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Tutorial Basics

Julia Mourão Missagia reprocessed by  k.g. Sambrano

Until the night


-darkened the exposure

-used clarity and texture settings in LR on the wall to accentuate texture

-Aurora HDR to open up

the shadows and to use their presets filter (unsure)

LR gradient applied from top left corner on a diagonal

-adjusted colour balance to blue and to find pleasing balance

-radial circle to produce the shadows

-In PS dodging and burned and also used layer masks to adjust texture of skin, and to highlight skin

spent a great deal of time on the model's back, as that, to me is the centre of the image, everything around the back is simply support

May 2021


Leaf and woman (1)


LR and usual workflow. Also turned to BW and adjusted using colour sliders. Focused on the eyes, you'll notice they are brighter. Focused almost exlusively on forehead and face.  Used clarity to smooth out skin removing any texture.



Leaf and woman (2)


Beginning with same image, exported to SilverEfex Pro to find a filter.  Then back to LR to sharpen and increase texture, clarity and sharpness.

Much dodging of the hair. When between PS and LR a least two or three times. Was going for the Karsh look and feel.


Woman Red 


LR gradient filter followed by sharpening, texture and clarity. Dodging and burning of features.  Focus on the eye to brighten.

Finished in PS.


Exercise Click here for video


Serge Ramelli lesson. In LR magenta slider. Export to PS and replace sky using screen method (sky doesn't need to be white).


Exercise Click here for video


Serge Ramelli lesson. Sky replacement and method of extending the sky. New personal method of layer mask (normal) and painting white across images to reduce the high contrast. Could also work using grey, I imagine.

chinatown before.jpg

Exercise Click here for video


Serge Ramelli lesson. Sky replacement using the sky in multiply mode. Import to PS, flip vertical, combine layers. Multiple fills in anything that is white. Anything that is white becomes transparent. Used HDR pre-set for brightness. Then use layer mask to brush out (black conceals, white reveals). Imported into LR, then back to PS.


Exercise Click here for video

00:54 Shoot Panorama in Landscape Mode
01:35 Use the perspective and Boundary Wrap Option
​02:00 Shoot raw for better colors with White Balance
​02:23 Sun = Highlights not too low
03:03 use a little minus clarity for landscapes
03:21 Magenta to kill the green
04:00 Add lights and colors with Radial Filter or Brush
05:34 Use Camera Calibration for even better colors  (Hud 31, Saturation 22, Tint Shadows 5 Radial filter large yellow and magenta )

No gradient filters on top or bottom. Only very slight use of gradient circles or brushes. In PS circle to capture sunset half of photo, layer mask and curves. In curves reduced blue and increased red to create orange. The used black to "conceal". Final layer curves.


Lessons learned

Always look at the cropping sometimes you must sacrifice elements in order to make stronger composition

Use either the gradient or the circle tool to change the  colours be patient to find the right colour

Don't be scared to import/export to photoshop, use the best program for the image knowing you can go back and forth.

Compostion, leading lines into the frame, brightest part of image in the distance to lead the line

Purple and yellow work well together

Dehaze can be  used to make the distance hazy

colour balance is everything

radial circle in the distance nice and bright


Lessons learned

Massive radial circle top of image, using yellow and magenta

Serge Ramelli filter sunset linear, my own vignette, dodging centre, breaking the gradient where possible.


Lessons learned

As a teenager I lived in the pool hall.  Smoke, music, and pinball games.  My friend and I would play, what we coined as, "hack and slash". That is the equivalent of the kitchen sink, no rules, no strategy, it either worked or it didn't.  When I think of the 4 hours it took to process this image, I can't help but think of the hours spent playing pinball. Below is the workflow. It is somewhat stilted as I started over at least three times.

Began in colour and tried playing with the sky, gradient filters,  etc. Nothing worked. Kept it colour to the last minute then exported as colour and changed to bw in PS. Started again importing in PS and making the sky white, and replaced the sky with a pre-shot sky with clouds. Then back to LR with usual workflow. Used the clarity to accentuate sky clouds. Spent a great deal of time breaking the grade on all the buildings starting in LR then to PS. I was relentless.  Used several methods, masks, then dodging and burning tools.  Towards the end I still wasn't happy the image was too contrasty. So I brushed the image with white paint brush. In the end also used circle in top centre of building. And used a few very large circles.  Gradient and vignetting added to the entire image in LR. Painted the trees with white paint brush. Then used layer masks for fore ground.  Dodged all the lights in the foreground.  To date probably the most sophisticated image. Not the best, but the most complex.  The images suffered from no centre point of focus, that is the reason why I placed the bright light at the very top and continued with the extravagant lighting.  Also, did some major cropping to make the image more panoramic.

New stuff

When too contrasting export to LR and bring up the blacks. If still too contrasty,, use layer mask and use contrast control, or simply use a white brush and paint over entire building.  This is a trick I used to use with the dodging tool, but the layer mask approach works best because you can change the luminosity of the layer.

Added note

Next morning brightened the image and cropped.  Lesson learned, always work on a images over at least a two day period.


Raw file by Serge Ramelli


Lessons learned

Latest tip, manipulate the radial circles.

I find that after image is complete I want to continue breaking the grade, putting in light and dark spots wherever I can.  I can either use two or three big circles or many smaller ones. 


When using the smaller ones if I bring up the shadows, it brings a subtle glow to the image, as well as adding clarity.


Raw file by Serge Ramelli


Lessons learned

I processed this most recent image based on the colour scheme of Peter Greenaway's 1989 masterpiece, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. I painted the scene with a red brush, using the soft light layer, then using ctr + U, selected red colour boost. Also painted the patio green using brush. Many, many radial circles. Tried to follow the path of the natural light then improvised. Used gradients top and bottom.

Using the dodge tool I went close-up and highlighted everything that I could go produce a silky look. Of course, I applied the radial filter to all the lights, and might have also painted the light shades and various other red objects. Excellent example of patience and use of light. No surfaces remain with flat light, every surface "grade" is broken with light and or dark.


Raw file by Serge Ramelli


Lessons learned

I prefer the black and white version due to the many different textures and the full range of shades from black to white. I kept it light by using LR to continually increase the shadows while trying to preserve details in the highlights. Final processing was sent to Silver Efex Pro, then back to LR, and finally in PS.


Used the brush in LR extensively especially on the curtains. Radial circle to darken the outside patio, different approach from the colour version. Brush used to bring up all the dark areas so always some detail in the shadow areas and soft glows around other areas such as the couch. In general brush is preferred to radial circle, and in PS. dodging and burning tool preferred to anything else.

Most of the dodging and burning completed using dodging and burning tools. The advantage is you have more leeway as you can control the micro exposures of shadow, mid-tone, and highlights. A control you don't have simply using a layer mask and a black or white brush. In LR I decreased clarity. The look I found was the old Ansel Adams interior look or the Hitchcock look.

by faustjoe.jpg

Lessons learned
Original image was very flat because it was evenly lit. One of the things I always try to do is to "break the grade" so that all surfaces are light and dark. In music, Vibrato is a slight fluctuation in pitch that's used to create warmth or richness of tone. That is the effect I always try to achieve, either or a macro or micro level. To the right is more a macro due to the subject matter. I always begin in colour then I process as black as white. The reason why is I'm able to differentiate colour more easily than I am tonal values. Also, from a business point of view, it's always advantageous if you can create two images out of one file. I played with the image for a good long time until frustrated, I imported into Aurora  HDR with its many pre-sets. I like Aurora HDR as it opens up the shadows. The big trick for my work is to have as great a dynamic range as possible. That is to say, the maintaining of detail in shadows and highlights.  (Ansel Adams the Zone system). It may create a flat look at first but once you begin to "break the grade" the flatness disappears while you maintain a dynamic range. I then imported into Color Efex Pro. An excellent program that I only recently began working with to explore colour. Color Efex pro had just been upgraded and so I took advantage of the additional pre-sets. In this case, I selected Bleach Bypass that resulted in a very different look from my regular work. But I realize as much as I may be known for a particular look, I do need to evolve. The image was finished with dodging and burning in both LR and PS. Corrected the horizon and the lopsided bridge steeple.

Raw file by Faust Joe

San Francisco I think

Lessons learned

After I complete the image as a colour file, the fun really begins. I imported into PS  as a colour image then used a black and white layer that produced a property slider where I could manipulate  6 colours.  This is where the image comes alive in black and white. After adjusting the sliders I did my usual  dodge and burn. I usually import  back to LR to bump up the shadows, but I did recall some early  Morley Baer images that I had shown an mentor of mine almost 40 years ago. I remember the large coffee table book opening in the foyer of now Ryerson University. In short, I went a bit higher in contrast than normal did because I felt the drama was  needed as influenced by the work of Morley Baer.   

Raw file by Faust Joe

August 2021


Lessons learned

Raw image courtesy of Hasselblad.


Lessons learned

I rarely work on people (perhaps the third photo in 3 years) but I saw this image in colour and believed it had a second life. I selected this image due to its sharpness, i.e. could almost see the pores, reminiscent of the old Hollywood portrait photographers of the '20s and '30s, as well as Karsh. My usual workflow except in LRI adjusted the texture and clarity. Texture first, then clarity. Then using the brush, I highlighted all the areas at times adding clarity/texture to the brush. Imported into PS. and converted to a BW there using layers. Most dodging and burning directly on the image no layer mask used. Cloned the highlighted cheeks, and using brush tool filled in the darkness below eyes, and removed darkness about the lip. Had darkened image to get that deep skintone Karsh look. Also, gradient tool at the bottom to create soft transition from centre of image to the border.

The image is downloaded from
I wish I knew the name of the model or the photographer.

August 23, 2021


Lessons learned

Raw image courtesy of Serge Ramelli.

Panorama Fuji GFX 100

LR to PS, and final soft filter in Colour Efex pro

Lots of circles of light from LR. Brush very soft.


Original raw file by #tscreationz processed by me. Have no idea where this is but I'd like to visit.

Photoshopped out all trees, shrubs, and apartment buildings

Sky replacement

gradient top and bottom

many radial circles throughout

gradients from each side

radial circles from centre going length of wall

cropped to 16:1 rule of thirds on top line of the pit

maybe should have placed sun at rule of thirds

Multiple filters from Colour efex pro, perhaps Ramelli  Day linear circle

Enjoying the very soft transition from light to dark (centre to the edges)

Also dodged the clouds


Sky replacement

texture on the building disagreeable  so couldn’t get nice smooth texture

sky replacement

many many radial filters and dodging and burning to break up the grade (thereby adding texture)

Used cloning tool to accentuate the clouds extending them out (select centre then clone outwards)

Color Efex pro for red colour and soft focus filter

Downloaded raw image from

Arc de-Trimphe

February 8, 2022

Two major techniques.  Radial circle at the outset then invert (opposite of my previous technique of darkening everything then highlighting with radical circle.) This technique lessons the glow or aberrations and loss of quality through processing.

Also, Serge used gradient filter halfway down, and used brush to remove the part that was darkened by gradient.  Downloaded video.

Also used a number of radial filters randomly in sky and across the structure about 3 or 4 large ones in order to break the grade in the photo. Used dodged and burned for actual structure, also used black and white layer masks and brush. Raw file by Serge Ramelli. Image and video is from Master Class video. Image is Video 2 Arc de Trimphe

Felipe Palacio

Glow Sidney Opera House

Very straight forward. The new technique is using the radial gradient circle in the centre of the frame, inverting the circle then lowering the exposure so everything else gets dark, which the most important part of the image remains untouched. Ran through Silverefex pro and Aurora HDR.  Mostly additional circles, then PS removal of people and lamp post to the right, and centred the light posts near bottom of image.

Thank you to #Felipepalacio for allowing me to work on his image. You can see more of his work at

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