Ever look at a photograph and say, wow look at those colors or sky, must have been a gorgeous day and that setting is just beautiful, I wonder where it is? Well not every spectacular setting or vibrant color happens exactly at the time the photo is taken. Let’s take a look at the photo above as our example. Deep reds and greens, there’s a bright look to it, almost fairytale like but that’s not what I saw when I shot it. It was actually taken on a gray December afternoon and what caught my eye was the scene, devoid of all this life and color.
Now some people may not even stop and take this photo but for those of you who would it’s important to know that just because you have a drab overcast day and a seemingly boring scene, a little imagination and creativity can turn an otherwise simple washed out photo into your own work of art. When I took this I didn’t know exactly what I wanted it to turn into but I knew I could have loads of fun with it. The look of the scene stopped me in my tracks. I love how the bench was just sitting all alone, not a spot people would go to relax as the view from the bench was of a wall and a walkway but from this angle it’s a door into another realm. The overhanging trees that seem to be reaching out and growing within each other as they cover the walk leading you to another place in time. It was a fairy tale place, one I could see my childhood self getting lost in and I wanted to soak up every moment of it.
Saldly though there was very little sun, the sky covered in clouds and winter so there were no leaves or life jumping out at me. I would have to get creative, to take the photo with the composition I liked but then put some work into what I wanted it to be, what I could imagine it to be.
For the most part I used Lightroom 5 to add in color, contrast, change my white balance and exposure and was somewhat happy with the resulting image but I still felt it needed more.
I needed to work on the background, fix everything but the bench to really set it apart. I isolated the bench and made color and contrast updates to only the reds to draw them out and make the pop. I added more and more contrast to the trees so each branch jumped out of the picture on it’s own and finally I decided to use add a texture layer to the background to give it that extra grain and life that it deserved.
The resulting image was more like my imagination, more alive with detail and had a spark that drew me in. So, next time you want to go shoot on a gray overcast day go for it! Stop and shoot that scene because you love it, no matter what it looks like. Not sure how to edit it or what to do, play! Experiment and have fun! You can edit and edit and change your mind over and over until you see what you like in your image and that is all that matters!