Last week I published a series of posts on this photoblog. In particular, I shared one post with the Canon 6D Forum on DPReview.com to show the stunning low-light capabilities of this new camera from Canon. Hundreds of people visited that post, and some people where kind enough to leave a comment. Of those people, most commented on the painterly quality of the whole series and, in particular, of the picture above - which opened the post - and some even asked if I could explain how to achieve this kind of vintage effect in post-processing.
This brief tutorial will show you, step by step how I created this image from the original one (see the before and after comparison above). I will also share with you a free Lightroom 4 preset which contains the exact settings I used, so you can experiment with your own images!
Above you can see a JPG conversion of the RAW image straight out of the camera... nothing special, right? Just a snapshot taken from the Academia Bridge around sunset. Any tourist who has been on that bridge probably has taken the very same picture. I did like the composition, though, especially because of the slight compression given by the 105mm zoom lens. All I wanted to add to this, was a vintage look, which helped accentuating the "golden light" of sunset on the church in the background. I started playing around with basic exposure and with the split-toning feature, adding blues to the shadows and yellow to the highlights. As I always do when I find a combination of settings that I really like, I saved it in a user custom Lightroom 4 preset, which you can download for free here: VeneziaGoldenLight.lrtemplate!
Above you can see what the image looked like after I was done with the various tweaking. After that, as usual, I started focusing on areas of the picture that I thought needed particular attention, selectively brightening up some of the areas that were too much in shadow. The following two pictures were converted to black and white to facilitate seeing the pink/red areas that were affected by my adjustment brush selections. On the right hand side you can also see which adjustment setting I used.
Finally, I added a couple of gradients to darken up the left upper and bottom corner of the picture, just to focus the attention away from the left side of the picture and more towards the church of "La Salute". And there you go... below is the final image, again. I hope you enjoyed this brief tutorial and that you will put to good use the preset I shared with you today. I would love to see some of the best images you will process starting from this preset, so please come back and leave a link to your pictures in the comments below!