After Before Friday Anniversary Challenge

Tips and Tricks


Here is my response to Visual Venturings After Before Anniversary Challenge.  I am also including this as on my Tips and Tricks for cropping and a light balance with post processing.

The photo that I’m editing this week was taken by Karen Chengelis of KCinAZ.  There are twelve of us participating and we all get a chance to edit Karen’s photo to our own liking.

Original Photo and My Analysis

I really liked Karen’s photo and wanted to get my hands on it.  So below this photo you can see my initial analysis.

111214after before anniversary_2
Karen Chengelis of KCinAZ original photo.

The first thing I noticed was the parts of the clouds are too white.  This make my eyes go right to the clouds and not the rest of the photo.  So I knew I probably would be cropping out some of the clouds.

The second thing I noticed with the clouds is there is a lot of colors in them: white, gray, blue, pink and orange.  Seeing all these colors, I knew I could get a different feel of the photograph with using white balance adjustments in my software and maybe using some other tricks too.

I also like the depth of field in Karen’s photo. The river really draws your eyes back to the pinkish-orange spot of sunlight peaking through the clouds. I really didn’t want to leave this photo as it was taken, because I usually don’t photograph landscapes.  So I ended up cropping this photo a couple of different ways.

So thank you Karen for taking this photo in a high resolution format which allowed me to crop and still get a good resolution.

The software I used was Photo Raw adjustments in Bridge (the latest version).

First Crop, the Buildings

111314flower_1I really wanted to see the building with a little bit of the river.  I thought the buildings were quite interesting.  In my corner of the world, we don’t have architecture like this so it intrigued me.

Here are some of the steps I took to fixing up this photo.

First I did a little fixing of the horizon very minor.  I made the building look a little straighter by pulling the very top inwards just a little bit.  Then I made a few other basic adjustments.  Make everything a little shaper and vibrant.

screenshot_41Then the fun begins.  I started to play with the sky.  The river is reflecting the clouds and which made the water look a little brownish-green.  So I kept with that theme.  I adjusted my white balance.  I warmed it up (moved the temperature slider) to a little more yellow.  Then since I wanted to make it a little greener I moved the tint a little bit to the green side.

On the sky it self, I painted a slight shade of teal over it and darkened the sky a little bit to bring out more color in the clouds. For the clouds I brought the sharpness down because I wanted the soft lines to show up.  The part I painted with this layer is in white.


I did a couple of things to, but these were the main things I did to change this photo.

Here is my result of cropping showing just the buildings.

111214after before anniversary_1

 Second Crop, The River and Sky

111314after before

Here is my original crop for the river and sky portion of the photo. For the final photo, I actually cropped out more of the white part of the sky. Than what is shown here.

In this photo I wanted to bring out the pinks, oranges and blues. Orange and blue are great contrasting colors and the buildings already were orange, I thought it would give this photo a calming feeling. Along with changing the white balance for this photo.

One thing I did do was lighten up just the bridge itself.  This makes the bridge more prominent, since your eyes automatically go to the brightest spot on a photo.





screenshot_43Here are some other steps I took to complete this photo.

For white balance I added a little warmth to the temperature (moved toward yellow) and for tinting I added a lot of pinks.  This brought out the pinks and oranges in the sky.

Then I added a little more black (or darken the photo).  The brings out just a little more contrast, since I didn’t want to lighten it.  I also brought the exposure down just a little bit.

In addition to the basic edits, I added a couple of gradient layers.

One layer was to add an additional layer of  of light red to the sky.

The other layer was I added was to the far left portion of the photo.  I brightened it just a little bit, since the sun rays were showing from left to right.  That would make the left side naturally just a little bit darker.

Here is my final photo with the bridge and river.

111214after before anniversary

I hope you have enjoyed my edits to Karen’s work.  It was fun.  Thanks Visual Venturing for having this idea.  Happy Anniversary for hosting this challenge.

My upcoming Tips and Tricks will be Part Three in the black and white.  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. Thank you for giving some tips & tricks in improving a picture. I am totally new to the game of photography but I love playing up with my pictures, so this type of advice is definitively welcome! I’ve bookmarked the “tips & tricks” page for future reference 🙂 Thanks!


  2. Very nice Cee, you have managed to create two very different images from just the one. I love the colours in both your shots, but especially the second one with those delicious purples! 🙂


    1. They are almost identical. Lightroom actually have some presets that Bridge doesn’t. I have bridge and photoshop (and Lightroom). Once I really get used to Bridge I plan on playing a lot more with photoshop and they have a lot of preset designs and gradients too. You will enjoy Lightroom.


  3. Thanks for sharing this. I usually don’t do any adjustments to my photos other than a bit of cropping. This will allow me to be a bit adventurous with some photos I call my “nothing” photos.


  4. I liked your processing but really enjoy your explanation- not just what you did but why you did it! I will have to take those tips with me when next I work on one of these challenges. I think you analysis is great, too.


  5. Thanks for sharing your process, I do so enjoy learning about the processes that artists go through to create their works. It’s interesting what you’ve chosen to do here, how you’ve almost made the two parts of the image look like they were taken at different times of the day, they have different moods really.

    Interesting process, thank you!


  6. Cee, I loved your contributions to the Anniversary challenge! Everyone’s approaches were so enlightening, but I love that you were the only one to think about getting two photos out of one. I liked how in the first image you didn’t fight the green cast of the river, but chose instead to make the rest of the photo work with it. And lightening the bridge in the portrait orientation was a great choice as well. I had to laugh at your line about wanting to get your hand’s on Karen’s image – glad it worked out that way 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in!


  7. Hi Cee. So sorry that it’s taken an eternity for me to comment on your enhancements and unchanging the original. I really like that you thought through the process and I learn so much from that. My changes were more hit and miss without your logical viewing. Many hugs back to you for taking it in and sharing your great ideas.


  8. I am starting a photoshop class next week. I’m excited about it and even more so after seeing the changes you made. Thanks for showing the process and the reasoning behind it.


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