A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Muted pastel effect

jonathan montague , May 07, 2010; 12:02 p.m.

Hello community :)
I am trying to recreate an effect i have seen.. particularly here.. usually on flora pics..
now i am quite experienced with photoshop and have a whole bunch of actions and i also use independant adjustment layers, Curves, Selective colour, levels, desat etc but im having trouble matching these effects. I have one attempt posted here along with other stuff...
so can anyone out there shed a little more light about the possible detail of adjustment layers that have been used ? or is it just a case of experimenting.. maybe there is some blur put on adjustment layers ? ?

thanks everyone


    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Les Berkley , May 07, 2010; 01:00 p.m.

Overexpose. Compress the shadow endpoint.

JDM von Weinberg , May 07, 2010; 01:13 p.m.

Basically along the lines suggested by Les.

To show what can be done even with your existing example, here I've opened it in Adobe Camera Raw and tweaked up exposure, shadow detail, warmed it up, and re-served it as quasi hi-tone.

Hi-tone and tweaked all the way over to the right....

Tom Mann , May 07, 2010; 03:56 p.m.

Pull down the top endpoint of the blue curve. This will make the hilights yellowish. Slightly push up the bottom endpoint of the red and green curves. This will make the shadows slightly yellowish. Adjust hue, sat and gamma to taste. Down-rez to 700 px wide and slightly sharpen to get a nice look for the web.

Unfortunately, I am at work, don't have PS on this machine and don't have much time, so I made the above adjustments in XnView (free) with the "Smart Curve" plugin (also free). It took all of about a minute to do.

The result is not exactly like the green example you cited, but it will give you an idea what can be easily done.

Tom M.

TJM tweak 01 (all in freeware)

Tim Lookingbill , May 07, 2010; 04:54 p.m.

You'll note in Catherine MacBride's Flickr profile she indicates she's a former fine art painter. There's a lot of color design either learned or honed from practicing this craft. Those images have been color stylized from this perspective. It's not new, there's tons of images with the same look.

Quite amazing according to her blog she's only an amateur photographer using a consumer level Canon EOS Rebel XSi, has even published a book of her photography and is degreed in Food Science and has diploma's in Reflexology. Talk about an over achiever. I'm exhausted just reading her bio.

To help her along the way Catherine may have used image stylizing actions and/or ACR presets anyone can purchase online. It's hard to tell because she's left out the CS3 ACR edits that should've been embedded in the images EXIF data viewed from Flickr's More Properties on that first image. Guess she did everything in Photoshop.

Along with what Les suggested you could play around with ACR's Color Temp sliders, Split Tone and HSL panel and feel your way around to copying what you see from her images. Each image is going to add its own recipe which is probably why you may be having trouble getting the same results. Your flower image doesn't have a lot of color variation to work with compared to the images in the links the links you provided.

Here's one of those recipe sites you can get tips on how to get that look:


Kevin Hengler , May 07, 2010; 05:18 p.m.

I see this type of effect used a lot for engagement/weddings and I really like the look of it. This link shows a lot of what I am talking about. http://www.mariannetaylorphotography.co.uk/blog/category/engagement Would the photographer of had to touch every photo up to look like that, or do you think it was done in Lightroom where it is a preset filter? He/she is using a vignette in almost every picture as well and if using photoshop would have to be added to every pic. Any help would be appreciated because I am really wanting to try it on some of my photos. This one in particular. [IMG]http://i43.tinypic.com/2cj8qr.jpg[/IMG]

Kevin Hengler , May 07, 2010; 05:33 p.m.

Tim Lookingbill , May 08, 2010; 08:39 a.m.

What level of help are you talking about other than finding presets online or playing around with the Lightroom, ACR or any other image editing software. Do you want us to process the image for you and then provide you with our settings?

If so that wouldn't help because it requires some practice in knowing how to fix the color for other images when the preset "recipe" is botched by each images own color palette.

I'll submit a preset I came up with applied and HAD TO TWEAK to your image of the bus and wedding couple below. The issue is whatever I come up with may not be to your liking (there are a lot of image artifacts in my attempt) and so the preset isn't useful and even if you did like it you couldn't apply it to other images because you won't KNOW what to tweak because you don't KNOW what each tool is doing to the image. You're better off figuring this out on your own by buying one of those presets you like and deconstructing what they did and try applying it to other images while developing your own understanding of the tools to guide your tweaks.

ACR WB, HSL, Split Tone and Tonal tweaks applied to MY LIKING.

Catherine MacBride , May 08, 2010; 01:55 p.m.

Tim Lookingbill, I just had to sign up to photo.net to say thank you so much for calling me an over achiever and fine art painter! unfortunately neither is true :)
As for this particular image it was taken on a canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D using off camera flash (using a Flash synchro cable held pretty close to the flower). The original raw file is almost identical to the one I posted to flickr. f4.5, ISO 400, lens sigma 105mm, spot metering, automatic exposure...
It was adjusted in photoshop cs3 but just the basics, levels, contrasts, and applied a very slight warming filter. I haven't left out any of the details on the exif data if there not there I don't know why and have no idea how to put them in....
Glad you like the photo enough to try and replicate it, I'm chuffed in a very non-over achiever way :) and if there is anything else you want to know just ask me on flickr, I may or may not know the answer but am happy to tell you what I know.

jonathan montague , May 10, 2010; 05:57 a.m.

hi everyone. thank you so much for all your responses. I was expecting that the desired result can only be achieved if you have the colour information present in the particular picture in question and of course this would mean it really is a 'case by case' basis for each picture and will need experimentation with different adjustment layers. I think Les was right..

"Overexpose. Compress the shadow endpoint." and then some tweaking with selective colour i imagine. i think i need a better subject to start with.
That TRA site looks like a mine of info so i will get into that. and thank you catherine for your kind comment i will be going through your photostream with great interest.
thanks all, when i get a pleasing result ill be sure to share again.
thanks again :)

    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses