Anatomy of Master File

I am currently updating my wedding and portrait portfolio. When I choose a photo to showcase to clients, I then try to get the best of the image by creating a “Master Image.” This is a multi layered Photoshop file, that builds up the best elements I like in the photo. To illustrate- here is a photo that I like. I like the moment contained in the image, but its otherwise too busy for my liking.

The original color negative image- adjusted for color balance

The original color negative image- adjusted for color balance

The background color is distracting with a lot of busy elements- the first step is to apply a black and white conversion with Nik Silver Effects Pro, using a layer mask to bring back the original color in the flowers, and 25% color saturation selectively painted in with a Wacom pen and tablet.

Black and white layer added and selective mask to bring back color elements

Black and white layer added and selective mask to bring back color elements

OK, now I still feel the background is a little distracting so I added a little motion blur. This applies over the whole image.

Motion blur applied to whole image

Motion blur applied to whole image

So now that the background is suitably non-distracting, I need to bring out the faces and flowers. I do this by applying a layer mask to bring back the ‘sharp’ layer below. I do this by using the Wacom tablet and using 100% opacity on the faces, 50% on the flowers, and 15% on areas of clothing that I want to blend back into focus.

Focus on the couple enhanced by removing the motion blur in parts

Focus on the couple enhanced by removing the motion blur in parts

The final print with white borders. I cropped in on the image to show the elements of the frame that were most important to me. I then noticed that the wedding party in the backgrounds clothing was distracting in color. I added another layer of BW and painted out the color in that area.

The finished 'Master File' as seen in my portfolio

The finished 'Master File' as seen in my portfolio

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