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Tips & Tricks

How To Add Atmosphere To Your Images In Photoshop Without Presets

By Kishore Sawh on March 18th 2015


When anyone embarks on the journey to be a photographer, to really nail the craft and have it be a creative expression of self, it’s hard to imagine that they see a clinically executed ‘properly exposed’ image as the be-all and end-all. There’s a time and place for that, but like most Italian laws, most photographic laws are meant as guidelines, and meant to be broken once understood.

If we were all to be presented with a scene and expose it according to textbook, there would be no flair, no individuality, no atmosphere, and no one wants that. This is much the reason for the proliferation of preset systems like VSCO, and our own SLR Lounge Preset System, because people want to add that artistic flare to their work. As incredible as these systems are, and they are, they will never be everything you want at all times, and knowing how to manually add atmospheric elements to an image will go a long way with you in your career.


Nino Batista is a fashion, glamour, model and exotic automobile photographer (and an internationally published one at that). One of the things he does quite well is add artificial atmospheric elements to his images, and has created a video to share how he does so.

If you look at a large volume of photographic work on a regular basis, as I do, you’ll notice common weak spots and this is a general one. The type of elements Nino adds, are not necessarily uncommon, in fact they are quite common. However, as with so much in life, the devil’s in the details, and it’s how his are created and applied with subtlety and care that makes all the difference. In essence, there is a sort of gradual building and enhancing of what’s already there, rather than totally creating a scene from scratch. I think keeping in mind the old chestnut that perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but nothing left to take away, would serve anyone well in this type of process.



[REWIND: My Go-To Beauty Retouch Technique Video]

The video is beneficial from the standpoint that you see the tools he uses to create certain effects in Photoshop, but more than that, it shows you the steps and process within which he works, which can give all sorts of small tips, and would have you likely looking at tools in Photoshop in a new light, therefore empowering you to do more on your own. It’s certainly worth a watch, and worth your time to visit his YouTube channel and Facebook for more, as he does some good work.

Source: Nino Batista YouTube, images are screen captures from featured video

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. colin Charisma

    Cool :) thanks for sharing.

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  2. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks for sharing this great article.

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  3. Chris Joo

    can you write an article on how not to breath loudly threw your mouth when on these kinds of shoots? i’ve tried everything…

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  4. Tosh Cuellar

    Sometimes I’m blown away by what a bit of simple image editing can do. I would have imagined it took much more time to get a similar result. Very cool.

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  5. Steven Mole

    Making an image so effective using such relatively simple techniques and a short period of time is true skill. The finished result looks like there was far more complicated work went into it. The model is incredibly striking too!

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  6. Peter Hagström

    What an awesome dude!

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  7. Eric Sharpe

    I haven’t watched the video yet. I just dropped hear to say that model is gorgeous.

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  8. Graham Curran

    I’m always keen to see how other people use PhotoShop. It has so many tools that there’s always something new to learn.

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