People in the front row …

Before and after processing with texture overlays …

As soon as I saw this photo, I was reminded of backstage documentary films of concerts, and the title
(a song by Melanie Safka, sampled by Hill Top Hoods in their song: The Nose Bleed Section).

The less-than-perfect undersides of the gerbera flowers reveal the vulnerability beneath the beautiful faces of these divas. I liked the original image but wanted a softer lighter feel … like The Supremes.

Lightroom Processing

In Lightroom I used several presets (i.e., processing formulas I’ve developed to create a particular effect and then saved so processing can be applied quickly to any image). Presets for Lightroom: Dandelion, which brightens while retaining more natural colours in a RAW image. At Last, which darkens the image & gives it a sombre smoky glow. Dreamy, which lightens and desaturates colours.
Effects of Lightroom Presets: Dandelion, AtLast, Dreamy

Photoshop Texture Recipe

In Photoshop, over the original image, I layered the processed versions of the image to combine and modify the effects of the presets, and added layers of textures to add depth and character to the image.

This recipe assumes a level of familiarity with applying and selectively removing textures in Photoshop. If you’re not familiar with the processes involved, please check out my tutorials.


Left to Right:
Neapolitan – pale metallic texture in pink, white and brown, from an old metal milk urn.
Fabric Waves – texture of gentle folds and waves in olive green fabric.
Purple Bokeh – a soft purple and white abstract texture of reflections on glass.
(to view the textures at a larger size, click on the thumbnails below)


  1. Over the base image,
  2. Purple Bokeh: Multiply 30% (to add interesting bokeh textures to the top of the image, which was a bit washed out)
  3. Preset Dandelion: Normal 50% (to brighten and lighten the image)
  4. Preset At Last: Normal 30% (to darken and emphasise the bubbly bokeh in the top of the image)
  5. Fabric Waves: Overlay 50% (to add directional movement and the softness and warmth of fabric )
  6. Purple Bokeh: Pin Light 30% (seems to penetrate through all the other layers)
  7. Neopolitan: Screen 30% (to blur and add a touch of grunge)
  8. Preset Dreamy: Normal 50% (to soften the image)
  9. Preset Dreamy: Soft Light 50% (to bring out the details in the flowers through the textures)
  10. Purple Bokeh: Soft Light 30% (to merge it all together)
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