Thursday, September 5, 2013

CoffeeShop Fairy Tale LightRoom Tutorials: "Alice in Wonderland"!

Today I wanted to post the first of a series of Lightroom 4/5 tutorials.  I have to preface this post by letting you know that I am a huge fan of Pretty Presets, so I usually don't find a need to write my own Lightroom presets.  However, Catherine of Vanilla Tree Photography sent me some of her stunning images and I was inspired to dust off my Lightroom preset-writing skills and create a new "fairy tale" set.

Today I am going to go through the step-by-step tutorial on how I created this "Alice in Wonderland" effect, and tomorrow I will post the free LR4/5 preset for download.  I love creating the tutorials because I think many of you don't want to just push buttons but also want to know what is happening "behind the scenes" so you can customize the edit.

I will also make a Photoshop/PSE action version in the near future.  :-)  I used to only use Photoshop/PSE to get my "artistic" effects, but lately I have become more comfortable creating them in Lightroom. If you are new to using Lightroom I can suggest reading The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book for Digital Photographers.  It helped me figure out the basics.

CoffeeShop "Alice in Wonderland" Lightroom Tutorial:

This beautiful image was generously donated by Vanilla Tree Photoshop (Facebook).  It is perfect as is, but I wanted to add some brightness for a fairy tale effect.

Here are the first settings I applied to the image.  I set the Temp to -20 (adds blue), the Tint to +24 (adds red), Clarity to -20 (softens the image), and the Vibrance to +5 (color pop).  Then I adjusted the RGB tone curve to the setting you see in the screenshot above.  If you haven't used the Tone Curve I explain it in this post.  I love the Tone Curve because it is just like  Curves in Photoshop.

Next I changed the Tone Curve Channel to Blue and moved the top slider down and the bottom slider up to add yellow.  Then I changed to the Red Channel and added just a bit of red to the shadows by sliding the bottom left slider up a tiny bit.

Now for the magic fairy tale light.  I hadn't ever played with the Graduated Filter in LR until recently when I watched a YouTube video on how to use it.   Now I am addicted!  Click on the Graduated Filter setting on the top (M) and then set the Temp to 20 and the exposure around 0.9.  Click just under the bottom left corner and drag the gradient across your image.  The midpoint should end up around the upper left corner as seen in the screenshot above.

You can adjust the Temp/Tone, Exposure, and other settings to taste.  I left the rest alone because I was really pleased with the effect.  However, I noticed there was some redness on her arm that needed to be fixed.

I selected the Adjustment Brush (K), right next to the Graduated Filter setting, and moved the Temp to 27 and the Tint to -23, clicked Auto Mask, and painted over her arm.  When you do spot correction like this make sure you play with the sliders to blend it in well.  I haven't completely removed the  redness, but it is much reduced.

Here is the finished "Alice in Wonderland" edit.  I absolutely love this effect!  Especially on this beautiful image.

I ran the "Alice in Wonderland" preset on another image from Vanilla Tree Photography. I love the color of the light.  I could move the Tint on the Graduated Filter up to 35 or so to add more yellow if I wanted, but I personally love this color tint.  Feel free to play with the setting to get your own perfect edit.

Tomorrow I will post the free "Alice in Wonderland" LR4/5 preset for download.  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.


  1. This is great!!! I can't wait for the LR preset! :)

  2. Thank you so much for bringing us some Lightroom presets! I try to only use Lightroom in my editing and you have some many amazing actions but I'm do glad that you are doing some presets now as well!

  3. This just adds so much to the photograph, love your work!

  4. LOVE it! Can't wait for the LR preset! Thanks for the tutorial. I'm going to read it again, because I learned some things! :)

  5. Absolutely beautiful!!!

  6. Which one does this one resemble the most of your PS actions? :-) Thanks!