Photog Chris's Blog

got a camera and photoshop, fun times

Hello little Mockingbird

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 First post and I think we’ll start with my latest flickr post Northern Mockingbird edited in Photoshop CS4.  I expect you know how to create layers and adjustment layers in Photoshop, along with changing blending modes too. If not I may add a tutorial later, but you should already know this.

First, here is the original picture.

Mockingbird Untouched

Northern Mockingbird - original

And here you go with the finished picture

Norhtern Mockingbird - fini

Northern Mockingbird - fini

So, what did I do? Well, first and most obvious was to crop the picture. I am not currently seasoned enough of a photographer to all ways check my composition in the passion of shooting, especially when I am in a hurry with a fleeting nature shot.

The first step , before even cropping, though is to import into Photoshop with Adobe Camera Raw.  I boosted the vibrance and clarity a bit while reducing the blacks some. I also pushed the white balance to a lower temp. Here are the settings:


ACR4.4 settings

ACR4.4 settings

After import I duplicate the background layer and set it’s Blending Mode to Soft Light with an opacity of 50%. This is something I do with most every image I work with, well, either Soft Light or Overlay with varying degrees of opacity. I like the way it punches up the color but you have to be careful with Overlay as it will punch  up the contrast too! Here is an intermediate image:


intermediate 1

intermediate 1


I noticed some strong purple edging on his wings, I believe that is known as Chromatic Aberration. It is caused be cheap lenses that do not allow all the specturm of light to reach the sensor in the proper place, I think. Here is a detail:


Charomatic Aberration

Chromatic Aberration

To fix this I added a new Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and desaturated it by -61 and adjusted the Hue by -9. All of this with a mask to keep it confined to the problem spots.


I am close to finish now, but not entirely happy with the image. The little guy’s head is in a bit of a shadow and I need to brighten it up some.  There are different ways of doing this using curves or layers with a mask, but I just added a spherical white to transparent gradient over his head and adjusted the Blending Mode to Overlay and opacity to 50%. Here you go before the blending mode adjustment:


intermediate 2 white gradiant

intermediate 2 white gradiant

And, once again after the blending mode adjustment and final image:


Norhtern Mockingbird - fini

Norhtern Mockingbird - fini


I hope this is helpful, please comment if you have questions or suggestions and please remeber, this is my first tutorial.


Written by photogchris

May 19, 2009 at 12:30 am

Posted in Tutorials

Tagged with , ,

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