I’m calling this Snappy Light, because well, that’s what it does to your photo. It lights & lifts the photo without making it look over-edited. Now there are far more complex t Creador De Exito echniques to achieve this effect, but I’ll start with these basic techniques first. They’re simple but can make a huge difference to your photo.
I think my photos might appeal to people because I try to keep them real. As popular as the actions are that seriously ‘mess’ with your photo, it’s a thin line between over-editing and enhancing a photo, many people tend to cross that line. In the end, the photos you’ll want to print and frame are the real ones. All the editing looks fun online, but it doesn’t always come out real pretty in an actual print. I have to be able to print my photos and have companies print them. So I’ll use some light lifts, a little extra depth, bring out the details and put the emphasis on that part of the photo that naturally catches your eye, but for me that’s about it.
This is my SOOC shot. I like it, but the exposure needs a teeny tiny tweak and it just needs a little snap. Not much, though. This photo was taken in Scheveningen. Behold our cold, dirty and yucky North Sea.
Press Ctrl + J to create a new layer via copy (or via the top menu: Layer – New – Layer Via Copy), double click the layer and rename it to something like Light. Or spiritual being of the sun, if you’re in an adventurous mood.
Now we have to bring in the light. We do that by setting the layer mode to Screen. The screen mode does nothing other than make anything that is pure black in your photo disappear. It’s that simple.
And it shows!
So we have to reduce the opacity. Of course it depends on just how dark or how light your photo was to begin with. I usually stay somewhere in the 20’s range. This time 25% was precisely enough.
I’ve always liked the light tweak this gives. It just looks and feels natural to me. It also works wonders if you want to create one of those popular high key B&W photos.
Now press Ctrl + Alt + J to create a new layer with dialogue. That just means your light layer is being duplicated and you’ll get a handy pop-up box in which you can adjust the settings in the blink of an eye.
The name will start out as Light copy, just rename it to Snap. Or something along those lines. The layer mode is still set to screen, so we’ll have to adjust that.
Click on the triangle next to Mode and change the setting from Screen to Soft Light. What the Soft Light mode does is increase the contrast of the layer, but in a very gentle way. You could also use the Overlay mode for this, the contrast would be a bit more harsh then.
The new Snap layer will pop up right above your Light layer. Adjust the opacity to your liking and you’re done. I left mine at 25%.
This techniques opens up the shadows in a natural way and gives a bit of contrast—zing, if you will—to your photo without taking it too far. At that 25% I gave it, it’s a really subtle difference, but this can work wonders if your photo needs that extra push.
If you want me to turn this into an action and add it to the posting, just let me know! You can also do it yourself, of course. You can find a tutorial on how to make actions right here!