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.
Create a new blank layer by clicking on the layer icon or from the Layer>
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.