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How to creatively edit Fireworks photos

The message How to edit Fireworks photos ' s first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Rick Ohnsman.

I hope you have had the opportunity to read my previous article, "Eight tips for better photos of fireworks" before you went out to take your fireworks and found it useful. If so, you should take a few good photos to work with this. If not, these techniques will still work for you if you have a few other good fireworks photos. Anyway, let's see if I can teach you how to perform the basic operations on your fireworks images. Then how you can compile your recordings in a creative way and the ' wow factor ' can get even higher.

How to edit Fireworks photos

You recorded Raw, yes?

I realize that starting photographers can create their images with their camera set to save only the .jpg file, may not have the editing tools, or have learned to edit a Raw file. Although that is not a deal-breaker, you will notice that this is due to the fact that the camera performs many of the operations itself, using the camera's built-in .jpg algorithm to "cook" the final image for you. Maybe while you're still a starting image editor, (cooking), editing raw files may seem intimidating and you may feel that the camera is a better cook than you are.

The problem is that with something like your fireworks photos you want as much space as possible for creative editing as well as a lot of file information that the camera originally recorded. By having the camera create a .jpg image, creative decisions can be made and information you need is thrown away.

You can still use the steps described here to edit a .jpg file. Just understand things that may not work as well. One final plug for creating Raw files before you continue – Almost all professionals do that, and that's the level of work you want to make, right? ' Enough said.

2 - How to edit Fireworks photos

This effect is what I call the "tree-zoom bloom." You will have to read part one of this series if you missed how to make it.

Edit tools

The workflow described here assumes that you will use the ' s editing programs that I use to work with my images; Adobe Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. Other editing programs can work just as well, such as Photoshop Elements or another favorite of mine, Corel Paintshop Pro. Use what you have and know; just understand the steps here to use the Adobe programs ' s. I will also sometimes use plug-in filters, such as those in the Nik suite, Topaz Labs or Aurora.

Basic editing of a firework photo with Lightroom

This is my workflow with an image in Lightroom. Much of the work is simply moving up and down each adjustment slider to see what you like. Play is encouraged.

  • White balance – You shot Raw, right? Good, because if so, you can do the white balance anywhere you want. Play with the Temperature and Tint sliders and get the colors that you like. Because fireworks do not expect a "correct" color from the viewer, you can adjust the white balance virtually the way you want. Although, if you have included foreground objects, you want to use them as a reference to determine what is realistic.
  • Basic controls – Play with the Exposure, Contrastand other sliders to adjust the image as desired. If your highlights are a bit clear (but still not blown out), you can retrieve them with the highlights slider. Maybe you also want the Blacks when the sky has to get dark
  • Adjust colors with the HSL / Color sliders. You can play with the Tint, Saturation, and Luminance sliders to adjust colors as desired. Don't forget to try it Targeted Adjustment Tool to select and adjust specific colors in your image.
  • 3 - How to edit Fireworks photos
  • Dehaze – The Dehaze tool can be your friend and helps reduce smoke in the recording if it becomes a problem.
  • Clarity and texture – These controls can give your fireworks images extra sharpness and make them explode. Also try to move these controls to the left for different looks.
  • Liveliness and satiety – In standard photography, these two are usually used conservatively, in particular saturation, which is a bit of a sledgehammer. However, with fireworks photos ' s you often go for ' pow & # 39 ;, so go ahead and play … it's your shot. Oversaturation blows out details. View each histogram RGB channel. A histogram on the right means that you have oversaturated that color.
  • Detail – Some sharpening can be good. The two best tools in this group for fireworks are the masking Tools and Noise reduction / Luminance. Sharpen your image as desired. Then keep the button pressed Alt key, (Option on Mac) and drag the Masking slider to the right. What appears white will be sharpened, what is black will not. The idea of ​​having the fireworks sharpened, but not the dark sky. Regarding noise reduction: if you have photographed with a low ISO, you probably don't need much. Use as little as needed here.
  • Consider saving settings as a preset. If you've used the sliders to get your image right, you might want to apply the same settings to some of your other fireworks photos. By saving the settings as a preset, you can apply the same look with a single click.

Other tools

I mentioned the use of plug-ins as options in your edit. The sky is really the limit here. Here are a few that I have and sometimes find useful with fireworks photos:

Nik – Color Efex Pro, Viveza

Topaz Labs – Adjust, Denoise, (probably others too, I just don't have them).

Aurora HDR – You can work with one image here without having to take multiple shots, as with traditional HDR work, and you can get some interesting looks.

Composing for drama

Sometimes the best fireworks photo is a composite of multiple photos. You can layer multiple images and create your own grand finale. You can also place fireworks in places where they were not, but you think that should be.

Confessional time.

The image of the Boise (Idaho) Depot that I used in the previous article (and was repeated above) is a composite.

They have fireworks shows about this iconic landmark in our city; I've never been there for a show. I do, however, have nice nocturnal images of the depot and also fireworks from a different time and place. With compositing I created the image that I wish I could have captured live, but I wasn't for that. What can I say, creative license, anyway?

So you have a great fireworks photo. You have a great night scene of a landmark or scene where you would like to make a fireworks show. This is how you ensure that they come together.

Time for layers

If you only edit with Lightroom, this is the end of the road for you. Lightroom does not layer and they are a must for this technique. Photoshop does layers, just like Photoshop Elements, Corel Paintshop Pro and probably a few other editing programs ' s. Layer options are a must for compositing. So your editing tool must have them.

Compiling images is a fairly advanced technique in some cases. Because the background of your fireworks photo is probably black or very dark, it becomes much easier. Learning compositing with fireworks images can be a great way to start learning about layers, masks, and compositing in general.

Step-by-step compositing

  1. Open your fireworks image in Photoshop (or your editing program of your choice). You can first open Photoshop and then open or send the image from Lightroom – (Edit / edit photos in Adobe Photoshop)

    How to send an image from Lightroom to Photoshop for editing. You can also send multiple images as layers in Photoshop, useful when doing the "Grand Finale" composites described later in this article.

  2. Open your other locomotive photo, also in Photoshop. You have the fireworks photo and the scene photo each on different tabs at this point. Just a note when selecting the scene photo: select a photo with a logical image, an angle and an exposure that it seems consistent with fireworks in the photo. It is clear that an image during the day or an image without much air just looks strange.
  3. Go to the image of the fireworks. Crop It only contains the fireworks section that you want if you didn't do this in Lightroom first. Then Select everything (Ctrl-A, Cmd-A on a Mac) To copy (Ctrl / Cmd-C)
  4. Go to the other tab with the scene and press Ctrl / Cmd-V in front of Pasta. The fireworks image is placed as a layer on top of the scene image.
  5. Select the fireworks layer with the Screen mixing mode. The dark parts of the sky become transparent and the fireworks are placed over the underlying scene.

    Use the screen blending mode and the black in the fireworks photo becomes transparent with the underlying image.

  6. You have to place the fireworks and enlarge them on the Scene recording. Use Free transformation therefore. With the firework layer still selected, Ctrl / Cmd-T. Then hold down the Shift key and drag from a corner handle to adjust the size while maintaining the aspect ratio of the fireworks image. Click, hold, and drag in the center of the photo to move the fireworks above as desired. Don't worry about some of the fireworks that may appear before things. You will handle that in the next step.

    The fireworks moved and dimensioned to place them where desired. Note: if you leave a little overlap, add depth and the composite will look more realistic. You will clean up in the next step.

  7. To complete areas where the fireworks could overlap an area, they should be behind (note the fireworks that the tower overlaps in my shot and the roof below), you make a Layer mask. Click the icon that looks like a rectangle with the dark circle in the middle. A mask is added to your firework layer.
  8. With Black selected as your foreground color and the selected mask, use the brush over Paint areas where the fireworks overlap the foreground. You want the fireworks to look like behind all foreground objects.
  9. It is possible that areas in the firework layer are not black enough that the screen function in the screen eliminated them. This might work for you: open the layer with the firework layer (not the mask, the layer itself) Camera Raw filter (Ctrl-Shift-A). Only the firework layer is displayed in Camera Raw. Take the Blacks move down (left) to see if you can darken the problem areas. Also try the Shadows and Exposure sliders, but watch how the fireworks are affected. When you click OK, you will return to the Photoshop main window. See if the problem has disappeared. If this is not the case, use the brush on the mask as you did in step 8 to clean up remaining areas.
How to edit Fireworks photos

This grand finale was recorded in a six-second recording and is not a composition.

The Grand final

The most exciting thing about a fireworks show is when they quickly shoot a firework. It can also be one of the more difficult parts of the show to photograph. Sometimes the intensity of so many fireworks in the air can result in a blown up, overexposed mess with the settings that are not currently being used for most of the show.

What to do? What about making your own final with the composition technique that we have just examined, but this time there were different fireworks images to build your final shot.

How to edit Fireworks photos

When things really went crazy during the grand finale, the same 6 seconds were too much and the image was blown out. Look at the histogram. There are no restorative highlights if they are pushed from the right side of the histogram. Far too overexposed!

Use the same steps as for the composite image we just discussed. Stack different layers of fireworks on top of each other on your own Photoshop layer. Then switch the screen blending mode on all layers, but on the bottom. Use the technique as before, mixing and masking if necessary.

This is how that could look like.

Place and clean each layer with a mask as before, where necessary. Voila! Your own grand finale.

How to edit Fireworks photos

Fun even when the smoke disappears

For most spectators, the pleasure of a fireworks show is over when the last tree is heard and the smoke disappears. However, as a photographer with editing skills, you can continue to create all kinds of exciting images with the fireworks shots you have taken. If you use the editing and composition techniques here, you can not only produce great fireworks images, but also increase your editing skills in general.

Now, go have a "blast".

Feel free to share your fireworks photos with us in the comments below.

How to creatively edit your Fireworks photos

The message How to edit Fireworks photos ' s first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Rick Ohnsman.

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