From Backdrop to Dress

I have always loved taking photos of people in historical or vintage European costumes. It’s extremely hard to find them nowadays. I was lucky enough to run into a vintage shop called “Depot-Vente Beirut”. I saw that yellow dress online and the next thing I had to do is go there and grab it.

My grandmother has a shop for curtain fabric. I go there every once in a while and try to find pieces of fabric she never uses. I loved the blue color and the size of one piece, so I took it and decided to use it as a backdrop.

I called my sister and asked her to be my model.



It was about time to look up for another dress. I had my eyes on some historical costumes online. They were all way over my budget and I got really frustrated because they looked very beautiful. Next thing I did was bringing that backdrop down and starting a new dress. Having my mom’s sewing machine made it all easy — unlike what you may think! Well, thanks to Pinterest for being inspirational.

I was going to start a photo series/project, but it turned into complete failure because of the lack of models. But I remembered that making that dress was an accomplishment itself. That’s why I decided to share the story with everyone.

Here’s a self-portrait I took with the help of my husband.


This image stands for some of the days I spent at the hospital and was given blood units to treat my anemia after the death of my son due to the severe pre-eclampsia I suffered from.


Replace your white sky with a dramatic one in Photoshop

1- Open your image
Start by opening your landscape image in Photoshop.
It’s recommended that you have blank white sky.

Tip: In case you have a clear blue one, select the blue color and reduce the saturation so that it becomes white.


2- Placing the sky
Place your dramatic sky below your landscape image.
In this case, I made sure that the sun peeked through the trees.

Tip: Whenever you encounter a beautiful sky during the day, grab your camera and take a few snaps. You’ll never know when and how you might use them!


3- Blending
This is a very easy step and yet it makes a drastic change.
Simply, set the blending mode of your landscape to Multiply and this is what you’ll get!

In this case, you’ll notice that the sky filled all the whites in the image. That’s why we still see some sky parts in the water. But I kinda like it because it looks like a reflection to the sky.


I always do color grading as a final step to my images to make my scene more dramatic. It always depends from an image to the other. In this one, I played around with curves and exposure.


I hope this tutorial was useful. Feel free to ask me anything 🙂

Please note that it’s completely forbidden to use or reproduce these images. I own full copyright to these photos.

Working on a model in photomanipulations

 a- It’s what I call tidying up the model.

It’s fixing the model’s body from her waist. I also always love to make her a bit taller and her dress with more volume using the liquify filter (Filter>>liquify). I made a video tutorial about it you can view it here. You can also find some useful tips for manipulations here.

b- I choose where the main light is coming from (usually either left or right).
Keep that in mind for the whole process of the photo manipulation or maybe add a note on a single layer.

c- Cut the model out. My favorite tool is the pen because you can go back and readjust the selection even after you’re done with it. Here’s a tutorial on making selections using the pen tool. It’s ok if you’re more flexible using another way of cutting, but I recommend the use of masks.

d- Dodging and burning or what I call it shadows and highlights. This is related to the mainlight we made in step “b”.
For beginners I see it hard to use the most known way of it. I made a simple way and I always use it. Here’s how to do it:
Create a new layer (Ctrl+shift+N)
Select your brush tool (or press B). Hardness should be 0% and sizes depend on the area you’re working on with opacity 30% and Flow 20%.
Tip: To be faster play with the brush size with “[“ and “]” and the hardness with “shift+[“ and “shift+]“
Use  black to make the shadows and white for the highlights. Set the layer blending mode to soft light.
To make some areas pop-out more (like the cheeks, hair, etc…) make another blank layer, use a white brush and set the blending mode of the layer to overlay.
You can always play with opacity and fill to get your desired result.

e- Makeup.
If you want to add makeup. Create a new layer, also using a soft brush with low opacity and flow then choose the colors you want. For example light pink for the cheeks and red for the lips.

f- If you are a beginner and don’t have a tablet, I suggest using hair brushes. There are multiple high quality hair brushes on deviantart. Here are some links: link 1, link 2, link 3. To use the same color of the model’s hair simply use the eyedropper to clone the color of the hair then go back to your brush and place it on a single layer so you can modify it, transform, rotate, etc…

Feel free to ask further questions.