This time the topic is a little more technical. How to increase mid-tones contrast in a photo?
Last week Scott Kelby brought a very interesting topic to The Grid: "Is Photoshop for photographers dead?". Well, if it is, I'm in deep trouble, I use it almost every day. Let me give you an example why I use it so often:
I love everything about Lightroom, particularly the Clarity slider but sometimes you need that extra punch.
Whenever I want to convert an image to black and white, I use Silver Efex Pro 2 and within this plugin there's a mid-tones contrast slider called Structure, similar to Lightroom's Clarity. The Structure slider really goes deep into the picture and brings out all the hidden textures, giving the extra punch, we were looking for.
So why not apply Silver Efex Pro 2 and the Structure slider to color photos? that's where Photoshop comes in. All you have to do is to duplicate the layer, apply the plugin, and change the blending mode to Luminosity.
Just like Scott, I prefer when the image leaves all the "HDR hunters" out there wondering - "is this HDR?" - and using this method, I get that exact question quite frequently.
I known there's a lot of plugins out there that achieve a similar result in less clicks but all the ones I've seen tend to get over the top and distract the viewer from the picture
Too much effect? reduce the opacity of the layer.
Don't want the effect all over? apply a layer mask.
That's the beauty of Photoshop.
Photographing the "Personality of the Place"
In the photo there is an old cement factory that happens to be next to the pool where my son is learning to swim. Every time I'd take him to swimming practice, I'd drive by the place in the picture, so I started taking the camera with me. One day, when the sky was right, I must confess, I missed my son's swimming class.
A lot of people don't get this image and I understand, it's not a pretty sight like a seascape or a field of flowers. So what's the appeal? Well, first of all, I love the way those towers stand tall against the sky and even share the same colour. The other aspect that caught my eye was the "personality of the place". Rough and tough materials beaten down by the effect of time and showing off their incredible textures.