July 07, 2011
Shoot and Edit: Week 26 – Red, White and Blue…EDIT
Welcome to the 26th week of Shoot and Edit: Part 2. Click HERE for all the details and upcoming prompts/themes (also including previous editing tutorials). This week’s theme or prompt was to show us one “Red, White and Blue” SOOC shot (this was just a suggestion, you can show us any SOOC shot). I clearly did not follow the rules, but hopefully you linked up with Jill’s blog earlier this week.

Each Thursday, I will take my SOOC shot and provide a simple/basic or advanced Photoshop/Photoshop Elements tutorial. You can then try my tutorial on your own photos and link up here – linky will now open EARLY on Thursdays and be open THROUGH SUNDAY. If you’d prefer, can simply share your own edit and show us what you did to achieve the look. We want this challenge to be a learning experience, so feel free to teach us something new too! Also, it does not matter what editing program you use. Although I tend to work within Adobe CS5 (Photoshop), Photoshop Elements and Adobe Camera Raw…it does not mean that you have to use the exact same program. I hope you’ll be able to take the concepts and apply them in the program you feel most comfortable using.

When I posted my SOOC shot on Monday, I really had no idea where I would go with this week’s tutorial. I then realized that since my “x-ray” photo last week, I’ve been experimenting with the invert tool a lot. Today, I thought I might see what that tool could do for a previously uninspired shot. I’ll share a few other tricks that I have up my sleeve, so be sure you pay attention. Here’s the SOOC shot I shared earlier this week:
For the past 25 weeks, we’ve started in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). This week was no different. If you’ve missed any of my previous Good to Wow PS/PSE tutorials, click HERE. By starting in ACR, I was able to make adjustments to my white balance, add fill light, adjust my curves and saturation. These elements can also be done in Photoshop or Elements, but I prefer working in ACR first.
Once I moved into Photoshop (CS5), I immediately knew that I wanted to get rid of the partial North Carolina flag you see below the American Flag. I originally was trying to capture both, but the NC flag got wrapped around the flag pole. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting screen captures of my activity, but hopefully you’ll be able to follow. 
  • First, create a duplicate of your image and then create a duplicate layer. 
  • Use your MARQUEE TOOL to create a small box around the area you want to extend (in this case, I wanted it to appear as if there was a longer pole – much easier than cloning). 
  • Once the box has been selected, click CTRL+T to free transform. Then use your mouse to pull the bottom of the box down. 
At that point, I decided I wanted more canvas so I went into IMAGE>CANVAS SIZE and added more. I re-used my marquee tool to stretch the canvas. I then used the measurements from my original image to crop the photo to size. I hope that makes sense.

Beyond that, I applied Perfect Portrait 3 by The Coffeeshop Blog.
Flag PP3 RS
Perfect Portrait 3
If you’re a photography purist, you’ll probably like the above edit the best – it’s nice and clean, but I think the sky looks rather bland. Truth be told, I took my photo sometime between 1-2 pm on Monday afternoon…we all know that I could have chosen a much more ideal time of day to do my shooting. HOWEVER, at 6 pm, the bottom dropped so I guess it’s a good thing I did go ahead and take a photo.

There are a number of ways to darken/enrich a light blue sky such as the one in my photo. One of those ways is to create an INVERT layer using a SUBTRACT blending mode. Feel free to experiment with other blending modes while using the invert tool – just be sure to lower your opacity if you want your image to still look fairly natural. I lowered mine to 60%. I then used a layer mask to remove the effect (black brush) from the flag. You can further enhance the sky by tinkering with color balance.
Flag invert RS
Invert Tool
Once again, I could have left the photo alone at this point…but, I’m really digging the Vintage Film Effect by fallout75 (free action if you haven’t already downloaded it – applied at 70% opacity). I also decided to render a sunflare (as discussed in this tutorial)  and apply a light layer of bokeh (soft light blending mode at 40% opacity). Here’s my final edit…what do you think?
Flag Vintage RS
Final Edit using Vintage Action
So, to recap our lesson, today we discussed stretching the canvas again – with a partial approach. We also discussed using the invert tool to deepen the color of the sky. For your edit, I would love to see you continuing using the lessons we’ve covered in the past 25 weeks as well as apply today’s lesson or share something you’ve learned recently.

With that said, here’s a final look at my SOOC and Final shot. I hope you found today’s lesson useful. If you have any questions or need more explanation, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Flag Compare
By the way, you might have noticed that I did not edit my other photo – I may share it later, but I was pretty satisfied with my SOOC shot (that and this post was getting a bit long/crowded). I hope you all have a great Thursday and I look forward to seeing your edits. Next week’s theme is “Skies the Limit.”


    Oh I sure do love editing photos and I’m fairly certain that it’s at an unhealthy level at this point!

    Love your edit – love the photo!

    It looks so cool! Thanks, BTW, for stopping by my blog. =)

    Great edit Ashley! I use the Coffee Shop Blog’s perfect portrait 2 (same thing except that the skin smoothing isn’t automatic like it is in the 3 version). I had not considered that I could use it on something like a flag. It makes sense though. Thanks for the tutorial and for showing me yet another thing that should have been obvious to me.

    I love this Ashley. I like the final shot. I think I may have a go at this myself. Should give you a laugh if nothing else!

    And sorry to hear about your wedges on ebay, have you tried contacting them about it because it does sound like a misleading listing to me.

    uh i really like the final result for this picture!
    great :D

    Well I like the SOOC shot but the end edit is so dreamy. Love reading your tutorials. I learn a lot.

    Ash – this looks GREAT!!!! I really need to start learning photoshop. There are so many great tools to use and I don’t even know where to begin! I’ll have to keep at it – you did a beautiful job – great photo :)

    I love how you’ve used the vintage action – the sky looks much more dynmaic and it really makes the photo pop.

    Wow, awesome! You are amazing, thanks for all the tutorials for us novices :-)

    So awesome!!

    I wish the vintage action worked in PSE. Bummer.

    Gorgeous edits!

    Happy Thursday sweet friend!

    Beautiful flag, all I’ve got is the white today!

    WOW…the final edit is so cool!

    Ah, cool tricks! I REALLY like your edit. I definitely love the sun flare!

    ooooh… i don’t have that action…
    and i LIKE it!!
    thanks for sharing!

    You were really able to make the sky pop! Great edits!

    Ashley, I miss you too. You should come back to SPN. We’ve having a one year celebration with lots of goodies. We would love to have your expertise back on the board!

    Really amazing, Ashley. I like how you made it glow. It appears as though you took the original subject and manipulated it until the light, not the flag, became the subject. Brilliant!

    wow what a great edit!!! it really made your photo great!!!

    That is so pretty. I love flag photo’s.

    I am just loving all the different ways one can edit the same shot & just come out with such a different feel with each one. Makes it hard to stop editing as we discussed. Also makes it hard to choose favorites- I like how they all turned out.

    Wonderful effects! I love it!

    I really like your final edit!

    Really great edit! I love the bokeh and the sunflare you added to the final shot. I’ll have to experiment with the invert tool. I’ve got a great shot to use this on. :)

    I love them all for different reasons! Nicely done! I need to check out this vintage action….thanks for posting it!!

    I absolutely love your final edit! Just lovely!

    there is almost always something wonderful about a final vintage touch. this is gorgeous, Ashley!

    Ashley, you rock. I LOVE your final edit!

    I’m super excited to check out your tutorials. Just got PSE 9, & am a bit lost. So new to all this, but excited to learn! I absolutely love it all. Do you have any suggestions for a TOTAL beginner, any editing tutorials or cool actions OR what not? You are so crazy talented, I’d apricciate any advice from ya! Thanks.

    wow – what an amazing edit…. love the end result!!!!

    What a fabulous edit! This may be my favorite yet.

    Marla @ http://www.blueskiesphotoblog.com

    It’s a great shot to start with but the edit is wonderful!

    Love the vintage edit.

    Not only did you make the sky bluer but the flag just pops. Very nice. V

    I’m always partial to a good vintage wash and a hint of sun flare! Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

    I just love how you’ve brightened up the flag!!

    SO impressive. I am trying to learn…but I just don’t know???? Over.whelming.

    I am really digging that vintage effect…free download, you say? I know what I’m clicking on next! :D

    Great edit! I love the sky and the sun-spots!

    Wonderful edits! Love your final one!

    Great edit. Love your final edit. Looks great!!

    Man, I wish I could edit like that! I think the final photo is PERFECT!!

    I really like the final edit. It’s just the right amount of everything with a little smidge of vintage.

    Your final shot was really beautiful! I’m such a fan of sunflare, and this was perfectly placed.

    Love Love Love the Vintage Film look.

    Stunning! Your original image was already great and I was thinking “what could she do to improve that?” And you did! It’s so awesome to see the steps you took for the final, amazing image.

    Great idea to add more canvas–I ALWAYS forget that’s even an option! Love the final edit!

    Oh I need so much help with my photos! I’m so glad I found your blog! Beautiful shot and editing!

    I love the edit this week! Really great! Thanks for all the new tools this week.

    Beautiful edit! I wouldn’t have thought to take it those extra steps such as adding the sun flare. Really like what you did. :)

    Ha! As a “clean edit” kind of gal, I sure like your last 2 edits! I love the deeper/darker blue skies (and learned a new trick…) and then the edit with the flare and bokeh — really cool!!

    Wow! Love the final edit. Although, the first one was striking too, but the sunflare just makes the photo even more interesting.