It gets pretty cold where I live near Chicago IL and there is no avoiding taking images during the winter outside in the snow, brrrrr! While these images often turn out to be very beautiful and whimsical, it can sometimes be hard to bring out the depth and detail of the snow and if that happens you will be left with a subject standing in a mass of a white with no definition, Oh no! I have found that there is one very easy trick to use in Photoshop to bring out the detail in the snow around my subject and bring more depth and definition to my winter images in the snow. Have fun learning and hopefully trying this new step in Photoshop, it is one of my favorite tricks I have picked up over the years!
If you don’t have Photoshop consider purchasing the Creative Cloud with Adobe HERE.
In the example image I brought my youngest daughter’s white bed outside in the snow, covered it with white pillows and blankets and only realized after our short 10 minute session that I may have overdone it with the white LOL. BUT because I know how to combat the blown out white areas this image turned out looking pretty amazing!
Note: You can use these steps using any version of Photoshop so feel free to tag along
Step 1 | Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. Your color picker box will automatically appear, select black from the box and click “OK.” Now you will notice your entire image has turned black! Don’t worry this IS supposed to happen and you’re going to love what your image looks like when it’s done!
Step 2 | Change the blending mode to >Soft Light. You will notice that your image is now visible but incredibly dark, you should be able to notice details coming through in the white and snow in your image. If there is still not enough visible detail you will have to repeat steps 1 and 2 again to make a second duplicate layer with the black overlay. I had to do this in my image but I turned the opacity of the second layer down to about 40%
Step 3 | Now we need to remove this effect from everything but the snow and maybe other white objects that may have been blown out. SIMPLE. We are going to use the built in layer mask that appears next to your adjustment layer in the layers panel. First make sure your layer mask is selected. Second make sure you have a soft edged brush selected and black should be your foreground color (remember when dealing with layer masks you only ever paint in black and white. Black conceals and white reveals). Since we are wanting to conceal the dark effect from our subjects make sure you are painting with black and your brush is at 100% opacity. NOTE: If you decided to make two adjustment layers you will have to remove this enhancement from the subject/s in both layers.
Step 4 | Paint away! Use your brush to paint over your subject/s and any other object you need to remove the enhancement from and voila! You are now able to see much more detail in your winter wonderland!
I finished my edit with a few actions from the Discovery Collection, one of my recent action collections available for photographers who use Photoshop. I’m just loving the difference of the before and after!
To find out more about Amanda’s Actions go HERE!
to purchase Photoshop via the Adobe Creative Cloud go HERE!