Using photoshop, how do I get an image to have this silvery/metallic look?

I know how the scene was lit--the photographer explains how, so I am aware how to duplicate that part of it, but I believe the final image had post-processing to achieve the silvery/metallic look.

Once the image is properly lit, how do you finish the image to get a similar result?

Edited to Add:

If you look at the photographers other work using this setup, it seems pretty clear that it wasn't all done with just lighting. For example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshuacraig/2362070167/in/photostream/.

  • 2
    Are you sure there is any special post-processing to achieve that? It looks like very basic processing to me...perhaps just a bit of desaturation. I think the lighting setup takes care of the rest.
    – jrista
    Aug 13, 2010 at 6:51

4 Answers 4


Other things to try:

  • leave mids and highlights neutral-to-warm, cold tone only the shadows
  • selective sharpening (Edit with the new example, I'm pretty sure on this one. Though whether it's a fundamental aspect, I couldn't really say. Could probably work globally just as well.)
  • slight overexposure
  • Local Contrast Enhancement, or its sibling, Adobe's "Clarity" tool.
  • on the outside, perhaps some mild tone mapping? Seems like overkill in this situation, though. (Well, to me it always seems like overkill, but you know what I mean)

I think the lighting and the subject is the fundamental part of the look. Glossy dark fur would catch highlights, then some processing to enhance that contrast.

  • Its also got a lot of vignetting.
    – Alex Black
    Aug 13, 2010 at 15:12
  • @Alex: The vignetting is from the background lights.
    – Alan
    Aug 13, 2010 at 16:20
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    I think the primary components of the look are lighting and local contrast enhancement. Aug 13, 2010 at 16:57
  • @Alan Not in your new example, is isn't! The dog was a bit ambiguous in this regard, but given the new one, I'd have to lean towards enhancement.
    – ex-ms
    Aug 13, 2010 at 17:01
  • @Henry likewise. Selective blur/sharpening just for the same reasons one always would (draw attention).
    – ex-ms
    Aug 13, 2010 at 18:04

I think you can do this by toning the image towards cold tones (in GIMP it's Colors/Color Balance: you tone down reds and enhance blues, Photoshop should be similar) and then decreasing saturation (Hue/saturation adjustment should be somewhere there as well).

  • B800 through white umbrella on right and left.
  • BR800 on camera
  • B1600 with 20 degree grid on backdrop

An umbrella flash unit on each side with a ringflash on the camera.

There's a shot of the setup here.

  • I read how he did the lighting. I'm asking how to do the post-processing.
    – Alan
    Aug 13, 2010 at 5:16

That is no special effect.

It's just a slightly over-sharpened high contrast black-and-white picture. Then the flickr software has added more sharpening when resizing the image to make it really over-sharpened.

  • 1
    I think its just desaturated, as you can still see some pink in the puppies skin around his nose. I generally agree though, just over-sharpened and desaturated, not much in the way of processing.
    – jrista
    Aug 13, 2010 at 9:20
  • If you look at his other work for example: flickr.com/photos/joshuacraig/2362070167/in/photostream, this is not just all lighting based.
    – Alan
    Aug 13, 2010 at 16:10
  • @Alan: Same there, very high contrast and slightly oversharpened. Very easy to repeat if you want it.
    – Guffa
    Aug 13, 2010 at 17:06

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