Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tutorial >> How to Create Dreamy, Summertime-Inspired Photos Using Photoshop Elements


As of yesterday, it is now officially summer.  (Hurray!)  So I thought this would be the perfect time to share some tips on how to give your photos a dreamy, summertime-inspired look using some of the features available in Photoshop Elements 10.  The main editing technique I'll be using for this is the lens flare filter, but I'm also going to show you guys a couple of extra steps that I like to incorporate to create an ethereal, summery aesthetic.

In photography, a lens flare is achieved when rays of (usually bright) sunlight hit your lens and create effects that can include sunbursts, circles of light, haziness and warm-toned glows.  A lot of times this happens unintentionally with back lit photos, but it can also be done intentionally by placing your subject in front of your camera with the sun behind them. 

It can be a challenge to get this just right, but thankfully, the same effect can be accomplished in just a few easy steps with Photoshop Elements tools.  Want to create this look on a photo that isn't back lit?  No problem.  You can still use these tools to give your image an airy, summer sun-kissed appearance.  To demonstrate this, I'll take you through the steps using a photo that is naturally back-lit, then show you the effects on another image where the sun is directly lighting the subject's face.

When you're going through this tutorial, keep in mind that there are no right or wrong adjustments, levels or tweeks.  We're going for a warm, sun-drenched, slightly washed-out look with this image.  We're not following any "rules" for a technically perfect photograph.  Just have fun, experiment, and allow your creativity to flow freely!


1. Open your photo file in PS Elements 10 (File > Open). 


2. Duplicate your background layer (Layer > Duplicate layer).  This step is optional, but I like to do it so that I can compare the edits to the original image, or even revert back to it if I'm not happy with the edited image. (This can also be done using Layer Masks, but we'll save that for another tutorial).


3. Create your Lens Flare by going to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. 


4. Tweek your flare in the dialog box.  A dialog box will pop up with options where you can choose Lens Type, Brightness, and location and size of the flare.  Place your cursor over the cross to adjust sizing and move the flare to the desired place on your image. One you've made your adjustments, click OK.  As you can see, for this image, I chose the 50-300mm Zoom Lens, increased brightness to 150%, and positioned the flare to the top left.


5. Review your image.  I'm happy with the flare effect on my photo (zoomed in on this shot by going to View > Actual Pixels), but I'm thinking it could use some more tweeking to make it a little warmer and more radiant.


6. Create a Photo Filter adjustment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Later > Photo Filter.  Click OK in the dialog box. (An adjustment layer allows you to add an effect to a layer that you can edit at any time while still preserving your original layers.)


7.  Choose a Warming Filter from the Adjustments menu (this will be in the lower right corner of your screen), and use the slider to select Density.  I chose Warming Filter (LBA) at 45%.  I also unchecked the "Preserve Luminosity" box.  This allows the color overlay to cover all areas of the image, without it affecting the shadows or midtones.  If the back lighting in your photo is very bright like it is in mine, this can give the image more of a washed-out, vintage effect.  If the lighting is more balanced in your photo, you may decide to keep this box checked.  Try it both ways and see which way looks best for your photograph.


8. Now create a Levels adjustment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Later > Levels > OK. Unchecking the "Preserve Luminosity" box in step 7 darkened my photo quite a bit, so I want to brighten it back up.


9. Adjust the Levels in the Adjustment Layers menu to adjust the exposure, contrast, etc.  Use the sliders to play with levels on your photo until the desired effect is achieved. 

10. If everything looks good, flatten your layers (Layer > Flatten Image), and save it (File > Save As).  I chose to save my file as a .png, but you can choose whatever file type you prefer.  Also, remember that when you began, you duplicated the background layer so that your original, unedited image would remain.  If you want to view your original image before flattening and saving, you can make the edited layers invisible by clicking the eye symbol to the left of each layer (leaving the bottom background layer visible) in the Layers box. (Click on before + after image to view larger size.)


And here is the before and after of the other image I mentioned, where the sun is directly lighting the subject's face:
For this photo, I used the same tools in Photoshop Elements 10 as with the first image, but with slightly different adjustments made for the size and location of the flare, the amount of warmness applied, and the brightness/contrast levels.  As you can see, even with photographs that aren't back lit, you can still use the Lens Flare and a couple of other simple tools to give your photos a luminous, summertime glow.   (Click on before + after image to view larger size.)


I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial!  If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.  And if you try this tutorial yourself, I'd love to see your photos! 

To read more about my role as a Photoshop Elements Ambassador, click here.  In addition to here on the blog, you can follow my PS Elements Ambassador adventures over the next few months via my Twitter and Instagram (@bubbyandbean) accounts.  You can also keep up to date with the project and other Photoshop Elements goodness by visiting Adobe Photoshop Element's Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube accounts.

Happy Summer!


Follow Bubby and Bean

Bubby and Bean on Bloglovin

27 comments:

  1. great tips! I'll have to give this a try soon

    ReplyDelete
  2. These photos look soooooo pretty, thank you for sharing this!!! I dont have photoshop elements but this makes me want to get it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gina! You should definitely get it - it's super affordable and has a ton of the features of Photoshop! :)

      Delete
  3. so pretty! i don't have photoshop elements, but i am sure there is something similar in photoshop. i will have to play around, i love this effect!

    brittany
    prettylittlevintage

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brittany! You could definitely create a similar effect in PS.

      Delete
  4. I cannot wait to try this! You're such a pro!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awww, thanks. :) I'm def not a pro, but I like experimenting and learning as I go!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Posts like this are soooo cool! I think there is a huge group of bloggers that think photos like that are just captured, not realizing the work that goes in. Great tutorial. good picture editing is like good makeup, you know you have it right, when it looks amazing, and no one can tell its there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, digital photography is as much about editing as it is taking the actual picture. I'm so glad you like the tutorial. :)

      Delete
  7. I love how dreamy and natural these are! I don't think I'll ever invest in the real Photoshop. Elements has all I need :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love this tutorial! Thank you for posting it :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really need to get Photoshop... Also, I'm so in love with your blog! Pretty pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Awesome tutorial! Thanks for posting this!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my gosh! I can totally do this! Get ready for much-improved pictures over on my blog. :-) Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is really helpful. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for this! I love how you edit your photos :)
    I also made a photoshop tutorial a few days ago: http://conflating.blogspot.com/2012/06/psd-lesson-vintage-effect.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. i recently purchased photoshop elements for my mac and haven't gotten around to playing around with it. this tutorial would really come in handy. thank you so much for this, melissa! i can't wait to tweak my photos. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm definitely trying this soon! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  16. this is great! thank you so much i just played around a bit. is there an easy way, once you get through the entire tutorial to the end, to go back and move the flash flare?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One thing you could try would be to make a new top layer after step 2, and fill it with grey at 50% opacity. Then make your lens flare on this layer (instead of on your image), and in the blending mode menu, change it to hard light. This will make it so that the flare is basically in its own layer and can be repositioned later. :)

      Delete
  17. ok i will try that. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for the great tips! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. this was so helpful. i'm such a newbie with my photoshop elements...
    sweet pete.

    ReplyDelete
  20. love this tutorial. Loved how easy the steps are;)) Thanks for posting

    ReplyDelete
  21. yes.... i got it hehee. . .

    thank you for your article

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting! We love reading your thoughts and we're grateful for your input. (All spam will be deleted.)