Editing Friday; What happened to Hyacinth?

So my Hyacinth is not doing so well after one week. For some reason the stem would not stay straight and then it met my cat. Kryton loves plants, so he was very interested in meeting Hyacinth.

Since it is Friday I thought I would take you though my editing workflow.

Untitled1This was my starting point. I shot the plant with my daylight set up. The main light source was coming from a 45 degree angle on the left. A reflector was placed on the right side at about 20 degrees . The reflector was set up to highlight the details of the flowers and balance the light.
There are a few defects on the plant and the plant pot that need to be fixed. Areas in the background also need to be darkened while leaves of the plant need to be lightened.

Untitled2I cropped and straightened the the image. I used a 5×4 crop ratio and straightened the image using the plant pot as a reference.Untitled4

First I made my basic adjustments.  I started with colour balance, I set the colour balance to auto and then made adjustments by eye. I wanted the image a little bit warmer than auto with a more greenish tone than suggested.
The exposure generally wasn’t too bad but I did make adjustments to the white point. I then used highlights to preserve some details and I also raised shadows as well to bring out some extra details in the low midtones.
I made minimal adjustments to contrast but made a small adjustment to clarity (the midtone contrast)
I finally raised the vibrance and slightly raised the saturation.


The image had some noise and so I reduced using the noise adjustment panel, I also added a smaller amount of capture sharpening.

Untitled6I changed the colour profile of the image.
Images in Camera Raw by default uses the Adobe colour profile but you can change it. There are many options, I chose camera neutral. This setting has slightly more pastel tones that worked well with the adjustments already made.
In practise I should choose my profile before I start my workflow as some changes already made maybe reversed now.


I adjusted the hue of the green for it to be less yellow and more green.


I finally made a curves adjustment. I lowered the midtones slightly and raised the highlights very carefully.

There is still some cleaning to be done but I will do this in Photoshop.


In Photoshop I added a new layer above my smart object and used a mixture of the clone, heal and patch tool.


I sharpened the image and reduced the noise more.



I finally added a new layer filled with 50% grey and set the blending to overlay. I used a soft brush and painted white and black onto the image to create areas of light and dark in the image. I wanted to lighten the leaves and darken areas of the stem as well as the right side of the background.

Final Image


I like the final image. Although I don’t know why the stem bent, I think it adds a personality to the image. It looks as if the leaves are fingers of a hand trying to lift the flower head which has fallen down.

I like the way the purple of the plant pot and the flowers have a similar tone. The background is dark but not to black so the leaves are not swamped by the background.

Let me know what you think. I have some more shots of Hyacinth that I will share in the coming posts.

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11 thoughts on “Editing Friday; What happened to Hyacinth?

  1. My first reaction – OH NO! So sad – too much water? I am not good with plants… but the photo is marvellous and I do agree with all your adjustments – love the way the leaf hits the top of the frame: for a still-life it has a lot of movement!

  2. gorgeous photo…love the rich colours against the black…all the editing you’ve done sounds very technical, way above me right now, but the results are amazing! the fact the flower fell over makes the shot uniquely interesting…you could use a tiny dowel and a twist tie or string, as a stake to hold it up right if you want a different look?

    • I tried to tie it using a stick thing (i am not green fingered in anyway). Every time i had the flower upright something would happen and when i got back from work it would be bent again. Well i will have to buy another plant and photograph it as well.

  3. Some very interesting ideas and techniques, fully justified by the end result. My only thought is whether there is a way to achieve this with fewer steps? I’m always looking for short cuts and was bowled over when I discovered Tony Kuypers actions for PS (as an example). Your passion for what you do must be incredible to keep up such a high level in your posts. I am finding it very tiring!

    • In Camera Raw you can create presets that can speed up your workflow. I have presets for noise reduction as i have all my cameras and iso matched to an average amount of noise reduction. If a series of images were taken at the same time with same settings you can batch edit images by copying development settings.

      In Photoshop i could create an action for black and white conversion. For things like cleaning this needs to be manual.

      The my workflow is about 20mins for An image with no serious problems. If an image needs alot of work it can take much longer.

      Maybe i should make some actions. If i do i will share them on here.

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