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Moody Dark Edits

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Hi Damien,

I am hoping you can shed some light on how I could get my photos to look similar to this edit.

When I process in raw should I be keeping the images dark or exposing for the people?

I am into module 4 of the raw class so still lots to learn!

Thanks so much Damien


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Ive read through fully once the raw class. Do you go into detail on how to use the buttons along the top of the raw viewer? Does that come in the deluxe class? I was just thinking is there a way the targeted adjustment tool could be used to adjust different exposure settings for the people and backgrounds? Or is this all done in photoshop and those buttons ignored?


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Ok, here we go ...


  1. Duplicate the Background layer.  Immediately desaturate it by pressing Ctrl Shift U. Change its blend mode to Soft Light.  This is "Layer 1" in my screenshot.
  2. Duplicate Layer 1 to make "Layer 1 copy", and run Filter>Other>High Pass.  I used a radius of about 4 because I was working on the web sized version.  On the full size, you'd use somewhere between 8 and 12, I'd say.  This adds some "grunge" to the image.
  3. Add the first Levels layer.  On the RGB channel, use these values: 0/0.40/255 and 0/230.  This will make the whole image dark.  Mask it off the people and the ground to your taste.  You can see my mask in the screenshot.
  4. Finally, add another Levels layer and pull the black Output slider in to about 35 (or to your taste) for the matte effect.
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