After Before Forum; Winter Leaf

Ab Forum week 37 before Benjamin Rowe


The After and Before forum is organised by Stacy Fischer, it is a place where amateurs as well as seasoned photographers explain the wow and how about their photo and editing decision.You can read more here about how to take part.

The last two weeks in the “After and Before Forum” I have been working hard in Photoshop. This week I wanted to relax a bit and worked on an image in Lightroom.
I took the picture in a park while trying to find more winter macro images. I really liked the texture on the leaf and knew that it would lend itself really well to black and white.


In Lightroom the first thing I did was tweak the exposure. I had taken a few pictures of this leaf and had to choose which would be the “chosen one”. I then converted the image to Black and White using one of my presets and tweaked the sliders to get the general tone I wanted.


I increased the global exposure to brighten the whole image but reduced the highlights as they were too strong. I increased the shadows to soften them a bit and I also increased the contrast and midtone contrast with clarity.


I wanted to burn the edges of the picture in to frame the picture. To do this I created a square vignette in the effects panel.


I moved onto local adjustments as I wanted the leaf to really stand out. I brightened the shadows of the leaf which reduced the contrast here slightly and then added some contrast and clarity. This began to pull the leaf from the background. I then added a slight blue hue to colourize the leaf.


With the leaf now blue, I needed to balance this tone with the rest of the picture. Using split toning I added a warm tone to the shadows. As the shadows are now warm and the leaf is much cooler brings a nice harmony to the image.


I went back to my selective adjustment and tweaked the blue to make it less intense to make it balance more with the warm tone from the split toning.

Winter Leaf Black and White



This is a different way to use colour in a black and white image and I think with the softness of the hues it really does work well.

I would be really interested to know what you think, you can let me know in the comment box below.

Also please head over to Stacy’s blog to see the other participant’s entries into this weeks forum

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26 thoughts on “After Before Forum; Winter Leaf

    • After the conversion to black and white most of the other changes arw aubtke but it is those subtle changes built up that work. When editing you don’t always need to make bold adjustments to create a strong image.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  1. Incredible editing, Ben! Increased the global exposure and reduced the highlights is new to me, which made a difference. Thank you for the instruction lesson. 🙂

    • My pleasure Amy, THe exposure although is global is a kin to moving the midtones, so got the midtones in the right place and then countered the global brightening especially in the highlights by reducing them. Really the highlights should not have have changed too much from the original. I am glad you like the editing process.

      • You are a master, Ben! I don’t know when I will be able to apply all I have read here, but I have learn to appreciate and understand the effort behind the scene.

  2. Excellent Ben. The critical thing for me is to get the original DoF right doing this sort of shot. Too often I use the DoF preview, think I have it nailed and still notice a bit OOF when I see the frame.

  3. Wow, Ben. In my b & w images I’ve only used light and shadow to highlight sections. I have a shot of the Statue Of Liberty (the facsimile in Las Vegas) that I processed in b & w that will lend itself very well to adding subtle color highlights. I’m off to try that out! Thank you. I love this idea! 🙂 🙂

  4. Ben, adding the subtle blue to the leaf is an inspired choice. Like others here, I have never thought to use this tool in my black and white photos and must try this out. Thanks for another great lesson!

  5. It is always interesting to see how you use split-toning, since that is a new concept to me. There is so much texture to that leaf, it is awesome. Great edit. 🙂

    • I will agree that the browns are nice in the original picture. Although that is the main colour palette I had to work with for the last few weeks. Sometimes you crave for something different.
      I am glad you like the picture I have had an idea for your one photo picture and hopefully I can pull it off.

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