Popping Extreme Sports Shots with PhotoTools

A couple months ago, I was talking to Larry Becker (yes NAPP members, THAT Larry Becker) about sports photography, specifically photographers selling to the youth sports market.  Honestly, I have no interest in doing that I've decided, but he said something to me which made me think.  He said that since there's so many people trying to do that now, you need to set yourself apart from the pack a bit, and maybe grunge up the photos now with that popular contrasty, popping out effect.

A few days after speaking with him, I shot the Journeys Backyard BBQ event.  Out of all the photos I took, after doing the standard white balance/exposure/levels fix in Lightroom, I really liked this one, but it still bothered me.

I realized this might be a perfect shot to try the grungy effect on, and what better tool to use than PhotoTools?

The first thing is that the rider and bike not only look kind of flat, but also still look dark.  The first effect I added was Punch Drunk A4 at a Fade of 83 which is described as popping colors and contrast.  That left me with:

That definitely looks better, but I'm not done. Now I wanted to grunge up the rider and bike just a little bit, so I administered some Local Contrast Boost.  There was one major thing I did to this filter. I painted it in on just the rider and the bike.  Why did I want to do that?  If I didn't, and I set the Fade to the setting I wanted (in this case, I like 52), I got this:

I did not like the white aura between the sky and the bike/rider at all.  To me that made the photo looks extremely fake and overprocessed.  Instead when I applied the filter, I hit the Invert Mask button which essentially removes it from the whole photo (it's still there, just not painted in anywhere yet), and painted it in just where I wanted it.  It's ok if you accidentally painted on the sky while you're doing this, just change the Masking to Paint Out, and trace back over that section to remove the effect from the sky.

Note that initially having the filter on the entire photo will give you a general idea of what the finished product will look like, which is what I did when I decided a Fade of 52 was what I wanted.

Once the paint the effect in, I'm left with:

One last thing made this photo complete for me, a little High Pass Sharpening. Not a lot, just a Fade of 34 seemed about right, just to give it that last extra pop.

With that, we're left with a final photo of: