An Insight Into How I Process My Images

I thought I would provide a little insight into how I go about processing my images.  This usually relates mostly to my landscapes, although I still use similar methods for some of my portraits, especially the artistic ones.

Usually I don't have a clear idea of how I want the image to turn out when I am shooting it.  This is especially true for the infrared images I take, as you never really know how they are going to turn out.  When I'm shooting portraits I tend to get a feel for the client and go from there and with artistic portraits a clear idea is usually discussed from the outset, but landscapes are a different story.

The image I am going to concentrate on is of an infrared landscape taken in Tumut in January, 2010.  I didn't think much of the original file when I first took it and so it has just sat on my computer.  I was trying to make some space on my hard drive when I came across it again and thought I should have a decent play with it before I dumped it.

The original file is actually 2 images put together as I couldn't get the whole scene into 1 shot.  Here are the technical details:
  • Canon EOS 450D & kit lens 18-55mm
  • HOYA R72 filter
  • Shutter release
  • Tripod
  • ISO200
  • f/5.6
  • 25 sec exposure
  • JPEG file
  • 2/01/2010 @ 9:47am on a very overcast day.

That's straight out of the camera.  If you'd like more info on how to take infrared images you can check out my tutorial on Redbubble.  Obviously, a little straightening was needed and the tree branches needed to be cloned out from the left.  Once that was fixed I adjusted the Levels and brought out some of the detail in the trees.  Upped the vibrance and saturation and then used a Photoshop Action called 'Coffeeshop Hot Cocoa' to get those brown tones.

I tried channel swapping the red's and blue's to see how that looked.

I also tried a black and white conversion...

But I wasn't impressed with that either so I went back to the 2nd version and decided to add some textures to it to give it a bit of oomph.  In the end I added 3 textures and used different methods to overlay each of them and had to adjust their individual opacity.

Sometimes the hardest thing is to know when to stop.