A Photo a Week Challenge: It All Depends on What You Want

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Treatment #1

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Treatment #2

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Post-processing can be so much fun. You can do so many different things with a single image. I was recently playing around with some HDR actions in Photoshop on an image of the Payson Utah LDS Temple. The differences between the the photos was stunning and amazing. The first image is the original with only basic RAW conversion tweaks. The second and third are using some actions I found on InkyDeals. They are fun and very dramatic. Let me know which you like the best out of the three.

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A SERIES OF A SINGLE PHOTO WITH DIFFERENT TREATMENTS.

Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.
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One Photo Focus: February

Last month, I found a great method for adding deeper colors to my photos, and I was really excited to try it out on this month’s One Photo Focus.

Here is the original photo, by Stacey at lens addiction:

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When I opened the RAW file in Photoshop, I used the following settings in the RAW converter:

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These settings got me to here:

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For the final touches, I used an action that I created that I call Adding Deeper Color II. It includes adding two duplicate layers of the background, one with a setting of SoftLight and the other Multiply, with the Multiply layer on top of the SoftLight layer. For both layers, I added mask layers. I also added a Gaussian Blur at 15.0% to the Multiply layer. Then I used a soft brush set to Opacity 100% and black (to remove) and brushed over the boat and buildings on the Multiply layer. This is what I got:

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Thanks to Stacy for hosting this fun challenge. For more from this challenge, visit One Photo Focus: February.

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Click the image above for rules on joining the fun!

A Photo a Week Challenge: One Photo, Two Treatments

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I’ve been shooting a fair amount of weddings lately (tis the season, after all). It’s always a tricky thing knowing what processing style the bride and groom might want on their pictures. Personally, I like my photos to have rich colors and a bright (but not washed-out) exposure. Every now and then, though, it’s really fun to experiment with different photo processing software actions and settings to see what you can come up with. For this week, take a single photo and do two different types of post-processing on it.

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE ONE PHOTO WITH TWO DIFFERENT POST-PROCESSING TREATMENTS.

Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography. Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ and “Photo a Week” tags.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.

After Before Week 51

Life has become a bit hectic lately, so for this week’s challenge, I have only the after and before to show you, but I can tell you what I did to get from point A to point B.

First, here’s the after:

Nancy Merrill After 51

Now the before:

Nancy Merrill Before 51

As you can see, the image was almost completely black and really useless. I used the RAW converter in Photoshop to gently lighten the image, then I used a layer to removed a couple of blemishes and another layer to add an iris blur to focus on her profile.

To see more examples from this challenge, visit After-Before Week 51 Challenge.

After-Before logo

Click the image above for rules on joining the fun!

After Before Week 43: One Photo Focus

This week’s original photo was taken by Cee Neuner. She hosts several weekly photo challenges herself. Go over to her site and check them out. Here’s her original photo:

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First, when I opened the file in the RAW converter, I decided to keep the settings that came with the photo.

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Then I cropped the photo just a bit to put the bush’s trunk more to the far left of the image.

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Then I created a new layer and removed the background from it, leaving only the bush in the new layer. I lightened the top layer and darkened the bottom one.

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Lastly, I used a feathered eraser to soften the edges of the bush so that it isn’t as obvious that it’s been “PhotoShoped”, and here is the final image.

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To see more examples from this challenge, visit After Before Week 43 Challenge.

After-Before logo

Click the image above for rules on joining the fun!

After Before Week 40 Challenge

This week is a standard After Before photo challenge from Stacy at Visual Venturing. I reached back into my bag of old photos to find one that I really wanted to do some crazy fun things to this week. Here’s the final result:

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So, are you wondering what the original looked like? Here it is:

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I love this image, and I’ve posted a black and white version of it here. When I opened the image in PhotoShop, I used these settings on the RAW converter:

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These resulted in an image with heightened sharpness, colors, and contrast.

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Next, I created a duplicate layer and selected the Polar Coordinates filter at 100%.

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I love how the Steinway & Sons wrapped. Finally, I added a softening gradient fill layer using using the following settings:

  • Gradient: transparent to white
  • Style: Radial
  • Angle: 170.54
  • Scale: 100%
  • Reverse and Align with layer selected

And voila!

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To see more examples from this challenge, visit After Before Week 40 Challenge.

After-Before logo

Click the image above for rules on joining the fun!

A Photo a Week Challenge: Saturation

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sat·u·ra·tion (saCHəˈrāSH(ə)n/) noun
the state or process that occurs when no more of something can be absorbed, combined with, or added.

I don’t know about you, but I love playing around with saturation. Over-saturation can take your image from the normal to the unreal. Under-saturated images can create the feeling of nostalgia or, when combined with heightened sharpness, a gritty, urbanized texture. Whether you prefer one over the other or like your images to have a more realistic, at the moment feel, saturation is an important tool to have in your post-processing arsenal of abilities. Have fun this week playing around with levels of saturation. In your post, include before, middle, and after photos.

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE PHOTOS WITH DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SATURATION.

Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ and “Photo a Week” tags.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.