Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
Create a digital graduated filter effect - Use the gradient tool to enhance your dull landscapes
You don't need to shoot pictures with graduated filters if you have access
to a computer and an image editing program...
Words & Pictures Peter Bargh ePHOTOzine
For years creative photographers have taken pictures using plastic graduated filters to add a colour or to tone down a bright sky. Now these filter effects are available for digital photographers using image-editing software.
|First select a photograph that has a disappointing sky. In this example the sky was colourful, but when taking the photo the brightness difference meant that I either had to expose for the sky and have a dull foreground or, as I did, expose for the foreground and ignore the sky. An ND filter on the camera would have helped, but we are going to enhance the shot using a blue digital filter effect.|
I used Photoshop Elements for this project, but any image editing program
that has layers and a gradient filter can be used.
|Select the gradient tool from the toolbar and make sure the foreground colour is the colour that you want the graduated effect to be on the sky. I chose blue for this tutorial. On the horizontal menu bar that appears above the window you'll see a gradient pattern with an arrow to its right. Click on this and select the foreground to transparent (black to checkered) pattern. This will now be displayed as blue to checkered.|
|Now click at the top of the sky and, while holding down the mouse, draw a line so it reaches below the horizon (indicated by the tip of the red arrow in this illustration).|
|The blue gradation will now appear over the picture and on the new layer thumbnail|
Select Multiply from the blend mode drop down list and then drag the opacity down to around 55% to reduce the hardness of the colour. That's all you have to do. Unless you want to change the colour.
If you select Hue/Saturation from the Adjust>Color menu you can play around with the sliders to create a multitude of colours and replicate the many variations of the optical graduate filter. Here I have created the popular Tobacco grad.