Create a wintery scene – Editing recipe

Since winter will be here today, I thought I’d share this quick and easy recipe to transform an image into a dreamy winter scene.  It started with this summer image of a church, taken with a Lensbaby.


I started by removing any indication that the image wasn’t taken in winter by some cloning work.


I then added one of my cloud files I keep for my compositing work, I chose a grey sky to make it kinda stormy.  Erased from unwanted areas with a layer mask and blended in normal mode at 70%. You can use any cloud you want, you might want to desaturate it to make it look more neutral. If your cloud overlay is too sharp, don’t forget, you can run a little gaussian blur on it so the DOF is consistent in your image.


Next step was making the overall image cooler and with a gentle falling snow, in order to do that, I played my FREE Ice Fairy touch action at 100%


Snow was too light so I added a falling snow overlay, blended in Screen mode.  There are many free on the web, and there’s one here too, just for you.

step 5

My next step was to add some drama by vignetting the image.  In order to do so, I merged all layers once I was satisfied with my masking and snow layers. I then duplicated my background.  I used the lasso tool on this second layer, to select an approximate vignette, It doesn’t have to be perfect so it looks natural. In order to have this effect blend in nicely, I feathered my selection to a 100 px radius. Then,  I inverted my selection to select the vignette and not the center of the image.  I went to Image > Adjustments > Curves and pulled down just enough to darken my edges.


This is the resulting image. You can repeat the Curves adjustment if you were too subtle at first or if you want more drama.  You can also use this same method and select other parts of the image you want brighter or darker, don’t forget to feather your selection to create a smooth transition.  That’s it!  Quick steps, major transformation!

3 Comments on Create a wintery scene – Editing recipe

  1. Linda Kukulski
    December 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm (5 years ago)

    Very pretty Isabelle. We do have a bit of snow right now on south Vancouver Island and it is nice to have at Christmas time.

    • Isabelle
      December 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm (5 years ago)

      I agree, I love a white Christmas 🙂 Thank you Linda xox

  2. Abby Lanes
    January 8, 2014 at 8:54 am (5 years ago)

    This is so helpful and the results are so realistic! Thank you for the tutorial, Isabelle. I’ll spend some time trying to learn those techniques. Your blog looks so great! Thank you again.


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