Featured Artist Tutorial: Michael Sågerås

Meet Michael Sågerås: I live in Bankeryd in southern Sweden. My journey in photography really began when I had children and bought a digital SLR. That was back in December 2005 and since then I’ve photographed and edited all my images, learning new techniques along the way. A few years ago I started experimenting by adding different textures to enhance my images but the textures I was using back then did not really fit my style of art. Then, sometime in spring 2012, I discovered Photomorphis and felt that I’d found what I’d been looking for all along: Good, rich and subtle textures that were the perfect complement ​​to my photographs.

In my youth, I painted a lot of watercolors and was inspired by artists who used the light to get the right expression and emotion. And that's what I strive for today with my photography: To combine the mood and light of the image with different textures and blending modes in Photoshop to achieve a painterly result.

I've been using Photoshop for many years and versions, but these days I mainly use it to add the final textural/layered effects. Everything else in my photo editing workflow can be achieved in Lightroom.

When I'm looking through my images for something suitable to become art I follow my own sense of what might fit. Usually I’m drawn to pictures of flowers or landscapes that I think might be compatible with my personal technique. The steps I use are certainly nothing new to Photoshop users, but I've found my own successful workflow and style with the help of Doug Landreth’s tutorials.

The picture I’ve selected to share with you was taken in August 2013 and is of beautiful rowan berries. I knew right away that it would fit with warm and rich textures and it made me think of Rembrandt when I started working with it. I began as usual with the basic editing in Lightroom of white balance, shadows and highlights, clarity and saturation. After that I opened the image in Photoshop and that's when the fun begins…

I start by duplicating the background image twice. The top layer is converted to a Smart Object and inverted with the blending mode set to Vivid Light. Then I add a bit more sharpness with a Surface Blur filter. After that I group the layers and name the group Sharpen Overlay. I set the blending mode to Overlay for the entire group. I’d like a little more clarity on the top two rowan berries so I use channels to make a selection that will mask out the two berries. I then apply the layer mask to the group.

(Click to zoom screen images)


To give my images a vivid sense I like to use textures with much color and saturation. I select Photomorphis Urban Desert 01 because it gives me the exact result I’m after. I duplicate the texture twice and set the blend mode to multiply (60–65 % opacity) on the bottom layer. The top texture layer I set to Soft Light (100% opacity). Over these two textures I add a third texture layer that helps to create the illusion of canvas. I set the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce the opacity to around 70%. This allows it to interact with the other two layers in an artful way.

After this I group the textures and name the resulting group.


The finishing touch is achieved with a filter from the RadLab plug-in that gives the picture more warmth and saturation.


When the image is complete I feel have easily achieved the effect I was after, Rowan a'la Rembrandt  :-)

Michael Sågerås


To find out more about Michael Sågerås' photography:


Visit his website sagerasphoto.se
Facebook facebook.com/michael.sageras
Twitter twitter.com/michaelsageras
YouTube youtube.com/user/michaelewon