How Claire got this shot
For this striking beachscape, Claire uses the radial gradient to highlight the retreating sea and ridges left sculpted in the sand. She then turns to the brush tool to draw attention to the solitary walker.
1. Basic adjustments
In the edit menu, Claire selects the optics panel and enables lens correction to automatically adjust the distortion caused by her wide-angle lens. She also crops and rotates the image to achieve the focal point she has in mind.
2. Edit selectively with a radial gradient
Claire uses the Radial Gradient tool to brighten the sky and water, then increases the highlights on the sand ridges to make them stand out. (The ‘invert’ box is checked so that her changes will apply inside her radial gradient area.) She increases the saturation and adjusts the exposure. Then to make the image crisper, she increases the Dehaze slider to +5 and Clarity slider to +10.
Claire applies another radial gradient to increase the temperature and exposure. She increases the highlights to exaggerate the light bouncing off the water and sand. By increasing the feathering on the gradient, Claire makes the effect blend naturally in to the rest of the image.
About the radial gradient tool
The radial gradient tool allows you to add effects like highlight, clarity, brightening, darkening or vignette to just one specific part of your image. Select the tool then click and drag on the image to create an oval radial gradient area. By default, the settings for this tool apply to the area outside the oval – select ‘invert’ to reverse this. Then use the slider to alter the effects inside your radial gradient.
3. Achieving Claire’s trademark feel with the linear gradient
To add an otherworldly sense of isolation, Claire heads for the selective edits panel to add a linear gradient. Using the edges of the water and then the sand ridges as her guide, She lowers the exposure and knocks back the saturation slider to -15.
4. Brush Tool
Claire wants to draw attention to the walker in her image. Using the brush tool for precision, she selects the walker and then uses the eraser tool to tidy up the edges. Claire decreases the black slider to -16 and shadows to -17. This has the effect of brightening the walker’s white shirt to make it stand out, without affecting the light in other parts of the image.
About the brush tool
With the brush tool you can paint your adjustments in to specific parts of your image. Use the sliders in the panel to set the adjustments you’ll be adding. You can switch the brush for an eraser to remove the effect from certain areas, or click on the plus icon to create a new brush to add different effects.
5. General adjustments
Claire now uses the tint slider in the colour panel to bring out the blue to the image. Then she adjusts the saturation and temperature slider. (Claire sets the background colour to white to help her judge the impact of these changes.) Lastly Claire selects general light and adjusts the exposure to 0.19 to give the picture just the right intensity.
Claire Droppert is a photographer whose work celebrates serenity, simplicity and calm. She’s drawn to desolate spaces, waterscapes and open expanses of coastlines. Her focus on minimalist subjects combined with her unique editing style results in her signature dreamy, ethereal look.
Claire is interested in exploring the interaction between urban architecture and the natural world, finding peaceful moments even in the heart of a busy city. Her images have earned her almost 300,000 Instagram followers and her work has appeared in publications including Discovery magazine, The Huffington Post, Wired, ABCNews, This is Colossal, Visual News, Design You Trust and Fubiz.
See more of Claire’s Stories
Catching the last of the light
In pursuit of a riverside sunrise
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