After Before Forum; Stacy Fischer

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.

Today in the After Before Forum we are not just celebrating the 1 year of the anniversary of the forum but also editing the founder of the forum’s picture, in Stacy Fischer One Photo Focus.
The After Before Forum is a place where we can all share our editing prowess. It is also a place where we can learn from each other’s different approaches.

When I first got Stacy’s image I was a bit stumped at first about what I would do. I did however know I wanted to cover up the turned up earth in the lawn.

Stacy-Fischer-One-Photo-Focus-June-1 I started with some basic adjustments in camera raw. I mostly opened up the shadows and preserved the highlights. I also spent some time correcting the perspective as well.

Stacy-Fischer-One-Photo-Focus-June-2 I opened the image from Camera Raw as a smart object. I created a new layer above the original and using the lasso tool made a quick selection of the turned up earth on the left side of the lawn. I used the patch tool to replace this area. After I had patched it, I cloned around the edges to clean up the replacement grass.
On the right side I used the lasso tool again but this time to select what grass there was and pasted the grass onto anew layer. I then duplicated and moved the grass to cover the turned up area. I repeated this several times until the upturned earth was covered. There were a lot of repeating patterns and I cloned out many of them but it still looked fake. I selected and copied the whole area from the original image, pasting it on to a new layer. I clipped this layer to my nearly created grass. I desaturated the clipped layer, adjusted the white point with curves and set the blending to overlay. This replicates the lighting and shadows of the area and making it seem more natural.

Stacy-Fischer-One-Photo-Focus-June-3Looking at the image I started to see a film poster. The house could be the setting of the film and I started thinking about a romantic comedy or a romantic film. With this in mind I considered making the picture feel dreamier.

I started by adding a lens flare to the top right on a new layer filled with black. I also set the blending of this layer to screen so only the light tones would be visible. I then added a bokeh stock image that I desaturated and also set to screen.

Stacy-Fischer-One-Photo-Focus-June-4 I applied colour toning with four layers; two solid colour layers and two gradients. I used a pastel purple and set the blending to screen and reduced the opacity to 60%. I also used a pastel yellow with a blending of soft light and the opacity also set to 60%.
I then used a gradient layer going from the bottom to the top. I choose a brownish tone that fades out to nothing. With the brown gradient I set the blending to soft light and the opacity to 70%.
I added a white gradient going top down and fading to nothing, I also set the blending to soft light but this time with an opacity of 47%.


The more I thought about this being a film poster, I thought the film could be about writing letters, maybe a long distant relationship or maybe it is a magical house where letters travel though time. To try and incorporate the letter theme I added two textures. The first was an envelope and the second an actual letter. The envelope was placed at the top with a slight gradient on the mask to soften the bottom edge. The letter texture was place below the envelope. Both layers had a blending of multiply.


A film poster wouldn’t be a film poster without some information. I came up with the name Letters Home as it kind of sounded like a cliché. To link the film info to our forum, I added Stacy and Emilio as the main stars of the film. I used a template from Tip Squirrel for the film credits and included forum member’s names in the credits.
I used a blue green colour for the text as it complements the yellow and purple quite well.
To make the text curvy I used the arc option in the text menu with the rise arc. I used a handwriting font to keep the whole letter writing theme together.
I wanted some sort of texture for the text and I did this; first by creating a black layer and adding noise and setting the layer to overlay, clipping the layer to the text group. I then added a paper texture and clipped it as well to the text group, then set the blending to multiply.

I needed something to tie the letter writing theme of the film all together. I went looking for a stock image of someone writing. I found a picture of a woman writing which I extracted from the background. I then added it below the text and textures.


For me this was quite a fun image to create. While I was editing, I was looking at different film posters to give me inspiration on which direction to go in. I hope you like it as well.

Let me know your thoughts 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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31 thoughts on “After Before Forum; Stacy Fischer

  1. Wow, Ben! This is great, one of the all-time best renditions in ABFriday’s series, both in terms of creativity and exceution. Thanks for the detailed description, there is lots to learn in reading through the description.

  2. I love that!! And your tutorial on all the layers is super helpful. I am not really comfortable with layers, so this is all good info,

    • Hi Mary, Layers add quite a lot of creativity to an image. Also because you are not touching the original image you can go back and forth later to tweak things. I hope you will over come your fear of layers one day and embrace them.

  3. I love your edit. How could I not when you mention me as one of the stars? I’ll tell you, the love seen was fun. Stacy and I both kept laughing. A bit unnerving with everyone standing over us while we were naked. But having the crew all strip down helped tremendously. And the work you did on the poster is amazing. I loved the original source, even with it’s faults. But you have elevated the image- and our little film- into Academy Award status. Thank you for all your hard work. I will be sure to remember you in my acceptance speech!

    • Emilio, you really need to pace yourself with the alcohol, my friend. Haven’t you heard the saying “loose lips sink ships”? I thought we agreed to keep this a secret between us and the crew members…

      Ben, truly, your image made me smile and beam on so many levels. It’s such a wonderful tribute to ABF and 1PF and another incredible display of your creative and artistic talents! I can only imagine how long this took you, but I know when I get enmeshed in a project, time doesn’t matter – it’s the joy of the journey and the final outcome. Everything you’ve done here is simply fantastic. Thanks so very much for being part of ABF/1PF!

      • The scary thing is that I really don’t drink that much. A glass or two of wine a night at most and only AFTER 5 pm. I just keep telling myself how lucky I am to have found someone who is as nutty as me to share my life with. And I tell her every day- OK, except for yesterday when we got in a fight during one of our “spont” trips. But it was totally her fault! Anyway, I’m glad you’ve decided to cut back on ABF. It is definitely fun, but seemed to take a lot out of me each week. And that’s because I always waited until Thursday to put it together. Ben is very talented, as are all of the people who contribute each week and I learn a lot from every one- new things to try, things that don’t work. I love it. My only complaint is that everyone is so nice. I think they’re afraid to say anything negative. 🙂

      • I think Stacy that you would be surprised how long it actually did take. I think it clocked in at about 1hr which is surprising but most of the color grading was on impulse. I am glad that you like the ode to the forum. I hope Emilio behaved himself on set.

    • I would kind of agree that everyone is too nice sometimes, and to be honest I do worry sometimes when making comments and people taking them the wrong way esp when I am trying to give a critique. I sometimes worry it is part of blogging that people want comments but only nice comments creating an echo chamber. This is one of the reasons I like portfolio reviews because I get to meet people I don’t know and maybe wont meet again to crtique me and get some real honest feedback. Although if someone is overly harsh I do start to wonder why.

  4. This was such a neat idea! Thank you so much for including my name in the credits, it is quite an honor. I joined the group shortly after the One Photo Focus came into play, so I’m very humbled to be considered part of the core group. 😀 Great job on all the editing.

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