before and after #3 … [workshop wednesday]

Some call it “hump day”, but we like to call it “workshop wednesday”, and it’s back!

Ask me anything about photography – gear, lighting, post production, business, whatever – and I’ll do my best to answer you in an upcoming “workshop wednesday” post. Send your questions by email, Twitter or Formspring, or via a comment on the blog 🙂

Today we’re looking at split toning, which I sometimes use to change the colour of my photographs. As usual, I’ll step you through how I’ve processed a recent photo.

(Incidentally, I’m still using Adobe Lightroom for all of my post production, but I’m in the process of moving to Lightroom 3, which I’ve found to be a worthy upgrade.)

Here’s a photo from Ashlee and John’s wedding, as it looked straight out of camera.

First I did my usual white balance and tone adjustments, as shown here:

Which, with a tiny bit of straightening, gave me this:

It’s now quite a usable photo, but I was going for something a little more moody, so I pulled out one of my split tone presets. Here are the settings stored in the preset:

You’ll notice that I’ve pulled the first saturation slider down to -50. That’s to reduce the amount of colour provided by the photo, because we’re adding colour using the split toning controls. This often needs to be tweaked for a particular photo, but in this case it’s fine as-is.

This brings us to Lightroom’s split toning panel, which is confusing at first, but easy enough to master with a little practice!

First, it’s important to understand that a “split tone” allows you to tint your photo with two colours. One colour is applied to the brightest parts of your photo (the “highlights”), and the other is applied to the darkest parts (the “shadows”). Use the “Hue” sliders to choose your colours (press Alt while dragging to make it easier), and the “Saturation” sliders to control just how much of those colours are added to your photo. Finally, use the “Balance” slider to manage which colour you want more of.

The hardest part is choosing a split tone that looks good! I suggest you spend some time experimenting, and build a collection of split tone presets that you like.

Here’s how mine came out:

And finally, with a vignette:

Done!

If you found that helpful, please share it around, and don’t forget to send in some questions for me to answer next week 😉

22 September 2010 - 6.25pm

Alex Krause - This photo makes me want to sell all of my possessions and buy a tilt-shift lens. Thanks for the workshop Luke – very helpful!

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