For this week’s “Before & After” Photo Editing Tutorial, we are so happy to welcome Jackie Jean Photography as our featured photographer! We always adore Jackie Jean’s entries in our photo challenges and are excited to show off her editing style in today’s tutorial.
This is a favorite shot of one of my boys shot on an extremely overcast day. I am a lover of black and white so wanted to show a few steps on how I achieve my black and white “matte” look. I would say that “Matte” processing gives a similar look to film. I spent so much time in the darkroom printing black and whites for years before deciding to go digital and then once I did go digital, I spent hours trying to replicate the “look” of film. While digital and film are still so different, I feel like this process; which is hazy, brings the two together a bit. I try to make it as subtle as possible without losing all the tonal ranges of a good black and white, though!
Step One – Burn
Due to the overcast weather, the light was pretty flat, so I chose the burn tool in Photoshop and burned all around him except for the middle above him to create the appearance of light coming down on him. I always make sure the brushes (burn tool) are set to 0% hardness so the effect is less harsh.
Step Two – Gradient Map
I always separate my layers and mainly use Gradient Map when processing my black and whites. Go to Layer-> New Adjustment Layer-> Gradient Map. In order for the Gradient Map to work properly, the foreground is set to Black and the background is set to White. (Usually it does this automatically in PS)
Step Three – Curves
After I have selected the Gradient Map for converting, I add an adjustment layer of Curves to add more contrast to the image. Layer->New Adjustment Layer->Curves. I then raise the midpoint (in RGB) to brighten and create a second point on the lower left and bring down to add contrast. (s-curve)
Step Four – Selective Color
To finish off the black and white with a “matte” look, I choose Selective Color from the New Adjustment Layers.
- First, I select Neutrals and then increase the Blacks (+10%).
- Second, I select Blacks and decrease the Blacks (-16%).
- Lastly, I select the Whites and decrease the Blacks (-20%) to keep contrast. Click “Ok” and then the image is done!
Jackie Jean specializes in children and family portraiture in all natural light. She is a mom of four boys and lover of music and coffee! Visit her blog or follow her on Facebook and Pinterest @JackiJean.