Wednesday, July 9, 2014

CoffeeShop Hazy Afternoon Photoshop/PSE Action-UnWrapped Tutorial!

I am really excited to post my newest action-unwrapped tutorial for Photoshop/PSE called CoffeeShop Hazy Afternoon.  

I will post the action for download tomorrow (I am almost finished getting it all together), but today I wanted to walk you through the edit so you can see exactly what is going on when the action runs.  I really think it is fun to know what is going on "under the hood", and even if this is not your favorite edit, you can learn several useful techniques from this tutorial that will be useful for your own personal editing.

CoffeeShop Hazy Afternoon Action UnWrapped Tutorial for Photoshop/PSE:

1. Open your photo.  This action works best when you have some areas of light sky.  I found this lovely image on Pixabay.

2. Photoshop Users Only:  I like to add some contrast to the image's shadows.  This part of the tutorial can not be done on PSE unless it is written in an action.   The action is coming out tomorrow!

Click on Channels, and then on the little icon on bottom "Load channel as selection". This will select the highlights of the image.

Click on Select, Inverse to select the shadows.

Ctrl-J to copy the selection to a new layer and then desaturate the layer and put it in soft light.  This adds contrast to the darks of the image.  I do this so the hazy effect won't completely wash out everything.

3.  Add a level's adjustment layer and start with the same settings I circled in the screenshot above and then adjust them for your own image.  Shadows: 22, Midtones: 1.30, Highlights: 240, Output Levels: 70. I use this layer to lighten the image slightly and add some "matte effect".

4.  Add a white to whitish color fill layer (fcf9f2) on top. You won't see your image, but we will fix that in the next step.

Click G for the gradient tool and select a black to white gradient.

Click on the layer mask of the white color fill layer to select it, and then click on the darkest part of your image and drag your mouse to the lightest area.  Put the layer in Screen blending mode.  Now you will see a hazy light effect.  You can continue to drag the gradient on the layer's mask until you are happy with the placement.  You can also adjust the layer's opacity.

5.  I like to add a color tint to the image, so I added an orange color fill layer (f2be8d) and put it in Multiply blending mode at 38% opacity.

6.  If you would prefer a hazy B&W, add a white to black gradient fill layer on top.

Here is the before and after.  I really love this effect and have used it successfully on several images.  I hope you enjoy playing!  I will release the action tomorrow for those of you who would rather have it automated.  :-)

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets 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.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. I absolutely love this action! I'm an "under the hood" kind of girl so I thank you for so generously sharing these kind of detailed tutorials.

  2. Is there a way to remove the effect from my subjects in the photo and have only for the background?

    1. Yes Linny, there is a way, by painting on the layer masks. I will make a step-by-step tutorial and post it next week. :-) Thanks! Rita