows and tweaking the opacities of both the light and the colour overlay. The thing to remember is all the light layers must be going in the same direction through the windows. They will nicely stack up on themselves to create a nice effect. I grouped mine so I could adjust the opacity of the whole group.

Photography Tutorial on how to add light in photoshop

The last thing I did back in light room was a bit of a vignette but you can also do these in PS no problem but that’s another tutorial. I hope this has helped and/or inspired you with your photos, it’s a great little trick to be used if the circumstances are right. Thanks for looking folks, feel free to share this tutorial with anyone who will appreciate it.

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