I randomly came across this image I had taken last year. At the time I put it in my rejects pile. One of the problems with the image was lack of sharpness, but the biggest issue was that I could not figure out how to make it work as an image.

As it happened, I came across this image shortly after meeting a graphic designer named Boo. Although she is just getting back into photography, her work has a gritty style I like. It seems to work well for this image. It also hides some of the flaws in the original capture. I have not printed it yet, but I like the story it is trying to tell. A little bit more tweaking and it may end up in my portfolio…

To get this effect used a number of steps in Photoshop. The original raw file was saturated and the contrast as increased. I then added a saturation layer and decreased the saturation but used a mask to let the flowers stay saturated. I also painted a little bit of the bush in the background in the mask so there is a hint of saturated branches to balance the centrally saturated area. This is when a tablet is handy, as it gives a bit more control in painting masks (among other things).

The next step was to add the noise. Back in the day, street photographers often used high ISO films and even pushed{{1}} said film for more sensitivity. As a result, we tend to associate grainy images with a more gritty style.

One cool thing about Photoshop is smart filters. When you apply a filter such as noise, you can use a mask so the effect is only applied to certain areas. I reduced the noise effect on the flowers and on certain areas of the bench.

I “sculpted” the image using a combination of burning, dodging, and what I call “glazing”.

[[1]]”Pushing” meant underexposing and overdeveloping. This had the effect of making film more sensitive at the expense of more grain and more contrast.[[1]]

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