I think all photographers should keep current on software and post-processing methods. In the “old days” of digital photography we had to create everything in Photoshop. We learned all kids of tricks and methods to produce frames, grunge looks, cross processing, etc. Now, all we need to do is spend a few bucks on a software plug-in and viola! New photo!
My favorite plug-ins by far are Nik Software’s suite of products. One of the products that I deem indespensible is Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0. I could write an entire novel of tutorials on how to use all the different settings, but in the interest of time (and my sanity), I’ll just show the results from a simple setting called Bleach Bypass.
The photo directly above shows what the image looked like directly out of my Nikon D7000 camera. I opened it in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) and brought it into Photoshop CS5. The photo is “ok” but really needs some additional punch. So, I activated Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 from the Filter menu in CS5 (shown below).
The next step (below) is to choose Bleach Bypass from the left hand column of choices. Then, play with the sliders until you are happy with the result. In this case, the metal background was blowing out a bit, so I moved the highlight protection slider up to bring back some detail.
After you are finished modifying the image, click the OK button to return to Photoshop. At that point, you can save the photo as a new image and prepare it for output.
Since I was already having fun with Bleach Bypass, I decided to try it on another photo of a bike rack (below). This time a bit more intense with the contrast and overall effect.