How to Enhance Highlights using Photoshop

I have a specific way I like doing Motorcycle Photography, which looks a lot like the Portrait I did of Rick Fairless’ Epic Suzie Chopper, but I was recently challenged with getting out of my comfort zone.

Let me just say, I’m not uncomfortable being pushed out of my comfort zone, and welcome it any chance I get.

Being a Composite Photographer is all about challenges, being uncomfortable, and solving problems very quickly.

This brings me to today’s Photoshop Tutorial, where you will see how I Enhanced the Highlights on one of Rick Fairless’ latest creates called Ethel.

Now, your hair can wait, so put down your highlighting brushes and let’s crack open this Photoshop Tutorial.

What You Will Learn in this Tutorial

Unlike most Photoshop Tutorials you see on YouTube, where Photographers are showing you how to use specific tools, I want to show you how to create certain effects using a variety of tools.

In other words, I want you to see how I use various Photoshop tools to create the desired effect, so you can see all the possibilities.

So, with this Photoshop Tutorial you will be learning how to use “Blending Modes” and “Blend If” to Enhance Highlights.

I’ve seen a lot of tutorials on “how” to use Blend If, but today you’re going to see it in action as I use it to bring out the highlighted edges on Rick Fairless’ new Victory Octane.

How I Solved My Photography Problem

As I mentioned earlier, I have a specific way of Photographing motorcycles, where I will take several images lit and unlit, and Composite them together to create one Awesome Motorcycle Portrait.

Because of the time, it takes to not only Photograph the bike but also the Photoshop time I spend on it, I’ve always just produced one (1) epic image.

My challenge for this Motorcycle Photography project was, Rick needed six (6) glamour shots, and many other detailed shots of his bike to be featured in magazines and on Cyril Huze’s Post.

That meant I had to speed up my process, throw Compositing out the window, and figure out a new way to create epic pictures of motorcycles.

Here’s what I changed…

FIRST, instead of Photographing the Victory Octane inside where it’s dark and I can control light, I Photographed it outside in the natural light.

Yes, I still had control of the light direction, but natural light is a much flatter light than the artificial lighting I was used to using.

SECOND, because I had to use a plain background, and the bike had to sit so close to the background due to using the small shadow of the building for my natural light, I was really limited to using only one (1) Photo to work with.

Bye, Bye Compositing, Hello figuring out how to create depth and dimension using only one single image.

!!! Important Tip !!!

Your goal should always be to create as natural of an image as possible using the tools available in camera and in Photoshop.

There are NO MAGICAL settings when using Blend Modes and Blend If.

In fact, there may be and likely are, other ways to create a similar effect using Photoshop, so be creative and see what you can come up with.

That’s a Wrap

Using the Blend Mode and Blend If techniques on a monochromatic machine-like Rick Fairless’ Victory Octane worked splendidly.

However, for something with color, or for people’s faces, this technique may not work as well.

I make these videos to show you what has worked for me, and how I solve the problems I’m faced with in Photography and Photoshop.

Now, share what problems you’re having in Photography and Photoshop in the comments section below, and I may just have a video coming for you.

Comments (2)

Awesome site you have here but I was wanting to know if you
knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other
experienced individuals that share the same interest.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

I would check out Facebook for some photography groups. I belong to a few that are good for commenting. Thanks for commenting.

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