Monday, January 16, 2012

split toning in photoshop lightroom | a little LKP how-to!

When I first started pursuing photography on a business level, I would have said I understood my camera pretty well. I would have said I had the fundamentals that it took to produce beautiful photographs. 

Well looking back on that...I can say with confidence that I had a lot to learn. 

In the beginning I put a LOT of emphasis on editing my photos, because I simply wasn't madly in love with them straight out of the camera. After a couple months, I found myself editing less, and less...and even less. I wish I could say it was a magic lens, or a really expensive light reflector, but the truth is...it's practice and practice alone.

Take a look at a photo from early last Summer, and one from late last Summer:


At this point, I really only do a couple tweaks to my photos to give them some pop and a bit of a whimsical vibe.

One of my favourite editing tools in Photoshop Lightroom is Split Toning, and it's something I wish I had figured out earlier! In the simplest sense, Split Toning allows you to pull out the colours of your choice in the highlights and the shadows of a photograph, and decide on a saturation


My favourite formula for Split Toning is to pull out the yellows in the highlights, and the purples (or sometimes dark blues) of the shadows. I love the way it gives my photos a warm and creamy look, without them looking overly Photoshopped. 

One thing to note is that I NEVER save my Split Toning numbers and use them for presets, because it really is such a difficult balance. 3-5% more saturation in either category is enough to really skew the skin tones of the subjects. In my opinion, it's definitely worth tackling Split Toning on a photo-by-photo basis. 

Take a look at a before and after from my most recent engagement session between Christine and Patrick:

Original                                               Split Toned


It's a subtle difference (by all means, I'm not expecting you to glance at this before and after and think HOLY COW!), but that's one of the things I love about it...it still looks like real life.

I am so excited to see what my photos look like straight out of the camera this time next year :) 

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