I wanted to shoot this idea for the 52 Week Project’s second theme, “Backlit” – but I didn’t get a chance to go to the desert and I had so much going on (in my head) that it was hard for me to get anything done. But I took a break and now I’m back – with a new image and a step-by-step of what I did! I’ve never written a tutorial before, so if anything isn’t clear, lemme know 🙂
About the 52 Week Project, I still haven’t figured out how it’s going to work, and Nadeem might not work on every theme with me because he’s super busy, but I will keep announcing a new theme. That is going to keep me committed, and excited, to post something new. Next theme is: color focus (photographs that are mainly made up of one color). I picked this randomly; I wrote down a bunch of themes in tiny papers and folded them and that’s how I’m going to pick a new theme every time 😀
Now, the new picture!
This is usually how I start off before shooting an image – doodling and sketching whatever comes to mind. I don’t always stick to what I’ve written, but the initial idea is there. To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed sharing this, because when I try to describe an idea I have in my head, it’s like.. what is grammar haha
I shot quite a few pictures to get the right pose, and this is the one I chose:
I felt like the dress looked a little bulky, so I used the liquify tool to adjust it:
Then I duplicated the image and darkened the whole thing using curves, then masked it so that only the background would be dark.
Added the sky and extended the ladder
More ladder 😀
Expanded the frame
Then I added this image I shot a while back in Fujairah
Masked it to hide the sky because at this point I didn’t know if I wanted to keep the clouds
Then I used this image I shot back in December, set the mode to Hard Light at 59% opacity
I also added a soft grey layer to give it a bit of a haze
I was going to settle for that sky, but I wanted something a little more dramatic, so I added the sky from the picture of the mountains. I masked it to keep the clouds only, and adjusted it using curves to add reds and yellows.
Then I changed the blending mode to multiply at 36%
Now moving on to adjustment layers & textures
Hue/saturation: -25 saturation
Curves: increased the reds, decreased the greens, decreased the blues
Then I added a vignette using curves
Added this texture at soft light & 59% opacity
Erased it off the subject and added an exposure adjustment layer: offset +0.0042
Desaturated at -14 and added a selective color adjustment layer. In the Reds tab, I had cyan at -40, magenta at +1, yellow at 0, and black at +17. I did this mainly because after desaturating the whole image, the reds looked a little dull.
Added another curves adjustment layer and decreased the highlights in the blue tab to make it a bit yellow-er.
Added another texture and brightened the subject using curves
Used a brightness/contrast adjustment layer to add some contrast at +17, and another selective color adjustment layer to darken the dress (red > black: +40%)
To finish it off, did a stamp visible and added a reduce noise filter and that’s it 🙂
This was so much fun to shoot and edit, and it’s so different than what I usually do. I felt like it has SO much color and most of my work is desaturated, but I always love experimenting!
Do let me know if this helps you in any way, or if you have any questions 🙂