1) I like
to balance my “atmospheric pictures with approximately 50% on
the light side and 50% on the dark side. This is important
because light in a painting is nothing more than white or yellow
or red paint, it only becomes “light” when it is contrasted with
the dark portion of the picture. It is this contrast that makes
the composition striking.
2) The location and colour of the
light source is very important. Try and use common sense as to
where the light would hit your objects. The colour of the light
will reflect on the objects in the painting and mute opposite
colours. For example with a red light you will not see any green
colours, you will see black or grey.
3) I enjoy painting light beams in pictures like in the
picture and the Baych
Grove picture. This is easily accomplished on its own layer
by drawing a light colour bar of light.I usually soften the
edges of the bar of light . I also make the light fade as it
gets longer and longer. So it is stronger near the source. Make
the entire layer opaque to your desired percentage so that the
layers behind are seen through. Whatever the beam hits will need
to be brighter than the surrounding objects.
4) With a textured brush I use the dodge and burn tool
extensively to darken the side of objects away from the light
source and to brighten the sides closest to the source.
Remember not all pictures are or should be “atmospheric” with
dramatic lighting. However it is fun to do and the results are
fun to look at, so I do it quite frequently.