December One Photo Focus

Once a month the “One Photo Focus” Challenge hosted by Stacy Fischer at Visual Venturing gives participants a chance to practise their digital dark room techniques on a single photograph.  For December we are all working on a botanical image provided by Julie Powell: a white tulip.

December Image

Here is Julie’s original image, untouched:

Julie Powell December One Photo Focus - Original

Decisions and Editing Process

I wanted to take the opportunity to apply what I am learning in the Photoshop Artistry Course.  But I also wanted to be light-handed with the editing, in keeping with the delicate tulip.

The two main aspects of my editing work involved giving greater focus to the white tulip and highlighting the meaning of the flower.  So here is what I did.

I started in Adobe Camera Raw, by making minor adjustments to highlights and shadows.  Then in Photoshop I did the following:

Focus on the white tulip

  • Added a curves adjustment layer to slightly darken the overall image and tone down the blown out areas.
  • Cropped slightly so the partly showing bud would be less prominent.
  • Chose a  burgundy texture from Foxey Grunge (part of the free material provided in the Photoshop Artistry Course) to mask the somewhat distracting background, to bring in a pleasing tone and texture, and to add warmth to the image.
  • Added a layer mask so the texture is not applied to the main tulip.
  • Added a hue/saturation adjustment layer and tweaked the settings, then added a satin effect to soften the overall image.

The meaning

It is fun to do a bit of research on topics and I am often curious about the language of flowers.  There are lots of meanings attached to white tulips but the most common is the concept of purity and love.  So I added:

  • A text layer with the words “Pure and Perfect Love” at the bottom left hand corner of the image, in the font Papyrus Regular, at 50% opacity
  • A blank layer and selected the heart shape which I applied behind the text at 20% opacity


The image now looks a little like a greeting card:

December OPF


Let me know what you think and do visit Stacy’s post to view the work of all participants on this great challenge.  It is fascinating to see how others have interpreted the one image.

11 thoughts on “December One Photo Focus

  1. Pingback: December One Photo Focus | Visual Venturing

  2. That is gorgeous Chris. Hope you are having fun up nth and enjoying the Se and creatures. Talk soon. No news here Chris still hanging on. Love Sue

  3. Oh, so beautiful, Chris! It’s taken more more time than I like to get here, but what fun it is to revisit your image. A gorgeous postcard, indeed, that I would be happy send to anyone!

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