There is just something about deep blues at night.
Even with filters, it can be a tough effect to capture, especially in a place like Times Square. Well, Topaz Labs new B&W Effects makes it easy to create. I used this plugin in my Broadway at Night series. I have tweaked the settings even further and created two Presets for you to import directly into B&W Effects. [NOTE – Topaz Labs recently released B&W Effects 1.1 which fixed a bug in the import/export of Presets, so be sure to install the free upgrade first.]
You can see the original photo on the bottom section. My first Preset, Nighttime Blue by Photoframd, is darker with less of the original colors bleeding through. The other Preset, Nighttime Blue 2 by Photoframd, is brighter with more of the original colors mixed into the blues. I alternate between the two Presets depending on the photo and the desired effect. Remember, you can still apply either Preset to a layer and then selectively blend the effect in using masks.
Download the zipped Presets for Nighttime Blue by Photoframd. [NOTE – I just revised my Preset for Nighttime Blue 2 by Photoframd and replaced it in the Zip file link. The previous setting was based on the original version of B&W Effects and was overexposed in the new update. The revised Preset fixes that.] This compressed file contains both Presets. You will need to unzip them first. With Topaz B&W Effects open, simply click the Import button and locate the unzipped Presets. Import them one at a time. The Presets should install under the Cyanotype Collection. You may need to close B&W Effects and relaunch it again in order to see them listed.
Now, you can really enjoy the blues at night 😉
FINAL NOTE – In using these Presets, if you notice that your “blues” are very “cyan”, check your photo’s white balance. Chances are, there is a yellow cast to the photo which is shifting the blues. You can fix this in the Camera Raw/Lightroom before you jump into Photoshop or through the White Eyedrop tool in Levels (just pick something in the photo that should be pure white). Apply the Preset to your color-corrected layer for the true blue effect. But, if you’re really lazy, you can just shift the Cyans to a Blue using the Hue/Saturation Tool. It pays to really know how-to use Photoshop too 😛