So many people mentioned the coloring on the Vintage Bouquet Wordless Wednesday post, that I thought I’d post a quick Photoshop tutorial so you can do it, too! I don’t have Photoshop Elements, but I hope this will work there, too. Please let me know if it does.

First is the original photo:

Even though I kind of like the red chair showing through on the deck, I cropped it from the picture. Next, I pressed the letter D to set the foreground color to black, and then used the Create New Adjustment Layer at the bottom of the layers panel and chose Gradient Map.

When the gradient map dialog box appears, click on the gradient itself to bring up the Gradient Editor dialog box.

Click below the center of the gradient to add a color stop (which will really darken your photo).

Double-click the color stop to see a color picker. Choose a gray color right up against the left side; move around until you find a spot that looks good and then click OK.

You’ll still have the gradient editor dialog open, so move that slider around until you get just the tone you want. It’s really weird because the photo actually gets darker when you move toward the light end and lighter when you move toward the dark end, but you have to release the mouse to get a preview.

Click okay on every dialog box when you’re finished.

Next we’ll let some of that lovely blue hydrangea color peek through again. Select the Gradient Map adjustment layer, and move the opacity slider down to 80%.

See the blue?

Next we’ll darken the outer edges of the photo (known as vignetting). We’ll start by creating a curves adjustment layer. Click Create New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the layers panel and chose Curves.

Make a dot somewhere in the middle of the diagonal line by Command-clicking it on a Mac or Ctrl-clicking it on a PC, and then grab that dot and slide it down some to darken the image.

While the Curves layer is still selected, click the little camera-looking icon at the bottom of the layers panel to add a vector mask.

Now select a fat, soft-edged round brush (mine was 1100px wide!) and begin to “paint” the layer mask on the middle portion of your picture, leaving the outer edges alone. Painting with black hides the layer, which in this case removes the darkening effect of our curves layer from the middle of the picture. If you look at th next image, you can see both the fat brush and how the vector mask shows up as a dark blob in the middle of the vector mask box on the curves layer in our layers panel.

Just flatten your image (Layer>Flatten Image) and then save it as a finished JPG (I always work with a copy of my original image and then save in a separate folder of “edited” photos).

Unfortunately I didn’t save the PSD file (ouch!) when I originally edited the image for the Wordless Wednesday post, so this end result isn’t exactly the same as that one. Here you can see the difference from the original.

Please let me know if this tutorial was a benefit to you and if you would be interested in more in the future. It’s the first one I’ve posted.

To give credit where credit is due, I learned the above techniques from The Adobe Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby, and the Kelby Training Photoshop seminar I attended in Nashville last month.

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