Add Vibrancy And Warmth To Photos With Light Bleeding

Sometimes it takes more than simple colour correction to make a good photo into a great photo. If you have a scenic picture that could use just a little more warmth to make it pop, try adding some extra light in Photoshop with “light bleeding”.

Writer and photographer Jimmy McIntyre shares his technique for adding warmth to images in this video. Light bleeding, in this case, doesn’t refer to light leaks (unwanted light exposing film in unintended ways); rather, he’s adding hazy highlights based on the colour of the light source in the picture. It’s very simple: He selects the colour of the lightest part of the sky, and then uses a very large brush with a very soft edge to add some light to the darker parts of the image. And the layer blending mode should be set to “soft light”.

Subtly is key. Bathing the whole image in digital light would just look fake, so you want to be selective when adding highlights. McIntyre focuses on the sides of the mountains in the picture that are already facing the sun so it visually makes sense. The resulting image is slightly more vibrant, warmer and more evocative of a real sunset — even if the light isn’t quite real.

Quick Photoshop Secrets 14: Light Bleeding For Warmer Images [Jimmy McIntyre]

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