Taking Bare Trees From Flat to Pop

Let's revisit the photo from my last post where I talked about how I chose between two similar compositions. This time we'll turn our attention to image processing and just look at the "winning" photo. The photo started out flat and washed out. I did my image processing with Intensify Pro and was surprised how big a difference a few adjustments made. Take a look at before and after to see the progress we're going to make.

Processed

Processed

Original

Original

My first adjustments in Intensify Pro were in the Pro Contrast panel which is almost always where I begin. Midtones is my go-to choice then I decide whether to work with the others depending on the tonal range in the photo. For this image I ended up using all three areas: Highlights, Midtones and Shadows. After each contrast slider adjustment I further fine-tuned with the Offset slider. By moving the Offset a little to the right I achieved a richer contrast adjustment.  

After Pro Contrast adjustments

After Pro Contrast adjustments

And there you go, with just Pro Contrast we've got a respectable image. Big improvement over the original. Next let's work with the Structure panel to bring out some (but not too much) of the detail in this scene. Just as with Pro Contrast I start with Midtones, then see what else is helpful. It's easy to go overboard here, especially with a super-detailed photo like this one. Using these moderate adjustments I've accentuated just enough detail.

My last major global adjustment is a vignette. Adding a vignette will help prevent the viewer's eye from drifting to the edges of the image. However the standard centered vignette pushes too much attention to the dead center and away from the largest tree. To avoid this I used the "Place center" feature to position the vignette's center slightly up-left of center.

After Structure and Vignette adjustments

After Structure and Vignette adjustments

That about wraps things up for this photo. The final adjustments I made include a global vibrance boost and shadow darkening, and selective darkening and desaturation. I applied the selective adjustments to the bottom right corner so that area would not draw as much attention.

Software used: Macphun's Intensify Pro
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