Welcome to a new week, and as almost every week, let’s start with a new process post. For today I chosen a fireworks shot, so this will be a editing of a single exposure. So let’s take a look at it.

As with most of my fireworks photos, I like to push them into a single color, where the overall color of the photo aligns with the most dominant fireworks color. For this shot it was quite easy to choose, as it was already quite red. So my goal here was to make it even more red. Other than that, I wanted to recover detail from the tree ans the sky, and add more contrast to the fireworks. Lastly, I wanted to recover some of the highlight on the parliament.

Dark skiesFinished photo
Dark skiesOriginal photo

I started in Lightroom. There I cropped away part of the photo, removed lens distortion and chromatic aberrations. Then I exported one version of the photo, recovered the highlight and exported a second copy of the photo.

Dark skiesLightroom tweaks
Dark skiesPhotoengine edit

The first copy I loaded into Oloneo Photoengine, and changed the strength and contrast. Like this I got an evenly exposed photo, which was just very colorful. But my plan was not to use the whole photo anyway, as I wanted to mask in parts of the original exposure. So I loaded the Photoengine result with both of my exported exposures into layers in Photoshop, and I continued form there (layers numbered from bottom up):

1. Oloneo Photoengine result
2. First export, from which I corrected the very colorful areas. I left only the trees and the fireworks untouched.
3. Second export, from which I corrected the parliament buildign
4. Color effex Pro contrast, with which I recovered more detail in the foreground
5. Color effex Tonal contrast to get more contrast in the fireworks
6. Copy of the 5th layers, just set to luminosity, to get even more contrast in few areas.
7. Noise reduction for the trees in the bottom left corner.
8+9. Toned down the highlights on the parliament by using curves and luminosity masks.
10. Brightened the white parts of the fireworks to make them more visible
11. Added a little overall contrast
12. I still was not happy with the amount of contrast in the explosion, so I added a little using Detail Extractor in Color Effex.

And that’s all I did with this image. To find out more on how I edit, check out the guides and before after categories on this blog, or check out my video tutorial series here:
Master exposure blending