Two Tips / Perfect Effects' Glow and Lighten Brush

Boats In A Canal, Venice, Italy

I'm going on a trip soon, which has prompted me to review older vacation photos and reprocess a few. In 2011, when I got serious about organizing my photos - which in turn rekindled my love of photography - my processing skills were minimal. As I organized and digitized my photos, Aperture's "auto-enhance" button was a wondrous thing to me. In many ways it still is, although now it's a starting point and I almost always venture beyond it.

Original 35mm Scan, Aperture's Auto-Enhance applied

Original 35mm Scan, Aperture's Auto-Enhance applied

A case in point, this shot from Venice. The original is a 35mm film negative, scanned to digital using a consumer-grade film scanner. So nothing high tech or professional grade. Instead of the auto-enhance button, I used just a couple of filters in Perfect Effects to convey a dreamy nostalgic feel. 

The stylization for this photo:

  • First, I applied the Vecchio preset to give it a more vintage feel. I selectively removed about 50% of this effect from the water.
  • Next, a dosage of the Glow filter, for a dreamy quality.
  • Then, Dynamic Contrast to bring out some of the texture, but not too much to undo the glow.
  • The final touches are a slightly off center Big Softy vignette and a single click of a soft adjustment brush to brighten the rear buildings just where the canal turns out of view. These subtle touches help guide your eye into the frame.

The key effects for this photo are the glow, which adds mystery and a dreamy quality, and the lighten brush to ever-so-slightly brighten the rear building to draw your eye along the canal into the center of the frame.

This all took maybe 10 minutes in Perfect Effects. A fresh breath of new life for an old vacation photo.