Lady with Umbrella at the Flea Market, Paris France – after-before forum

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014
lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; after;  copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

if you have been ready the blog for a while you will know that we love to visit the different street markets. while we were in Paris the weather was a little drizzly and cold. Our lady with the umbrella was all set for the weather.

What started out as an exercise in street photography quick became an exercise in photo editing, and I thought it would be another good post for the after-before forum.  While there were many things about the original image that I like there was much I didn’t like, here is the original image.

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014
lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; before; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Mostly it was the cluttered distracting background that I wanted to minimize. The photo editing was all done in Photoshop, I am sure there are many ways to do the same thing, Photoshop is the software I am most familiar with.

My first step is to duplicate the background layer, working on a duplicate layers allows means I am saving the original as it was, if I don’t like what I have done I can delete the layer or simply go back and start again. Working on a duplicate of the background and using a combination of the healing brush and patch tool I eliminated the tree branches and buildings in the background as well as the tag on her umbrella.

Once I had cleaned up the “sky” or top portion of the picture I duplicated the cleaned up layer, and using the tilt-shift blur tool blur the background.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 10.28.27

once this is done I press okay and the blurred image is on a separate layer in Photoshop. Using a mask on the layer I can mask over the areas of the umbrella and lady’s jacket eliminating the blur layer and allowing the layer below to show through. For those of you who want to learn more about layers and masks check out YouTube or Adobe Help

Next I added a cloud layer over entire image, with the layer blend mode set to Darken at 64% opacity, this created some depth and texture through the image. I did mask off the lady on the umbrella and I wanted this part of the image to be bright and clear.  Next I created a black and white adjustment layer, to create a black and white image. Locking the layers together I brought the image into Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 and using the Darken/Lighten Centre adjustment layer, placing the center on the lady’s face to lighten the area under her umbrella and place a small vignette around the edge of the image. This draws attention to the lady’s face.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 11.29.48

Above you can see the Nik Software and adjustments that I made. I wasn’t happy with the “glow’ around the umbrella so once back in Photoshop I selected the sky area, duplicated it to a separate levels adjustment layer I brightened the sky finally getting to the final image you see above.

I have learned a lot doing this, writing it all done, keeping track of the steps, writing the blog post.  In most cases I have an idea of just what the final image will look like, and I sort of know how to achieve the outcome.  It is still a lot of experimenting with the software, a little like doing a Rumba with Photoshop. One step forward, back, circle around, step forward again, and after a few minutes we have something we like. I am sure there are other ways to achieve the same image, this was my process using the software I am familiar with.

If you like this post and you are interested in learning more about processing images hop on over to Stacy’s After-Before Forum where several photographers have submitted images and discuss their process. Much to learn, so little time!

If you have any suggestions let me know, I am always happy to learn.


20 thoughts on “Lady with Umbrella at the Flea Market, Paris France – after-before forum

  1. Very interesting process. I really like how you have brought the viewer’s attention to the central subject through these various steps. I wasn’t exactly sure what you meant by a “cloud layer,” however. I looked it up but the only hits I got were about reproducing clouds in the sky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robin, sorry that part might have been a bit confusing given that you can’t see any clouds! But you are right, the cloud photo I used was really soft with no definition, and with the blend mode that I used it really added more of a “density” to the spotty highlights in the flea market tents etc and a softness to the people in the background, it doesn’t really add anything to the sky. I guess I should have explained that a little better!


  2. Janice, what a fantastic “after” photo! Blurring out the background (along with all the other post-processing you did), truly brought the woman to light. And I love that you used the darken/lighten center in Color Efex – that’s one of my favorite filters to use. So much more subtle than the radial filter in Lightroom. Thanks for taking the time to put together your post. I know these are time intensive, but the rewards for all of us readers is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

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