For photographers: Creating fall out of nothing at all • Wakefield RI photographer

Often times other photographers ask me about my post processing techniques.  For the most part, my processing is fairly subtle, but sometimes it's fun (or maybe even necessary) to make bigger changes to a photo.  

Yesterday I took the following photo as part of a weekly photo challenge I'm in.  The theme was "golden hour".  You know, that warm, beautiful, golden light that happens an hour or so before sunset.  I love that light!

It's definitely got that warm light and autumn feel.  But what if I told you that the photo actually started out like this?

That's quite the difference, no?  I had to create fall and I even had to create the light itself as it's been cloudy here for most of the week.  So how did I get from point A to point B?  Here are my steps.

1.  I took this photo with my Canon 70D (because it has an app that allows me to see shot composition and focus on my phone, which makes photos like this TEN MILLION times easier) and my 135mm f/2 lens.  The light was created by a flash behind my legs, propped up on a couple of bricks.  I gelled the flash with a 1/2 CTO gel for warmer light.

2.  This photo was edited completely in Lightroom, where I do about 90% of my editing.  First, I bumped the white balance way up to 10,000K, with a tint of 35, to make the photo much warmer.  It was shot at a temp of 7,000K which is appropriate for the lighting but I had to make some warmth!  I also made some changes to contrast, clarity, and blacks.

3.  I made a slight tone curve adjustment to add a little contrast and pop to the photo.

4.  I went into the HSL panel and brought the hue on the yellows way down, towards orange.  Even though grass is green, it's actually mostly yellow, at least from a hue perspective.  So changing the yellow hue in a photo with grass or green foliage will alter those things.  This hue switch is the major factor in changing the grass to a much warmer tone.

5.  In the saturation portion of the HSL panel, I brought up the saturation of reds and oranges in order to give a slight pop to the leaves that are hanging out in the grass, and a little bit to the grass itself, now that the grass is more orange.

6.  I did two passes over the photo (excluding my legs and shoes) with a color adjustment brush set at a low flow.  Both brushes were light orange, with the first brush being a more yellow-orange and the second being more red-orange.

7.  My last step was to go into the camera calibration panel and change the saturation of red primary to +20.  I normally do not change the red in this panel for any other photos but for this photo, it worked.

This edit was quick...less than 5 minutes, but once I was done, some creative processing had taken this photo from kinda sorta fall to I need some hot cider now fall.