My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and loved ones involved in the horrific American terror attack this Sunday.
Today I wanted to show you one way I edit an image to add beautiful light leaking from the top. This is a really simple technique and can be as subtle to dramatic as you wish. It works on all types of images from still life to portraits to nature landscapes to cityscapes.
I also posted a free action to do this for you called "Light Leaks Magic, Top", but today I wanted to walk you through the edit in this "Action UnWrapped" tutorial.
You can make the light leak any color you wish. I added pink light on this gorgeous image from Bloom Photography following my tutorial posted below.
CoffeeShop Photoshop/PSE Tutorial: Adding Beautiful Light to Your Image
Open your image.
NOTE: Each image will have its own unique adjustments, so please don't hesitate to use different blending and opacity settings than the ones in my tutorial. You can also paint on the layer masks to further adjust the edit.
Double-click on your Foreground color pane and change the "Foreground" color to your light leak color. In this case I wanted to add orange light (c67a20). If you forget to change the foreground color you can change the "light" color in a later step.
Add a "Gradient" adjustment layer.
This is what the image looks like without any adjustments.
I want to move the light leak to the top of the image so I change the Angle to -95%. If you make it 90% it will be straight across, but I like to have it slightly crooked to make it look more realistic. Try anything from 92%-100%. Keep the other settings the same as seen in my screenshot above.
The light is coming down too far into my image, but this is a simple adjustment. Click on the Gradient on the top to open up the Gradient Editor.
Note: If you need to adjust the color of the light leak, double-click on the bottom left slider (orange in this case) and then "Color" on the bottom to adjust the light leak color.
Grab the upper right top slider and move it to the left until you are happy with the placement of the light gradient. As you can see it has been shifted up and isn't covering as much of the bottom half of the image.
Press OK to accept the changes.
Put this light layer in Screen blending mode.
In this edit I want to paint some of the orange color off her face and hair.
I clicked on the layer mask and then used an 80% soft black brush to remove the orange from her eyes and a 30% soft brush to remove it from her skin and hair.
If you want to see red where you are painting as seen in my screenshot above, click the "\" key. Click again to remove the red.
Now her face looks much better. I didn't completely remove the warm light but selectively reduced it.
I like to add additional light to the very top of the image, so I clicked Ctrl-J to duplicate the "Gradient Fill" layer.
I kept the Angle the same, but I click on the Gradient on top to open the Gradient Editor and moved the top right slider even further to the left. I want this layer only applied to the top of the image.
I put this layer in Soft Light blending mode at 50% opacity. This really enhances the color on the very top of the image.
I like to add some additional orange color over the entire image. I clicked on the Background layer and added a "Color Fill" adjustment layer with the same orange color.
You can add any color at this step, but I usually use the same color I used in my light leak "Gradient".
I put this layer in Soft Light blending mode at 27% and painted it completely off her face and hair. I didn't want to add any more orange to her skin. Now the entire image is warm with beautiful light.
My final step is to slightly brighten the entire image. I added a "Levels" adjustment layer above the "Color Fill" layer and slide the bottom left black "output levels" slider to 20. This brightens and removes some contrast.
I hope you enjoyed following along with me as I edited this gorgeous image. I am really happy with the final result!
I will post the free action tomorrow so you can automate everything and save some time.
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.
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