April 16, 2010
Categories: PSE, Tutorials
Tutorial: Creating a Fairy Garden Effect
Earlier this week, I posted one of my flower shots using what I called a “fairy garden/vintage effect.” I used a variation of “In the Fairy Garden” posted by I Heart Faces earlier this year.  Because you asked for it, I decided to take you through my steps and also show you what the photograph will look like at each stage of the process. 

Program: Photoshop Elements 7 
Estimated time: 15 minutes
Materials (open and download files): SOOC photo, Garden Lights 1 and Garden Lights 2
Actions: I’ve linked nearly everything you need – all free. Before you get started, you may want to download and install the actions. Here’s a great tutorial from the Texas Chick on installing actions. 

You may also want to look at the original tutorial to find an approach that works best for you. With all that said, open the SOOC file. 
My photo was a little under-exposed, so I started by adjusting the curves. In PSE, if you don’t have an action curves adjustment, you can download here (it also includes a mask layer that I use often). At this point, I ran Squeaky Clean for an overall fresh photo. I recommend using this action on every photo before running any other actions.
  1. Cooler – opacity at 0%
  2. Warmer – opacity at 28%
  3. Eye Pop at 100% – but paint it over your flowers that are in focus using a 40% opacity brush.
  4. I didn’t use red fix.
  5. More color at 50%
  6. Deeper Shadows at 20%
  7. Levels at 100% – (11, 1.26, 250)
  8. I didn’t mess with the noiseware
Your photo should look like this. You may actually find that you like the photo at this point and you’re free to stop. 
Press Ctrl, Shift, E to merge layers (I love using short cuts, makes life so much easier). Then select one of the darker hues in you’re photograh using the eye dropper. Make sure your background is black and the new darker hue will be your foreground. Now, select the Gradient Map (in your adjustment layers). Select reverse and then lower the opacity to 45%. Now, select Hue/Saturation (also in your adjustment layers) and click colorize. Your numbers should be 35, 30, 0. Lower the opacity to 30%. Your photo should look like this.
At this point, open the textures. With the first one, drag it onto the image (it should be the top layer now), change it’s blending mode to screen and adjust the opacity to 50%. 
Now, drag the second texture over the first one, change it’s blending mode to overlay and leave it’s opacity at 100%.

At this point, you may want to paint off some of the texture from the flower. Create a layer mask (you should have downloaded it earlier) and use a 15% opacity soft brush to paint it off. Remember that if the layer mask is white, using a black brush will paint off the effect. If the layer mask is black, using a white brush will paint on the effect. Merge the layers. 
Run Coffeeshop’s Sun Kissed action. You’ll be selecting the 55-250mm focal length and I tend to leave the settings as is which creates a fairly bright sun flare. Your layers should look like this: 
  1. Turn down the orange layer to 75% opacity. 
  2. Turn up the contrast bump to 60% opacity.
  3. Turn down the haze layer to 20% opacity. 
  4. Turn down the lighten layer to 33% opacity. 
  5. Leave the lens flare as is. 
I added a vignette at 10% and merged the layers and it looks like this.
Alright, that was a lot of information. What questions do you have?