Photoshop: From fall to winter in just a few steps

Several weeks ago I met up with Alysha with to do some spec shooting in Denver's City Park. The day before Denver experienced a "blizzard," dumping up to a couple inches in spots. (Note my sarcasm?) What was supposed to be a fall fitness shoot turned into something else entirely, although at times is was pretty cold. Alysha was awesome to work with and I can't wait to shoot with her again in the future!

Our photos ranged from crop-top running gear to fuzzy winter coats, all within a few minutes. Below is one of those photos with the winter coat, "straight out of camera," and versions of it as I worked some Photoshop magic to turn it into more of a winter photo.

  • Photo 1: Straight out of camera. Nikon D800; 70-200mm VRII at 122mm; ISO 50, 1/250, f7.1; Einstein strobe into a 60" Photek Softlighter ii camera right.
  • Photo 2: Frequency separation to retouch the face/skin and remove some stray hairs.
  • Photo 3: Slight darkening of the photo with brightening on the face and hood.
  • Photo 4: Remove yellow color from the coat zipper in the bottom left and the leaf next to her hand on the right. I also added some color saturation to the hair in the ponytail.
  • Photo 5: A little magic done to make the eyes pop, but the snow acted as a natural reflector giving most of the effect I usually add in my post process.
  • Photo 6: Starting to add the snow in layers, starting with "smaller" snow flakes further away in the background. I built a custom brush comprising of varying sizes of circles and played with the brush dynamics to alter the spacing, size, jitter and shape as I painted the flakes in.
  • Photo 7: Adding more layers of snow at middle distances.
  • Photo 8: Adding snow to appear closer to the camera. Each layer of snow was blurred using motion-blur, more and more as it got "closer" to the camera to mimic actual movement and falling snow.
  • Photo 9: Started to alter the colors by desaturating things a bit and shifting the hue of the whites towards blue. I also added some texture around the edges of the photo to add to the snow effect.
  • Photo 10: Shifted the hues of the blacks and shadows to a colder blue tint.
  • Final/Photo 11: Added a few layers of the photo in black and white, I used Silver Efex Pro from the Nik Collection. One was set to soft light to add a bit of contrast and another was used for additional desaturatioin and color toning.

It was a bit of an adventure in Photoshop as I had never done anything like that with one of my photos. Overall, I think the results are pretty realistic and I was able to repeat it with another photo.