I had a few minutes today to run through this cool idea to turn previous season shots into a snowy place of glory! It came to me after a friend asked to buy some background plates from me for a snowy shoot that I did recently.
To save money I now have a suggestion that you guys can try!
It’s quick, dirty, and will take a few tries to get it right. But I think once stacked you can make a pretty convincing difference from a snow-less scene etc!
I’ve added curves here to start us off with a “cooler” temperature, I suggest you guys work with less warm files if you can! You should have the raw unlike myself, so you could easily use White-balance to make it so.
Firstly take your photo and add a levels adjustment layer, bump the levels inwards (move black arrow to the right and white arrow to the left) to heavily increase the contrast.
Now go to your “channels” panel and ALT+Click on the RGB thumbnail to make a selection of the highlights. The reason we have used a levels adjustment layer before is to help the selection here as it makes a greater difference between the highlights and shadows.
After the selection you may have to hold SHIFT+ALT and left click the thumbnail again to expand the selection (up to you what looks right etc).
Now go ahead and go back to your layers tab and make a new layer. Fill this layer with white, (you can use edit>fill or if you have white as the default colour already. You can simply press ALT+Backspace to fill the layer with the current colour).
It should now look like this:
We need to control where it goes right? So go ahead and do two things. Delete the levels adjustment layer we made earlier. Then add a layer mask to the new layer we filled with white (the symbol at the bottom of the layers panel with a rectangle and circle in it).
Now simply paint black over where you want the snow to disappear and white where you want it to remain.
Now let’s match up the BG more.
Create two more adjustment layers, one Hue/Saturation and one Curves. Set the curves layer mode to “colour” instead of “normal” which it will be on by default. You can change this in the layers panel at the top.
Drop the saturation and remove red / green a little from the curves channel. You may also have to push the blue upwards to make the colours match your foreground.
Like before use a layer mask to “choose” where you want the effect to apply. I roughly painted it over the Background so the layer mask looked white on the BG and black on the foreground.
Now if you want to get really fancy you can pop over to RAW.exchange and pick up some snow packs for that extra punch!
There you have it!