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Cee’s Tips and Tricks: Photo Edit Walkthrough

Tips and TricksIn this week’s tips and tricks, I will walk through a photo edit I did for Sunday Stills weekly challenge.  The challenge was all about taking one of his photos and editing the photo to make our own art work. You can see my original post here.

Original Photo and My Initial Analysis

Ed's from Sunday Stills photo

Ed’s from Sunday Stills photo

My initial thought was what do I do with this photo.  It is already a great photo of a wonderful blue sky and a ferris wheel.  Hmmm. The ferris wheel is a fairly recognizable object.  I bet if Sunday Stills took his photo of just one or two of the seats, you could still tell it was a ferris wheel at an amusement park.  I liked how the sun was shining on the lower portion of the photo, which tells me it is was taken close to the golden hour for photography.  The golden hour is the time that surrounds sunset or sunrise.

There were two things that I kept looking at.  I noticed that my eye went directly to the silver support that runs next to the entry steps.  Your eyes automatically goes to the brightest spot on your photo.  The second is that there weren’t any people or children around, which meant the ride was closed.

I decided to highlight the brightest area of the photo, and the entrance which had the gate closed.  I could just feel a child walking up to the gate and seeing it closed.

My Walkthrough

Cropping, Flipping and Leveling Issues

050214 tip and trickSince I had the area I wanted to focus on, I knew cropping was part of what I would do.  Let me show you what all is in the area I want to highlight.  There is a  telephone pole, a van, and wires.  Instantly I knew I had to get rid of the telephone pole and van, because they were too distracting.  Now for leveling, the stair looked straight, but then the telephone pole was not straight.  Cropping the pole out would be the easiest way solve that issue.  I will have a tip and trick on leveling at another time, because it can be tricky especially when there are two separate horizons.

050214 tip and trick (2)Now that I figured out what I do not want in my photo, I then had to decide what I did want in the photo.  I knew I wanted to keep a large part the ferris wheel.  This is what I came up with for a crop.  Sunday Still’s original photo had the 4×6 inch ratio and I kept that same ratio on my crop.  There is enough of the ferris wheel on this photo so that your eye will automatically complete the circle even after it’s been cropped.

I also decided to flip my photo since I read from left to right.  So now my eye goes directly to bottom left portion of the photo and I can look across it.  My eyes follow up with silver post to the rest of the photo.

I did straighten the horizon 1.2 degrees to the right.

Change to Black and White

050214 tip and trick (4)I decided I wanted to really highlight that this ferris wheel was closed, so I thought black and white would be the way to go.  The reason?  Because the blue sky would look darker and closer to nighttime.  The yellow, which is also a bright color, seems to distract my eye from the stairs and closed gate.  Switching it to black and white would tone down the yellow.

Depending on your photo editing software, black and white can be quite fun to play with.  I happen to enjoy seeing what I can do with my software. (Note:  I use Aperture for Mac).

Once I saw it in black and white, I still didn’t think it had the look, I was looking for.  For those who can use color percentages this is the settings I used which is the basically used the green filter with a little less blue.


Change To Sepia

This is where the magic happens.  At least it was for me.

I kept the black and white and overlaid it with 84% sepia colors, so it was not quite as brown as your typical sepia tone.  This is giving me the look I wanted.  Then I played around with a lot of the other enhancements.

Sepia without any adjustments.

050214 tip and trick (5)


For White Balance, I will add more blue and add more pink.

Regarding Exposure I bumped up the recovery a little bit.  That dulled the yellow so it would not be quite so bright.  I also brought up the brightness because that highlighted the areas of the sun shine.

For Enhancements level, I desaturated the color and added vibrancy.   By doing this the colors tend to have more distinction in black and white and in sepia tones.

screenshot_465For the first layer of Highlights & Shadows I simply added contrast to the photo.  It actually made the lines of the ferris wheel darker and the sky darker which gave slightly more dramatic flair to the photo.  This was applied over the entire photo.

The second layer of Highlights & Shadows was strictly used to brighten the steps and gate.


One rule I always do is Edge Sharpen all my photos.  Note:  About the only time I won’t is on leafy trees and landscapes with a lot of details.

I also chose to have a slight Vignette around the borders to darken the edges.

Final Result

042914 sunday stills

To view my other Tips and Tricks click here.

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18 replies »

  1. A great job! You have put a lot of thought and work into this and it has really paid off. The original image is great, I love the contrast of the blue sky and the bright carriages, but you have given it a real focus and mood and have improved the photo no end. I love the “flip” I never would have thought of doing that!


  2. I have to admit that I didn’t understand the route you were taking … but when you got the final result, it was a huge WOW. Now I understand your comment about going to the brightest spot on the photo. Thanks for the walk-thru!


  3. Great tips Cee. I never thought to flip a photo because we are reading from left to right and should follow this way the leading lines. It makes so much sense. Good work.


  4. Amazing! I didn’t understand everything you did, but, for one thing, you’ve encouraged me to try a lot of different adjustments! I always wonder how other people edit their photo. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! This is one of the best!


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never look directly at the sun, instead, look at the sunflower, uplift, motivate, photography, Cee Neuner,, sunflower, macro, yellow

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