N.S.L: WEEK 84 – Adobe Photoshop CS6: Adding Focus and Artistic Composition

Adding “Visual Interest” to some shots I took for HDR. I wanted to study different ways to add focus to my subject in my pieces. This Never Stop Learning session is making me look at my images differently… in a GOOD way =D

HDR Lemon in Adobe Photoshop CS6
Adding focus to my subject

With a couple of cool techniques, I was able to create a bunch of drama with 2 lemons =D I’m not the best photographer but I try stuff like HDR so I can create some cool images. HDR tends to give you an image that has a lot of detail but you also have a “flat exposure” like the screen shot below. To me, all that means that I need to add depth to my images which will add focus to my subject.


Adobe Bridge CS6 HDR
Merged to HDR Pro in Bridge

For the image above I wanted to bring all of the attention to the lemon in the foreground. The water, HDR, and bright color started making it work and it seemed to almost float or glow. I also had the gift of another character in this scene. In the upper corner you can see another lemon looking on. Make up your own story to it. To me it looks on envious =D It’s kinda lurking in the shadow admiring this glowing floaty super lemon =D I know it sounds crazy but that’s what I had in mind as I was shaping up the image. I spent a lot of time on it too. Cropping it was a HUGE help. I tend to shoo wide/big and my subject gets lost. In Adobe Photoshop I crop out what is really not needed.


Photo in Photoshop
Flat exposure and layers

At this stage I started to bring my focus in by blurring this Smart Object with the new Iris Blur. I darkened the background by adding an Exposure Adjustment Layer with a Mask that I generated from the Iris Blur Gallery! Woo! I didn’t even know you could do that =D Next I had to add another Exposure Adjustment Layer but I had to mask this by hand because it was to darken specific areas that needed to be subdued a lil more.
If you look closely I even did some spot healing ON A LEMON =D When you’re retouching, always remember to zoom out. I thought I was all set. I zoomed out and notice a big black spot on my lemon. This HAD to change =D


Shout out to Chris Orwig! Before cropping I used his technique that really gave my image a cool look. I added a Black and White Adjustment Layer then changed the blend mode to Soft Light. Made some easy adjustments to taste and I was really  happy with it. It ends up muting your color pallet a little but in an awesome way =D

I think the hardest part of this project was backing off. The blur for the background got reduced at least 3 times and it took me a long time to get the drop-off right for the Iris Blur. The background got lightened twice and I even softened up the HDR a little in ACR. I think I could have softened up the lemon a bit more but I really wanted DETAIL =D


HDR photo in Photoshop

Rusty Bolt in HDR adding focus


Original photo before HDR

Original Image straight out of the camera


Adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop CS6

Adding adjustment layers


I got most of my info from Lynda.com:

Photoshop for Photographers: Creative Effects
Enhancing an Environmental Portrait with Photoshop
Photoshop Insider Training: Enhancing Photos



#AdobeGrind #StayMuddyGetFly
If you look up #NSL84 you should be able to follow my week, all of the videos I studied for this one, and other Tweets related to this post.


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