Tutorial: Light Through Trees

During Joelle and Luke’s engagement shoot, I had the happy couple pose under a low-hanging branch that I thought would create an interesting composition.  I was right – the resulting composition was nice.  The light, however, left something to be desired.  We had started our photo shoot a little late and by the time we made it to the tree, the soft morning light had become harsh and unforgiving.  The stark silhouette of the tree drew my eye away from Luke and Joelle.  I needed a subtle tweak that would gently soften those lines.  Lucky for me, there are all sorts of free photoshop tutorials on the internets just waiting to be found by a well-crafted google search.  In this particular case, my solution was here.  The author gives a simple step by step method of creating rays of light shining through tree branches.  The tutorial uses Photoshop’s “Radial Blur,” which gives the light rays the look of bicycle spokes shining outward.  For my purposes, I chose “Box Blur” instead, which gave the illusion that the sunlight was softly enveloping my tree branch.  As a final touch, I added some slight vignetting using the Photoshop gradient tool.  The result: soft morning light in the middle of the day.

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AFTER:

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