Arts · nature

Processing the Blue Butterfly Photo

Several months ago, I received questions about my post, Blue Butterfly. Some people asked me how I managed to have a good lighting in the background and how I made the color of the butterfly vibrant. In this post, I want to share the processing method that I have done.

Below is the original capture (RAW format). This photograph is good to begin with because the background is not very dim, the image is not blurry and the flowers and leaves on the background are wonderful additions to the range of colors I have in the frame. I took this photograph in a show house with transparent roof supported by trusses. Those trusses created shadows beneath so I chose a nice shooting scene within that place. I also waited for the butterflies to go in the spot where there are no shadows.


The camera settings: Camera: Canon EOS 60D | Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40) | Aperture: f/5.6 | ISO Speed: 100 | Exposure Program: Manual | Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 | Lens: EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Below are the steps:

1. I set up my white balance into automatic in my camera. Then I changed the WB in Lightroom to Daylight. I adjusted the Exposure, Recovery, Fill Light and Blacks, as shown.

New Picture

2. I changed the clarity and vibrance. Since the photo has flowers in the background, I increased the saturation of the following colors: Red, Magenta, Purple and Blue (for the butterfly).

New Picture (1)

New Picture (5)

New Picture (4)

New Picture (3)

3. I modified the Sharpness and adjusted the Noise Reduction.

New Picture (2)

4. Finally, I added Vignetting.

New Picture (3)

This is the Before and After screen shot:

New Picture

And the result 🙂

(click image to see a larger view)


16 thoughts on “Processing the Blue Butterfly Photo

  1. Great post Michelle, very informative,great use of screenshots. If you have´nt already done so, why not checkout the community photoblog Digital Darkroom Techniques, a photographic blog on how-to´s and tutorials. The more contributers the better!Great the photo by the way, i remember the original post!

  2. Hello Michelle. Thanks for this information. Now that I finally got a good camera (the same as yours 🙂 ) – so it may soon be time to use a better editing program like yours! So far I have used Picasa for small adjustments and cropping.

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