Puzzle Wedding Image – Tutorial Tuesday

In this Tutorial Tuesday I am going to show you how to turn a “normal” wedding image into something unique, artistic and fun.  I learned this technique at a Photoshop class years ago, and I think it is pretty cool on the right image.

The Wedding Image

First we have our normal, straight out of the camera image from Candice and David’s Malibu Beach Wedding:

The normal image

Photoshop and Lightroom Adjustments

Not too bad straight out of the camera, but we can do better.  Let’s make some adjustments in Lightroom to correct white balance and assign a camera profile.  Then in Photoshop we adjust contrast (curves layer), we make the sky darker (duplicate layer on multiply or overlay blend mode… reduce opacity and mask as needed), add some texture to the sky and burn the edges (Nik Silver Efex 2 to add structure and burn edges… blending mode of the new layer to luminosity), and add a texture (OnOne Phototools Dirty Money… blending mode of the new layer to luminosity).  Tune into a future tutorial on how to use blending modes to create nifty (yes, I said nifty) effects.

Here is our intermediate image:

The Final “Artistic” Wedding Image

Now we can get to the real work.

1.  Flatten your image and add a new layer above.

2.  With the new layer selected, grab the Marquee tool (M) and make sure it is in the shape of a rectangle.  Make a square or rectangle shaped selection.  Change your foreground color to a light gray (30% from the swatches panel) and fill your new selection (Option-Delete or Alt-Backspace on PC).  Deselect (Cmnd or Ctrl D) and repeat a few more times in different areas of the photo.

3.  Add another new layer.  Repeat Step 2 with a darker shade of gray (50%).  Try to vary the size and shape of your selections.  In other words, don’t use all horizontal or vertical rectangles.  Mix it up.  Have some tall skinny ones, have some squares, etc., and make sure to overlap some of the selections slightly.

4.  Repeat Steps 2 and 3 with darker shades of gray until you have 12-15 boxes covering the entire section of the image you want to keep and using gray tones between 20% and 80% from the swatches panel.

5.  Select all of your newly created box layers and change the blend mode to Overlay.  Pretty cool huh?  Not done yet though!

6.  Now lets load the box shapes into our combined selection.  To do this, press Command (Control on PC) and select the top layer thumbnail.  You should now see the “marching ants” around each of those boxes.  Now hit Shift-Command (Shift-Control on PC) and click on each of the other “box” layers thumbnails until all of the box shapes are one combined selection.

7.  Select the background layer and with the selection active, duplicate the layer (Command or Control J).  Viola!  You now have your image in the just the combined box shapes on its own layer.

8.  Select the background layer again and add a new layer above.  Fill the new layer with all white.

9.  Select the top “box” layer and add a layer style (press the (fx) button).  Select Drop shadow and adjust to your liking.  Copy this style to the other layers by holding Option (Alt on PC) and dragging to each of the other “box” layers.

10.  Select the “white” fill layer and add a simple radial gradient (G).  I adjusted the opacity down to about 80% to let a smidge of the background layer through.

Here is the finished product, with a simple text overlay:

Artistic Wedding Photograph

I presented both the intermediate and final images to Candice and David and they were both a huge homerun.  This technique isn’t for everyone or every image, but it is a nice way to add something new.  Hope this helps and until next time, keep shooting.

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