As the snow begins to fall (like it is as I’m typing this), I always like to go back and look at my past winter photographs. Not because I love photographing out in the winter tundra, below-zero wind chills that Michigan often experiences, but because it’s a chance for me to rethink how I edit photos.
While my primary editing tool is Lightroom Classic, I often use Luminar 4 as a plugin in order to further finish my photographs. I do this for my headshot clients, using the new Portrait Enhancer tools. For food, I use AI Accent to give my images a sort of “pop” that isn’t otherwise achievable. But for my winter photos, I do it so I can take advantage of some of the great winter-themed Looks that are available.
Bring on the snow!
Skylum has a bunch of free Looks, LUTs and other helpful tools on its website, including the Winter Looks Collection. Once installed, you’ll get 25 Looks that can really boost your winter scenes.
Take this example. I shot this during the Grand Haven Winterfest, in the midst of a dog sled race. Needless to say the dog wasn’t exactly cooperating … but it made for a fun scene with a great smile out of the boy. To me it really encapsulated the event.
In Lightroom Classic I adjusted things like color temperature, contrast, highlights and shadows, and then brought it into the Luminar 4 plugin. I opened the Winter Looks Collection and clicked on the Snowy Texture Look.
Now, the Snowy Texture Look is pretty cool, and if you find a snow texture of your own, you can apply it the same way. But I didn’t like the blue tint. Luckily, there was an easy way to get rid of this using blend modes.
Tweaking the texture
If you open the Creative tools in Luminar 4, you’ll see three tools active with the Snowy Texture Look — Dramatic, Matte Look and Texture Overlay. To start, I turned off Dramatic and Matte Look, so I was dealing with just the texture.
Then I expanded the Texture Overlay tool, and clicked on Blend. I selected Soft Light, and then boosted the Opacity slider to 85. This got rid of the heavy blue tones that was the default with the Look.
From there, I wanted to show a little more of the boy’s face, and not have it so encapsulated with the snow. So I hit the Edit Mask drop-down, and then chose Brush. I then made sure that Erase was selected in the brush toolbar at the top of Luminar (you can also do this by holding down Option on your Mac keyboard, or X on Windows).
I clicked the O key to show my mask overlay (the / key on Windows), so I made sure I was erasing what I wanted to. In addition the main boy’s face, I also erased few that were close to the dog’s eyes.
And there you have it, a perfectly snowy snow scene!
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