One of the primary things that makes shooting and processing in RAW such a revolution is the possibility of making multiple “exposures” of the same frame and the same image and then combining in Photoshop to get an end result that could be created in no other way. In an earlier blog, I talked about the use of this technique for creating HDR images in instances where two or more separate exposures weren’t practical. Then, later, I posted a blog that talked about using Lightroom’s more sophisticated adjustments for correcting a particular problem, such as a blown-out sky or emphasizing the texture of a fabric by adjusting its colors individually with the HSL sliders.
In yet another blog, I talked about the convenience of being able to record or download a variety of Develop Module Presets and then being able to preview those presets simply by dragging the cursor down the names of the presets while watching the monitor. As Michael Clark so eloquently explained in his recent blog on getting the most out of the Lightroom Develop Module, these tools and adjustments are so versatile that you may actually prefer one treatment of an image for its interpretation of one section of the image and another treatment because it’s more flattering to a different area.
So why not take common settings, such as black and white interpretations, darkened and color adjusted skies that look more like a pre-set, or a pre-set that intensifies green and adds Fill Light to emphasize the detail in the shrubbery in a scene. You can then make an exposure for each of these settings, immediately open them in Photoshop and turn them into layers, and then mask those layers to make use of different treatments for different areas of the image?
Then, when you’re ready to add the effect of another Lightroom Preset, go back to Lightroom, click the Preset that’s the one you’ve made for the next largest area of the image, then press Cmd/Ctrl + E to also open that version in Photoshop (or you can Right Click to choose Photoshop from the In-context menu). When the second version of the photo opens in Photoshop, press Cmd/Ctrl + A to Select All, Cmd/Ctrl + C to copy the image to the clipboard, and then choose the original image and press Cmd/Ctrl + V to paste it to a new layer.
Now all you have to do is select those portions of the new layer that you want to add to the last version of your photo, feather the selection to blend, invert the selection (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + I) and click the Layer Mask icon in the Layers palette so that your selection becomes a mask. Since the mask will be selected, you can use the Brush tool to make portions of it more (white) transparent. You can also invert it by simply pressing Cmd/Ctrl +I. At this point, you can take things even further by experimenting with the newest layers Blend Modes, Opacity, and Fill.
Repeat the above procedure with different pre-sets for as many different layered area effects as you want. When you’re done with the whole thing, you can save the image. It will then be stacked with the original image.