I often exhort my students to play in Photoshop to learn how to make stronger images. I’m not a ‘Do as I say, not as I do kinda guy,’ so here is the result of my processing an image multiple times to art up a file.

Original capture

Here is a dragonfly from the wetlands of Sedona, AZ from last summer. Revisiting files that you captured in the past is good practice. Solid images start with a good capture. Away we go.

straight out of camera image
An image with good bones that needed some Photoshop processing to shine.

This image above is from a RAW file with no adjustment. Captured with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and 40-150mm f/2.8 M.Zukio lens, with Olympus M-20 2X Teleconverter on a Fotopro Eagle E-6L tripod.

This is my go-to tripod for nature and wildlife. It has a built in gimbal. Fotopro liked my work well enough that I became an ambassador. That’s a bonus for you if you go through me to purchase I can get you a good discount deal. Send me an email [email protected] for more info.

Photoshop process

I wanted more detail in the dragonfly. When I processed for sharpness, it made other parts too crunchy and a second time for softness and color. I layered the sharp image on top the softer and changed the Blend Mode to Soft Light. It gave me the detail I wanted for the dragonfly but not for the rest of the image.

Photoshop process for detail
I added extra texture and detail for sharpness on the dragonfly crunched up the rest of the image.

Using the Select Subject feature in Photoshop, I made a selection around the dragonfly. With a little additional cleanup adding and subtracting missed bits, the selection was completed. The creature was extracted on to its own layer. The sharp processed layer was turned off allowing the color processed layer to show through.

Photoshop process for detail
Took away texture, detail and enhanced color.

Luminar plugin

The layers were combined and the Luminar 4 plugin was used to enhance the final image.

Photoshop process Layers Palette. Background processed for color. One layer for sharpness. Layer two and copy extracted dragonfly. Top layer with tweaked for color making Luminar  adjustments.
Final image with Photoshop and Luminar processing.

You can see some of my dragonfly art with textures and Blend Modes using Photoshop processing in this Xpozer article.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob