September 07, 2010
Categories: Touch-Up Tuesday
Touch-Up Tuesday: A Bug’s Life
On Friday, I shared this photo of a bug I found in my mother/father-in-law’s yard.  I was really impressed with my focus, but I’ll be honest with you…post-processing can make a world of difference. I decided to share my before and after for this week’s edition of Touch-Up Tuesday. This version of the edit is not exactly like the original, but I have a really hard time completely replicating my processing steps (I believe Karli has said the same thing with regard to her work). Nonetheless, I hope you find my steps helpful.
The Bug Before and After
SOOC = ISO 100, 105 mm (macro), f/16, 1/320 sec. 

As you can tell in my SOOC shot, I did not establish a custom white balance. I also needed to brighten and crop this bug just a bit. Therefore, I started my processing by opening the photo in Adobe Camera Raw (remember, even if you don’t shoot in RAW, you can open your jpg files in ACR – just go to open as in PSE or PS, select your image and choose open as camera raw). 

I auto adjusted my white balance and exposure settings then made minor tweaks before opening the file in Photoshop Elements 7. From there, I ran through the following steps: 
  1. Adjusted the curves (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s a strong possibility that you don’t have curves as an option…yet. Go to my Getting Started tutorial for more on basic processing).
  2. Ran Amy McMaster’s Squeaky Clean action (it’s linked up in the above tutorial) – I did not add any saturation, but did adjust my levels. Honestly, I probably don’t need an action, but it’s become habit. 
  3. I flattened my layers (coming soon – another tutorial on using layers).
  4. Created a duplicate layer (ctrl J). On that layer, I selected filter, other, high pass filter…and then I set the blending mode to soft light. I think I lowered the opacity to 50%. I then used a layer mask (again, there’s a layer mask in the above tutorial), filled it black and used a white brush to PAINT ON the effect over the bug. This adds extra depth to the bug. 
  5. I flattened those layers. 
  6. Then, I applied Amy McMaster’s Berries N’ Cream action and adjusted the layers to my taste.
  7. I finalized the photo but resizing and sharpening
So that’s how I did it – any questions? For more touch-up Tuesday photos, go to:
PS: Karli…are you proud of me for entering my photo in the early part of the day?