Cee’s Tips and Tricks: Photo Edit Walkthrough of Soft Pastel Tulips


For this week’s Tips and Tricks I decided to do a step by step guide on one of the photos I put into my Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.  I decided to use this photo because Living the Seasons actually asked for it.

Note:  This was also part of Visual Venturing’s Before and After challenge event.  Please go and check out her photography and challenge.  You will find some beautiful photography and her tips are terrific.

Original Photo

This is my original photo.  This photo was taken a local nursery and the background actually is corrugated clear plastic and the darker parts you are actually seeing inside their store.  The tulips were placed outside.  I rarely replace backgrounds in my photos.  I chose this photo to create a soft pastel look because there really is not any true blacks in it.  In this photo I really did not have a lot of dark areas and at the same time did not have that much white areas.  This allowed me to play with the exposure without losing any pixels.

This photo was taken a couple of years ago with a Lumix DMC-FZ100 I had a couple of years ago. It is a high end point and shoot camera.  Nothing extra special.


I used the Camera Raw adjustment features in my Adobe Bridge to make all my changes to this photo.

Basic Adjustments

Here is the photo after I applied some of the basic adjustments.  Below the photo I will talk you through some of the steps I took to get some of the effects.


Here is a photo of my basic panel.

screenshot_31First, I cooled down the Temperature (blues for white balance) just a little bit.  It took out a little of yellow in the clear plastic.

The biggest thing I did was brighten the exposure.  This allowed a lot more of the whites to show up.

Then I added a little bit of contrast.  I thought that if I had added more contrast the colors would be to bright for my final result since I wanted a soft pastel feel.

The next two things I did was darken the highlights and whites.  The one thing you really don’t want to do is have burned out  whites.  Especially when you are printing your photos, because your printer won’t lay down any ink and your eye goes directly to those empty pixels.

I also lightened the blacks to create a more pastel feel to the greens and outlines of the tulips.

I always strengthen the clarity.  It usually makes the photo look more crisp and sharper.  The color also tends to look more vibrant.  Although I did not bring the clarity up all the way for this particular photo.

I brought the vibrance up a little so there was a little more contrast in the pinks of the tulips.

 Tone Curve




I actually lightened the curve just a little bit.

This is a subtle change. That one your computer screen you may not notice.  But in the overall scheme they make a difference.




Hue Setting100914without vignetting



Once this Hue setting is very subtle and on your computer you may not see the difference.  Simply because of colorization and monitors not being the same.  I changed the yellow to a slight hint of orange.  Made the background look a little less dirty.

Adding Vignetting and my Final Photo




With the vignetting I added a lot of white highlight to the edges.  You can see that I have also adjusted the midpoint, roundness of the edges and feathering slightly to get this final effect.

The one thing I did not add to this photo was sharpness.  With a softer pastel look, I didn’t want to pull out all the lines in the tulips.

I hope you have enjoyed my little walk through.



My upcoming Tips and Tricks will be Part Three in this series and if you enjoyed this walkthrough I just might do a couple more of these types of before and after walkthrough.  Please feel free to ask for a walkthrough on any photo you like.

To view my other Tips and Tricks click here.

Qi (energy) hugs,




  1. Nice job Cee; though I really like the colors in your Before photo, I find your After version so delicate and beautiful as well. So, now you have two wonderful images for two different moods!


  2. Excellent post, Cee. Thanks very much for the walk-through. I’ve not made active use of some of those tools in the Adobe Camera RAW segment. I’ll have to look into them now that I’ve seen what you can do with them.


  3. Thanks for the walk through. I have recently developed a strong liking to taking photographs and appreciate any sort of explanation on how to achieve great photos. I want to improve my photos but never quite sure how. This helps a lot!


  4. Hi, Cee. Great tutorial, and I appreciate the tip about whites and printing. While I do look out for highlight clipping, I never really thought about what the result would be when it came to printing (something I rarely do but want to begin). Beautiful result and love the white vignette! Thanks so much for participating in ABFriday!


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