Photo straight from camera showing Dominican vendor relaxing on the beach and gazing out to sea

On our recent visit to the eastern shores of the Dominican Republic I was lucky enough to catch this shot of a local vendor taking a couple of minutes to enjoy the view of the sea…

Whilst I was delighted with the end result, I decided to add some texture layers and give the image a more “painterly” feel using various filters from Topaz Labs, a sandy texture from Kim Klassen, and a lovely blue bokeh overlay from Joel Olives.


My initial thought was to give the image a slightly dreamy look, emphasizing the solitude of the guy on the beach. Edit layers used included some slight detail enhancement in Topaz Detail 3, a largely transparent tea green drop-off opalotype layer with vignette from Topaz BW Effects 2, a toned BuzSim effect in Topaz Simplify 4, and the Joel Olives bokeh overlay on the sea.

So here is the end result:Edited to have a melancholic feel

To me this image has a haunting, almost melancholic feel to it; perfect to transmit the “Missing You” message that I originally had in mind!

I uploaded it to my Facebook page, thinking that I was done with the image, but then I received feedback from a follower who leans toward more “photographic” pictures.  He suggested that I try removing the vignette and increasing the saturation a tad.

Never one to turn down a challenge, I returned to the “processing room”…


Starting with the .psd version of “Missing You,” I went back into the BW Effects layer and changed from a darkening vignette to a larger, more ovoid, lightening one.  I then applied a layer using the original photograph, blending using the color mode to bring back more of the original tonality.  The sand was still lacking texture and contrast, so I added a couple of blend modes of Kim Klassen’s kk_sunkissed texture to the sand.  Finally, I took the image into Topaz Adjust and added a touch of Surreal; this heavily textured layer was then scaled back by blending with the non-adjusted version.

And the final effect?

A totally different feel – much more upbeat, perhaps “Summer Days are Here Again!”

Bright color and rich texture

Interestingly, when I asked other texture-loving artists which one they preferred, the jury was split – some favor the saturated image, others say that the more melancholy version “speaks” to them.  Personally I feel that each has its place, but that they convey very different emotions.

Fascinating how the same image can give two completely different messages! What are your thoughts?  Please leave a comment and let me know which image speaks loudest to you…