Let's talk about Portraits a bit. When you look at an image, your eye is automatically drawn to the lightest area. Many times our lightest area is the background. When this happens you tend to get a flat image and the person you shot get lost in the image. There is an easy quick fix for this that will change the look of your Portraits.
Process your image in your normal fashion. When you are finished you will want to merge your visible layers together or use the shortcut Ctrl, Alt, Shift, E to merge all of your layers into a new combined layer. (this is my favorite shortcut)
In Elements open a Levels adjustment layer and click OK without making any changes. In Photoshop you would create a new layer mask. Now you want to change the blend mode to multiply. Changing your blend mode to multiply will darken the entire image. Click on your layer mask to activate it. Pick a soft round brush and make sure your foreground color is black. Here is the fun part... pain over your person. This will leave your background dark and your person will revert back to the normal processing that you did earlier. That is it! You have now used a layer mask. I am so Proud of you! :~)
For my examples I give you this image of Grace. This image is straight out of the camera. I have a horrible red/orange color cast. You may be drawn to her eyes for a moment because they are just gorgeous but then you eye tend to be pulled straight to the background.
Here is my image after processing and using the multiply blend mode on the background. I actually duplicated my multiply layer again and reduced the opacity of the second layer to about 50%. When you look at this image, it looks like she is coming towards you. You get a more 3D effect. Yes you go straight to her eyes but now you spend time looking around her face and hair. The background becomes just a background and the flatness is gone!! Yippee!
Do you see it? Did I explain so you understand?
This tut was kimi's Kreative homework #65 Take a look at some of the images that were done.
I hope this gives you a better understanding of how to work a layer mask. Now go and give it a try!
Happy 4th of July Eve.
Check back for a holiday freebie tomorrow.