How´s It Done: The Raven Queen

It´s been a while since I did some article about post processing so I think it´s time to fix it now! In this post I´d like to show you how I edited one on my latest photos from photoshoot with Romana.

This article is not meant to be step by step tutorial but I´d like to give you a view on how I work and hopefully provide you some ideas on how you can work in Photoshop. I didn´tuse any fancy plugins or tricks while editing this photo. I worked with good old:
  • Levels,
  • Curves,
  • Selective Color,
  • Liquifity,
  • Channels.
For some minor adjustments I also used Vibrance, Black & White and Photo Filter adjustment tools. And I also played with different blending modes.

Post Processing

1. Liquifity Filter
Usually, and this picture is no exception, I start with Liquifity filter. I really like big hair and big eyes so I do it right on the beginning.

2. Adding Sky
I really wish to cameras are able to capture all color which human eyes can see. If it would be possible you could have well exposed both sky and foreground. More expensive cameras have bigger dynamic range but unfortunatelly I don´t have fortune to spend on buying some.(But I´m thinking about buying some gradual filters.)

In this case I had to choose between well exposed face and over exposed sky or well exposed sky and under exposed foreground. Guess what won.

I´ve decided to add sky in Photoshop because you surely agree that there nothing interesting or even dramatic on purely white sky. So I made a selection of the sky with help of Channels (the method is explained e.g. here and I´m planning to write a separate article about it soon), save this selection and then drag some sky I shot earlier into the picture.

I changed its Blending Mode on Multiply to blend it better and lower the Opacity on about 50%. Then I load the selection I made before and hide some parts of the sky which were on the trees and made them darker.

3. Changing Lights and Shadows
You´ll probably agree with me that the picture is very flat right now. To fix it I added two Levels adjustment layers on the top of all layers. First one makes picture lighter, second one makes it darker. I filled the layer masks of these layers with black and then painted over the areas I want to make lighter/darker.

On the following picture you can see which the areas I adjusted.

4. Mist and Selective Color
If you follow more of my tutorial you surely know that I love adding mist to my pictures. I really like the enigmatic mood which can be created with this element. So this picture couldn´t be an expection :)

Another adjustment I did was adding Selective Color adjustment layer. I made Blacks bit lighter and added little red tones to it. Then I made Greys little darker and added blue tones to them. It helped me to get closer to the mood I wanted to create.

5. Levels and Photo Filter
In the last part of editing I added adjustment layer Photo Filter and set the type of the filter on Deep Yellow. It helped me to create this vintage effect I wanted to achieve.

To add bit more drama I increased contrast with adjustment layer Levels. I set the Inptut Levels on 2; 1,09;244.

Similar photo, different year

After editing the photo I realized that almost exactly a year ago I took photo with similar atmosphere and color palette. You can see it below.

I´m wondering if it will repeat next year :) And I would also like to know how big effect different seasons of the year have on people and their mood. Do you feel that e.g. weather affects you when you create something?


That was pretty much all I did. Post processing took me about five hours. Most of the time I spent on painting lights and shadows on Levels adjustment layers.

I´m going to write more in depth tutorial about quite similar photo (from the same photoshoot) very soon! Till then you can e.g. read more about that photoshoot in article "Photoshoot: People in Train Usually Don´t Share Our Artistic Nature".

I really hope it was interesting reading for you. If you have any questions feel free to ask in comments and I´ll do my best to answer you!

Have a beautiful day!