One Photo Focus ; Michelle Lunato

michelle-lunato-one-photo-focus-octoberOne Photo Focus is organised by Stacy Fischer, it is a place where amateurs as well as seasoned photographers edit a single image submitted to the After Before Forum.
You can read more here about how to take part.

This month’s One Photo Focus was submitted by Michelle Lunato. The picture was taken, I understand, at Put-in-Bay in Ohio. The picture is pretty good and once I saw the image in camera raw could see a lot of possibilities. While looking at the picture however, it did  give me a post card vibe. The picture looked like it could have been on a postcard and I decided to play around with this idea.


I first made some basic adjustments in camera raw before importing the image to Photoshop.
I knew I wanted some text on the image, if I was going to transform it into a postcard. I thought for a bit about different text ideas and then I went for 3d text, large and across the image with smaller 2d text underneath.
I first wrote Hello using the type tool and then right clicked on the layer and chose; New 3d Extrusion from Selected Area. I am not really proficient with all the 3d settings as they seem to change with each version of Photoshop (more polishing up I need to do). I just played with the settings until something worked.


I went on the web to find other creative commons licensed pictures of Put-in-bay and sourced quite a few. I imported them into the image as layers. Using the magic wand tool I selected each letter from the text separately and used the selection to create a layer mask on each picture. Leaving me with letters filled with pictures of Put-in-bay. I also played around with the contrast to make it pop a little.


I added two more text layers and applied blending options to the layers; Stroke to outline the text and Bevel Emboss to give the text a bit of depth.


Now I started working on the colour of the image. I added a levels adjustment to add more contrast to the image. I then adjusted the colours with colour balance and, hue and saturation to add more warmth to the image. I emphasised the warmth some more using a yellow to purple gradient on a new layer.  This gave the image a slight faux sunset/sunrise feel.


With the text layers grouped together I added some adjustment layers and applied clipping masks to the text layers. I used curves and, hue and saturation again to adjust the colour tone. I wanted something slightly colder with a touch of warmth to contrast nicely with the main image.


I added a vignette using a solid black layer, I then selected the canvas with the marque tool (feather set to 100). I inverted the selection and added it as a layer mask. I set the blending to multiply and then duplicated the layer and set this layers blending to overlay.


I created a boarder on a new layer by once again selecting the whole canvas, this time with the feather set to 0. With the selection active I chose edit and stroke, to stroke the image.


I wanted to add some age to the postcard; I added a crumpled paper texture with the blending set to multiply.


This was really the end of the postcard image but I wanted something more as it felt plain and boring.
I created a stamp visible layer and duplicated it to a new image. The new background image was off some wooden door or table. I rotated the post card slightly to give it a feeling of just being put down.


I used the levels once again to add more contrast to the background layer. I adjusted the colour of the wood using hue and saturation, more shifting the hue than adding colour. I also used a radial gradient on a new layer to create a spot light in the corner of the image.


To merge the postcard to the rest of the image I applied some blending options; I added a drop shadow to match the spotlight I added a moment ago, to make it seem the postcard was casting a shadow. I also added a gradient overlay in the blending options to have a slight transition also to match the spotlight.


I actually quite like the final design of the image. I was worried that it felt too warm and there was not enough separation between the postcard and the wooden element, but I think it works. I hope Michelle doesn’t mind me hiding most of her picture under all these elements, but without her picture I would never have been inspired to create this image.

I would love to hear what you think of my edit.

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

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12 thoughts on “One Photo Focus ; Michelle Lunato

  1. WOW Ben! This is super fun and quite the edit. I LOVE it. I went with a post card feel. Great minds think alike:) I so enjoyed that you found some images from the island to put into the letter. What a creative idea! And I think the photo on the wood is a perfect touch. Overall, I adore every element of your edit and want to say thank you. I feel kind of special that you worked on it too:)

  2. Wow, Ben, you really went to town on Michelle’s image! Your idea to incorporate pictures from Put-in-Bay into “Welcome” is inspired, and works beautifully with the postcard idea. I also quite like the idea of having the postcard on the “table” – and I think you handled the contrast just perfectly. All in all, another wonderfully creative Ben Rowe edit! Oh, to have your skills …

    • It was an interesting process, first creating the postcard idea and then developing it. This is definitely an image that took some forethought before being pieces together. I can’t wait for Helen ‘s picture.

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