Photography, Tutorials

Editing Venice – Tutorial

Looking for photos to edit and my friend saved me by sending some photos of her recent trip to Venice.  At least I think that is where they are from.  The image was opened up in Camera Raw in Photoshop CS6.  I’m sorry I have done this tutorial in Photoshop again, mainly because I wanted to use some things that you can’t do in GIMP, though there isn’t a lot.

One of the first things that struck me with this image is all the shadows and how dark the bottom half of the image is.  It needed some light and life put into the bottom of it.

In Camera Raw the shadows have been lightened up, and the blacks have been lightened as well.  The image doesn’t look as dark now.  There is more interest in the water right now.

Once the image was opened into Photoshop the Levels were adjusted.  You can see what I have done in the image.

Since the water was becoming the focus of the image, I used the Quick Selection Tool to select the river, and to help with the uneven edges and all the boats, the feather tool was used.  I only selected 2 pixels, that is enough for this.

The difference isn’t great, but you can see the differences in the Curves window.  You might need to click on it and enlarge it to see exactly what I did.

Finally, the Hue/Saturation adjustment was used.  I felt the orange was a little over the top, so I wanted to tone it down a little, and it was done only by a small amount.

The Gradient tool was used to make the bottom edge a little darker as well.  When I first looked at the final image I thought it looked the same, and couldn’t work out whether it was better, but when I compared it with the original I could see that it was improved a lot.  Hopefully you agree the image is brighter now.

This image has been put through Color Efex Pro 4, using the Classical Soft Focus, then back to Photoshop CS6, once here I thought putting some colour into the sky might be interesting.  I used the colour picker to get a colour from the image, you can see where I got the colour from, then I changed to the gradient tool and used it to put that colour into the sky.

This is the final image.  I see people doing this all the time, adding colours to the image that you know can’t possibly be real, but some how it seems to work.  What do you think?

This time it was opened up into Color Efex Pro 4 again, but this time I used the Graduated Filter filter.  I used the orange colour and made a few changes.  I haven’t really used this one before.  I can see the benefits of it, but I like the previous one more.

Sandra hasn’t seen these yet, I hope she likes them.  No doubt I will get a directory full of images so that I can edit them for her.  I’m her personal editor.  Actually editing images is something I love doing.  I love starting with something plain and seeing what I can do to it.  Though, I have to remember that what I would do to my images is not what others would necessarily want done to theirs.

HDR Darkroom 2

Remember a couple of weeks ago I did a post on different software packages for doing HDR images.  HDR Darkroom came out pretty well, and would be great for people who are new to HDR images but don’t want to outlay too much money to see if they like it.  It’s good beginners software.

If you are interested in purchasing it then now is a good time.  I’ve received an email saying they’re giving people a 30% discount on the software until Christmas.  If you want to take advantage of the discount then use the coupon code “XMAS2012″ to get 30% off on your upgrade to the full version without watermarks.

That’s Melbourne or Not

I just has a call from them, I had asked if they would be interested in advertising on my blog, but apparently what I do to market Melbourne for them is not good enough, so if you want to visit Melbourne after seeing the photos I do of it, I don’t know that I could recommend them for information.  It is so frustrating, I think I do a lot for advertising this city and I can’t get any help with it.

I did have their logo on my blog for a while once, and it had some problem and it turned my blog upside down, so maybe it is just as well.  I had to remove it, I wouldn’t recommend them now.  I should see what other options there are for people who would like to come to Melbourne.


  1. Leanne, please (because of subject) look at my husbands own blog of today – – VENICE. I like to take some of our photos and your tutorial, and see what I can do. Thanks.
    re Melbourne – I am just ‘learning’ that most people/companies want things for FREE on your blog. You deserve a good sponsor – good luck. Ciao, Carina

    • Thank you Carina, I hope you have some luck with the tutorials. I took a look at your husbands photos, they are looking good. Love the water shots, it is so hot here today they are very “cool” to look at.
      I am hoping to get a sponsor as well, I really want to continue doing the blog so it would be nice to be able to.

  2. arjun bagga says

    Awesome ! I got to spend some time here and learn quite a few thing

  3. Interesting to read how and why you switch between the different software packages. To be honest; I like the picture but I’d put some more yellow/orange in the sky. So it becomes more compliant with the colour (light) of the buildings. But that’s just my humble opinion. I love your photography!!!

    • I know what you mean, and that is what I was trying to do, but it came out so pink. I think the last one was over the top, though the one done with nothing in the sky is the one that my friend liked. Thank you.

    • Thank you Susanne, I like what you have said, it is funny when I sent the image back to Sandra, she thought I had resent her the original until she compared it.

  4. Awesome I learn from you! Very beautiful If I had more time I would take a class or a workshop I wish days were like 36 hours long. Especially when I’m painting If all I did was spit some paint on a canvas I be ever so productive but alas….

    • Do you mean the last one Barbara, it is very strange, it was just too much, I think it takes a certain image to use a graduated filter. Thanks. :)

  5. I am impressed with what you did to this photo.. and love the end result… thanks again for the tutorial… wonderful work…

  6. I think your photos of Melbourne and other parts of Victoria are amazing. Perhaps you should send a few of your followers’ comments to them so they can see how wrong they are.

    • I don’t think they consider blogs important, there are other options, I hope. I was hoping they would consider that as well. Maybe I just have to keep going. Thanks for your support.

    • Thank you, and welcome to the blogging community it is a great world. You are bound to meet some wonderful people. Good luck with it all. :)

  7. Great ideas there! I’ve just spent the last week going over some old photos and many of them were Venice so this looked really familiar to me. Mine don’t pop as much as yours though!

    • You will have to make them pop Wiwi, I’m sure you can. See how you go. I’ve never been there, I hope to one day. Thanks

  8. Enjoying your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine. I will come back to see what you’re up to. It is not hot and dry here-Canada-we woke up to snow this morning.

    • That is great to hear Barb, and you are welcome.
      I have to say I really wish I was in Canada right now, it is 36 C, or 96.8 F, here, not great, too hot. I would love to be cold. Thanks

  9. I love your work and I follow your blog however Im going to be a little objective here and ask why you want to change the original image as it looks great? Surely photography is still about capturing the original scene as it is, not how we want it to be? The end image is nice, but its leaning more towards art and not photography? Maybe if we all worked a little harder in camera and became more accepting of our images we would be less reliant on changing them beyond recognition.

    • This is an interesting point, it wasn’t me that wanted to change it, it was my friend, she sent it to me to edit. Surely photography is about images, whether they come from the camera, or they come from the computer or they come from the darkroom. The final thing is about the image.
      Why isn’t photography art? I don’t quite understand that statement, photography is a form of art, that is what I believe.
      I do work very hard on my camera skills and I think my skills are very good, but the camera can’t interpret the same way as your eye can, and most images need work. You know, the reality is that people have been manipulating photos since photography began, I believe the first HDR image was processed in 1850, Ansell Adams did HDR photography, are you saying his works aren’t photography? He was a master printer of the darkroom and manipulated his images so much. Burning and dodging and manipulating images is as old as photography itself. It seems that only since the digital age started has it become a bad thing. I am disappointed with comments like this, as I consider myself an artist, and I want my images to be works of art, photographic works of art, and that means manipulating them, I love the digital darkroom.
      I hope that answers your questions.

      • Disagree with “The end image is nice, but its leaning more towards art and not photography?”

        In most part, photography IS a form of art. What I agree with in the original comment is that this particular photo doesn’t need much post-production work – it is beautiful in and of itself. And digital manipulation has, to some extent, become a bad thing, because a lot of people (not you) take images and Photoshop them into oblivion. Too much of that takes away the art (and heart) of Photography. Sometimes the most beautiful photos are untouched.

      • I am so glad about that Mirella, and I do agree, the original didn’t need much, all I really wanted to do was soften the shadows, and highlight the water, the last two were just for fun, though my friend liked the first version best.
        I’m afraid, I am one those that think every image needs something, even if it is just levels, though every now and then I do leave an image, but it doesn’t happen often. Thanks for clarifying your position, I appreciate it.

      • Can I just say, I really agree with you about what some people do, I realise I didn’t read it properly, I apologise, and yes, you are very correct.

      • I think you misunderstood my use of the word Art. I referred to art in the context of my post as a painting rather than a photograph. A camera takes a snapshot of a real place, item, person etc, an artist can paint a picture but interpret it in their own way, manipulating it and yes this has been going on since time began. My own personal perspective is that Id rather see the original ‘real’ shot, rather than one that has been changed, sometimes beyond all recognition for example a landscape that could never be real, a portrait that looks nothing like the person it represents. I am just one comment in your list and look at how many agree with you, if you put your work out there then you expect the good, bad and the indifferent. In the grand scale of things my comment is lost in the praise you receive.

  10. I like the first edit. You brightened up the photo quite a bit. The orange sky doesn’t look right to me.

  11. Wow, what a great edit ! The final image is sooooo much better, very beautiful ! I love your tutorials, I always learn something new.
    I downloaded the free trial Color Efex Pro 4 and I adore this plug-in ! I can’t live without it anymore !
    Have a nice week Leanne !

    • Thank you so much, I love hearing that people get something out of the tutorials,
      I love Color Efex, and I’m so glad you tried it out. I hope you have lots of fun with it. You have a great week too.

  12. Hi Leanne – yes that’s Venice. I can’t remember – did you look at Nik’s HDR software when you did your comparison? If so what did you think?

    • When I wrote this, I hadn’t really done the comparison Mark, but I did yesterday, you can do some pretty cool things in it. I am looking forward to doing more with it. Thanks Mark.

  13. Nice treatment of this Venice image. Adding color back to sky, I would have left it out. But, of course, that’s always in the eye of the beholder. Great tutorial.

    Sounds like Melbourne wants you to run a full-blown tourist campaign.

    • The colour in the sky was just for fun, my friend likes the one without. I started playing with color efex and was trying the graduated filter, I don’t think this was the right image for it, but it was fun seeing what you could do to it.
      I don’t know about That’s Melbourne, I am not sure what they are after, thanks David.

  14. prosemachine says

    Thank you for this – will be forwarding this to my sister whom just got back from a trip there. I’m sure she’d appreciate this.

  15. Fabulous editing Leanne. You make it seem so easy. I also like the next to the last one. Good luck with the Melbourne advertising thing. Sounds a little challenging.

    • Thank you Bella, I hope you realise that you could do it as well. I thought that was interesting and it is something I would like to try more of.
      I think the Melbourne advertising thing is a lost cause, but I will just see what else I can do.

  16. calvininjax says

    Great to see someone who really knows what they are doing in Photoshop at work.

  17. It’s so very late here, and I’ve got four of your posts I haven’t seen yet, nor have I been able to answer your e-mail, Leanne. Really liked this tutorial, and adding that orange tint to the sky works for the sky…but not really for the architecture. That is Canale Grande (the Grand Canal), and the building are 14th through 18th century for the most part…and the stonework is very aged in tone. Fun shot to play with though! I’ll get back to you tomorrow sometime…it’s been a very long, busy day…so long I found it difficult to post tonight!

    • I know what you are talking about, I feel like I am constantly playing catch up at the moment. Glad you liked it. No, you are right, the orange tint didn’t work for the architecture, but it was fun trying it and not something I have done before, would like to do more though. I got your email, sorry I haven’t responded, things have gone mad. Thank you so much.

  18. Love, love, love the different effects you are getting with this photo! I really do like the one with the vivid orange. Thanks for the tutorial. I haven’t used gradients in processing and will have to try it. Would you consider doing a more step by step tut for using gradients?

    • I hadn’t used gradients like this before, it is interesting and can give quite nice effects. I could do as you asked, I will have a think about it and see what I can come up with. Thanks

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