March 21, 2017 Session

Here are the two images I presented at this session. The setup was a simple black cardboard background you can buy at any art store. The environment, a bay window looking towards the south west, with the sun in a hazy sky under a fairly high angle, just high enough to not illuminate the black surface of the angled cardboard, but fully light the tulips.

And here is the finished product.

What follows is a demonstration of how to get there in Photoshop CS6 and Elements.

My camera was mounted on a sturdy tripod, so I could afford to take long time exposures. The reason for that was that I wanted to have a decent depth of field, enough to get all the parts of the tulips as sharp as possible. Depth of field is controlled by your lens aperture. The higher the aperture number the more depth of field you achieve. In this case I chose f/11. The problem is that you need longer shutter times for the correct exposure, hence the use of a tripod to prevent camera shake and blurry pictures. I took two pictures, one where I exposed for the tulip flowers, and one with darker leaves.

I wanted the a picture with bright flowers and darker leaves so the person viewing the picture would not be distracted by the bright green leaves. The trick is to combine both pictures in Photoshop. Some in camera applications will do this for you, with the HDR or High Dynamic Range photography setting. However, I am showing this Photoshop technique to give you the basics of how to do this manually. Also for the perfectionists among us, this “manual” technique allows for much finer and “artistic” adjustments.

The following slide shows how to load both images as layers into Photoshop CS6.

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The idea is to electronically cut a hole through the top image to reveal the brighter tulips located on the image below. Of course this has to be done carefully with a soft electronic paint brush. To prepare the top layer for cutting, you need to add a “Layer Mask”.

Next we select the electronic paint brush and then paint “black acid” on the top layer to cut through and reveal the brighter tulip flowers below.

By turning the bottom layer “off” – (click the eye symbol) you see exactly where you are “burning” through the top layer.

Here is the final product just before saving it as a new image.

And now for Photoshop Elements:

Open the Elements Editor in Expert mode and open the first tulip image.

This session will be devoted to Post Processing with Photoshop (CS6 and Elements) as well as Lightroom. This will be an interactive discussion, and I encourage everyone to discuss the problems they encounter with photographic images. We will talk about contrast enhancement and level adjustments. Artificial High Dynamic Range (HDR) using the same image. Cloning out distractions. Collage with text.


  • Discussion of last week’s photo submissions.
  • Discussion on the new “Open Discussion” category.
  • Discussion on how to use the Galleries and possible Gallery options.
  • Break
  • Review of close-up photography.
  • Camera and post processing techniques for sharp pictures.
  • Open discussion on Post Processing.
  • Post Processing Practice.


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