May 12, 2011
Shoot and Edit: Week 18 – Mother’s Day…EDIT
Welcome to the 18th 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 “Mother’s Day” SOOC shot (this was just a suggestion, you can show us any SOOC shot). Hopefully you linked up with Jill’s blog earlier this week.

Each Thursday, I will take my SOOC shot and provide some basic editing tips. You can then try these tips 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. Once again, here is my SOOC shot:
Much like last week, I decided to do most of my clean processing in Adobe Camera Raw. Basically, I just opened my photo in ACR and started working within the tabs (advanced feature for ACR attached to CS5) to make adjustments – no presets, just using my eye to adjust the image to my liking. Again, I did not make screen shots of my edit this week – mostly because this is a review of last week. Again, if you missed the ACR lesson from a few weeks ago, CLICK HERE. Here’s my ACR edit:
Quite honestly, I love this edit and for the sake of processing all of the birthday photos from last weekend…I think 90% of my images will look very similar to this. But, I did want to explore gradient maps with you today, so I dove into YouTube to find a couple of tutorials that explain how to use gradient maps better than I ever could.

I don’t like the title of this first video but it was the simplest video to understand  (I looked through a few of them), so I thought I’d still share it with you. Up until I saw this quick tutorial, I was going to show you how to do a black and white conversion using gradient maps…which of course you can still do, but there are so many more options.
Tell me if I’m wrong, but did you not just smack your head and say, “well why didn’t I think of that?” I mean…duh! Gradient maps have always intimidated me a bit, so while I’ve used them in actions, I’ve rarely experimented with them beyond that…until the other night.

The tutorial suggests trying what we might think of as ugly and then adjusting the opacity…and even changing the blending mode. So, I chose Christmas colors – red and green. I then lowered the opacity to about 20% and applied a soft light blending mode. The effect gives it a really interesting vintage look. If you want to experiment, try one gradient, lower the opacity to 20-30% and play with it (either in normal mode or using one of your blending modes). Even a standard black/white gradient adds an interesting look when you lower the opacity and change the blending mode.
Gradient Editor Levels - Output
Taken a step further, I wanted to create a hazy effect with my levels. We discussed this affect a few weeks ago. If you missed that lesson, click HERE. It’s really simple – just move your output levels slider to the right. From that point, I made a few other adjustments. You can see my layers below (however, I did not necessarily make the adjustments in the order you see here…I had a tendency to go back to my background layer and add layers just below the gradient map/levels adjustment for the effect I was going for – if that makes sense).
Adjustment Layers
With all of those adjustments (and they move quickly), here’s the final result. Although I wouldn’t normally process my photos this way, I do like the vintage dreaminess of the edit. What do you think?
IMG_4496 Final RS
Now, if you’ve been working with gradient maps for a while or want a more advanced lesson, here’s another tutorial I found. I don’t have a good reason to try something like what is described, but I think it’s pretty cool.
So, to recap our lesson, we once again reviewed the advanced functions of Adobe Camera Raw by performing a clean edit. We also learned more about gradient maps. For your edit, I would love to see you continuing using the lessons we’ve covered in the past 17 weeks.  Here’s a final look at my SOOC, ACR Edit and Final edit using a gradient map. I hope you found today’s review useful. If you have any questions or need more explanation, don’t hesitate to contact me.
IMG_4496 CompareI hope you all have a great Thursday and I look forward to seeing your edits!