If you have to believe photos on Instagram, it is a beautiful autumn everywhere with lots of colors in the leaves. However, if you look at your own photos, they look a lot less rosy. The secret? Post-processing. With the right post-processing, your photos will also get the look you are looking for. (How to Edit Autumn Portraits To Boost Colour)
Post-Processing autumn photography in RAW
Ideally, start your autumn photography post-processing with your RAW photo in the RAW editor. If you took a RAW photo, this should be the first screen to open in Photoshop. If not, open your JPG and press Filter> Camera Raw Filter. Note that with JPG the adjustments are a lot more severe than with RAW files.
In Camera RAW, start by correcting the color temperature. In this example the color temperature is a bit too cool and I adjusted it from 3800 to 4400. Look at the Curves tab to see how the exposure is. In this case we have too much ‘dead space’ in the highlights. We can see this in the image below because the line of the graph already ends before the end of the square in which the graph is displayed. Fortunately, this is easy to solve, by dragging the line on the right side slightly to the left, see the example for this.
Go back to the first tab. We lower the Highlights / Highlights slightly (-2) and also the white tones
we take it down a little to see some more shades in her skin (-42). In the Detail (s) tab we set Sharpening or Sharpening to Quantity 42 and the Radius to 1.2. In the HSL adjustments / KVL adjustment tab we give the main colors slightly more Saturation / Saturation. We put Orange on +25 and Yellow on +26. We are now done in Camera RAW and open the image.
There is already a big change in the photo! See also the reference below. Yet we are not finished yet.
Emphasize the model
You add a Camera Raw filter in Filter> Camera Raw Filter. Weren’t we there already? That’s right, but now you have adjustments that you only want to apply to the model. In the first tab you add some Dehaze / Haze removal (+13) and some Clarity / Local Contrast (+7). You subtly light up the model a bit more by setting Exposure / Lighting to +0.05. You press Ok.
By adding a mask to the layer you just created, you can ensure that the effect you just did is applied only to the model. To do this, you flip the mask with CTRL + I and make sure that you paint on the mask with the white brush, adding the effect where you want it. In our case, it is on the model. You paint the entire model white on the mask and make sure that you also bring the clothing.
Let the colors in the background speak more
We have given the model more emphasis, now it is time to let the colors in the background speak a bit more. You add another Camera Raw filter in Filter> Camera Raw Filter. You can adjust the colors in the Calibration / Calibration tab. You pull the Shadows a little more to the green side
toe (-12). Primary red drag the Hue / Hue slightly down (-20) and Primary blue also drag the Hue down (-7). With Primary green you drag the Hue / Hue down (-20) but you also pull the Saturation / Saturation down a bit, which suits your image. You press Ok.
Where you have just painted the effect on the model, you now want to have the effect only in the background. You add a mask to the image for this. With the black brush you can paint on the mask to remove the effect from the model. Make sure to paint the entire model and bring the model’s clothes with you. You always do this with a soft brush so that the transition is not too big.
The right shade of green
You add an Adjustment Layer: Selective color, see the screenshot on the right. You want to have the right shade of green. To do this, first take Green at the dropdown menu and set Cyan to +100. You drag yellow all the way to the left to -100. Then you select Red. You drag Black to +5 and Cyan to -31 to bring out the color red a bit more.
Editing the next step in autumn photography
Again an adjustment layer, now it is Gradient Map / Gradient Map. You can adjust the colors of the Gradient by double clicking on the color. Make sure you create a two-step gradient with the color 502909 on the left and the color fae89f on the right. See also the screenshot.
Depending on the photo, in the layer editor choose the layer style Soft light / Weak light or Multiply / Multiply. In this case I choose Weak Light and set the Opacity / Opacity of this layer to 30%.
Let’s see what it looks like now.
The gradient ensures that a number of colors are not displayed correctly. You grab another Adjustment Layer> Selective color here. In the dropdown menu under green you set Cyan to + 60% and Yellow of the green color set to -75%. At Red you set Black to +7 and Cyan to -11. Finally you put Yellow on +5 and Black on -6.
Bringing the model forward even more With Dodge & Burn / Hold & Push through, we can make the model stand out even better. With Shift + CTRL + N we create a new layer. We can fill this with Shift + F5> 50% gray. This ensures that you have a layer that is completely gray. Obviously, you don’t want this to cover the entire image. You therefore adjust the Layer style that we also adjusted earlier from another layer to Weak light, in this layer to Overlay / Cover.
With the Dodge tool, which is accessible under the tool on the left, you lighten the background behind the model a bit. It is okay if you accidentally take a piece of the model, we will fix this later.
With the Burn tool you give the edges of the photo a light vignette. You don’t want the Push / Hold effect to be visible on the model. Selecting the eraser removes the effect from the model. Make sure you set the Hardness to 0%.
The last step
We are almost there. With Filter> Sharpen> Smart sharpen you can make the photo a little sharper. The settings I used here are 53% and a 1.3 pixel radius, with noise reduction to 0%.
You are done post- editing your fall photography !