photoshop: lesson 1 (color overlays and curves)

hey there friends and photographers!  Since I have a ridiculously passionate love for all things photoshop, I’ve decided to share a few tidbits that I think you might find helpful (you non-photo people feel free to scroll right on past this post)!

I received quite a few comments about my editing on the images from my recent  MayDay party post!  I had a blast editing those images, as they are a little brighter than my usual!  The two biggest things I used to edit them was the Color Overlay adjustment layer, and the Curves adjustment layer.

The picture started out like this:

undefinedpin thisgo to the bottom of your layers menu and choose the “solid color” adjustment layer.  you should see this when you click on it:undefinedpin thisplay around until you find the hue you want the click ok.  I chose a golden yellow color.  Then I brought down the opacity (at the top of the layers menu).undefinedpin thisI also changed the layer type from normal to soft light.  I like to use either soft light or overlay the most, however play with the options…there are lots of cool things you can do with the layer types.undefinedpin thisAnd this is what I got!undefinedpin thisThough I’m happy, I want a little more yellow so I made another Solid Color layer (note that in the layers menu the name changes to Color Fill…go figure).  I brought the opacity way down, but left the layer type at normal creating more of a fade effect.undefinedpin thisundefinedpin this

I’m still wanting a little more color tweaking and fade so I’m going to make a Curves layer.undefinedpin thisOn the curves layer I selected Blue in the drop down menu…undefinedpin thisand create a nice S curve by clicking around the line and moving the spots chosen for the desired effect.undefinedpin thisundefinedpin thisThen I selected RGB in the same dropdown menu and pulled out the corner points of the curves line to add a little more colorless fade:undefinedpin thisThere are SO many things you can do with color overlays and curves…the opportunities are endless!  I created an action with these steps and ran a batch over all the images!  I’ll blog about actions later… :)

I hope that helped!  This tutorial stuff is new territory for me so feel free to help me out and/or ask any questions you may have down in the comments box!



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  • Daniel - great post!! thanks Alumbra!

  • Beth - Hey! It’s @Hannah of #TheArtInLife. Thanks for the tutorial! You are perfecting the art of photography.