Photoshop & Nix Collection

Today Ive been playing around with a few filters in Photoshop and Nix Collection to try and create some more dramatic effects (which appear to be all the rage these days) than my usual commercial style. Example image is Jon Dredge from More Mountain riding a little ridge line in the Vallee de la Manche, Morzine.

Example 1 :  Is my standard color correction, brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness for my usual commercial print and web clients. Not blowing out the highlights or loosing to much shadow detail.

Example 1 : Is my standard color correction, brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness for my usual commercial print and web clients. Not blowing out the highlights or loosing to much shadow detail.

Example 2 :  Is based on an Instagram effect Ludwig, lowering the blue tones and desaturating the image to neutralize the sky and background while separating the saturation in the rider. Some very light dodging and burning to add a little additional depth to the shadows and highlights without blowing out the highlights. A nice effect while still being a commercially sell-able image.

Example 2 : Is based on an Instagram effect Ludwig, lowering the blue tones and desaturating the image to neutralize the sky and background while separating the saturation in the rider. Some very light dodging and burning to add a little additional depth to the shadows and highlights without blowing out the highlights. A nice effect while still being a commercially sell-able image.

Example 3 :  Is a tweaked Nix Collection effect, using Tonal Contrast setting in a similar way as the previous image to desaturate the background, Detail Extraction to bring out the details and contrast, Reflector Efex to exaggerate the light intensity, some simple Levels and Curves to add even more details and contrast and a subtle Vignette to draw the focus to the rider and center of the image.

Example 3 : Is a tweaked Nix Collection effect, using Tonal Contrast setting in a similar way as the previous image to desaturate the background, Detail Extraction to bring out the details and contrast, Reflector Efex to exaggerate the light intensity, some simple Levels and Curves to add even more details and contrast and a subtle Vignette to draw the focus to the rider and center of the image.

Example 4 :  Now for the Black & White. This is simply a straight B&W conversion from the original photo. Often if B&W's are to flat in contrast they loose detail between there components - foreground, background, main focus unlike in the color version where the red of the jacket for example separates the rider from the background. Because of this I generally prefer a slightly higher contrast image with B&W's to help separate these details.

Example 4 : Now for the Black & White. This is simply a straight B&W conversion from the original photo. Often if B&W's are to flat in contrast they loose detail between there components - foreground, background, main focus unlike in the color version where the red of the jacket for example separates the rider from the background. Because of this I generally prefer a slightly higher contrast image with B&W's to help separate these details.

Example 5 :  This is the standard style B&W setting I use for my clients and personal work. I prefer a slightly higher contrast image with B&W's and in the right circumstances will allow for a little of the highlights to get blown out and shadow to loose a little detail, so long as it looks purposeful and not just badly shot. For example you can see how the trees are beginning to darken to the point at which they loose detail and become a mass of black. But the pay off is a much more dynamic and punchy result.

Example 5 : This is the standard style B&W setting I use for my clients and personal work. I prefer a slightly higher contrast image with B&W's and in the right circumstances will allow for a little of the highlights to get blown out and shadow to loose a little detail, so long as it looks purposeful and not just badly shot. For example you can see how the trees are beginning to darken to the point at which they loose detail and become a mass of black. But the pay off is a much more dynamic and punchy result.

Example 6 :  Is a tweaked Nix Collection B&W effect using similar effects as the color Nix version, designed to highten the images brightness and contrast dramatically without loosing any shadow and highlight detail. As you can see here compared to example 5 the dark trees still hold there tonal definition and you keep more definition in the foreground snow whilst creating a dramatic sky.

Example 6 : Is a tweaked Nix Collection B&W effect using similar effects as the color Nix version, designed to highten the images brightness and contrast dramatically without loosing any shadow and highlight detail. As you can see here compared to example 5 the dark trees still hold there tonal definition and you keep more definition in the foreground snow whilst creating a dramatic sky.

Conclusion:
I'm not going to stop producing Example 1, my perfectly color corrected, saturated, professional images any time soon, its certainly my style and one that has done me well. I am a fan of Example 2, and like its subtle effect with still commercial potential. For me Example 3, is great for the quick and easy Instagram fix but I don't see myself implementing it any time soon as a regular fixture its to dark and gritty for so many uses but an interesting style none the less.
Example 4, was always just that an example to show its flatness in comparison to the others. I'm a big fan of Example 5, the tradition B&W technique and can see its use in so many commercial, personal purposes, it offers a strong finished result with contrast, depth and just enough detail. And Finally Example 6, I'm surprised how much I love this result. Again I think its limited to the Instgram world and maybe big wall prints and is most probably a modern style that will soon fall out of fashion as soon as the next imaging fad comes along but WOW it packs a punch so much detail, so much contrast, so much depth, all so sharp and without shooting HRD Impressive. Just a well exposed... well composed... image and a little post production magic.

Let me know your thoughts and which images you prefer.