How to Create Snow In A Photograph Using Photoshop

Above, I have a photograph of a deer that I took in my backyard. It had already snowed the day before, so there’s snow on the ground. I’d like to add falling snow to this photograph to make it more interesting:

The first thing I’ll do is hit CTRL+J on my keyboard to make a duplicate copy of my image. Then I’ll call it “Overcast Background”. I’ll double click on the word “Layer 1″ to rename it:

The next thing I’ll do is to give the photograph a feeling of an overcast snowy day. I can see the sun on the branches behind the deer so I’ll dull it down by going into Selective Color. Go to Image, Adjustments, Selective Color:

The Selective Color dialog box will come up. Looking at the photo I can see that the color red is the color I need to tone down. These are the setting I used for the reds. Before I click OK, I’ll make some adjustments to the “Yellow” colors too. Then I’ll click OK:



Now it’s time to add the falling snow. I’ll make a new layer at the bottom of the layers palette, and fill it with black. To fill the layer with black I’ll make sure that the foreground color in the color picker is black, and then I’ll hit ALT-DELETE on my keyboard to fill the layer with black. This is how everything should look at this point:

Now I want to add specks to the image. So I’ll go to Filter, Noise, Add Noise:

Here the Add Noise dialog box comes up. For this image I’ll set the Amount to 100, Distribution to Gaussian, and it’s very important to check the Monochromatic box at the bottom. If I didn’t, I’d be able to see a lot of colored artifacts in the specks. Check the box on and off to see for yourself. Then click OK:

The next thing I want to do is blur the specks. I’ll go to Filter, Blur, Blur More:

There are too many specks. To get rid of some of them I’ll go to Image, Adjustments, Levels:

Here the Levels dialog box comes up. These are the settings I used. Then I’ll click OK:

To get rid of the black and only leave the white specks, I’ll go to the layers palette and look at the area where it says “Normal”. This will bring up the blending modes. I’ll click on the “Screen” mode:

Here is what the photo looks like so far:

Now it’s time to add some motion to the snow to make it look more realistic. I’ll go to Filter, Blur, Motion Blur:

The Motion Blur dialog box will open up. I’ll set the Angle to -65 and the Distance to 7. Then I’ll click OK:

The next thing I’ll do is make a duplicate layer. I’ll go to, Layer, Duplicate Layer. When the dialog box comes up I’ll click OK:



The next thing I’ll do is make the snow look like it’s falling downward. I’ll go to Edit, Transform, Rotate 180°:

Then I’ll go to Edit, Free Transform:

When I’m in Free Transform, I’ll go to the top tool bar and click on the lock to maintain the aspect ratio. I’ll make the Width 200% and the Height will follow at 200% because I clicked the lock. I’ll click on the check to accept the transform:

Here is the photo and palettes at this point. Almost finished:

The next thing I’ll do is go to Filter, Pixelate, Crystallize. This will make some of the snowflakes bigger than others, for a more realistic look:

The Crystallize dialog box will come up. I’ll make the Cell Size 16. Then I’ll click OK:

The next thing I’ll do is take the eraser tool at a low opacity and clear away some of the snow around the deer face and a little at the bottom of the photo:

When I clean up with the eraser tool, I go from “Layer 1 copy” to “Layer 1″, because they both have snow. Here is what the Layers Palette should look like:

The last thing I’ll do is blur the “Layer 1 copy” just one more time. I’ll keep the same setting as before, when the Motion Blur dialog box comes up. Then I’ll click OK:



Here is the before and after:


14 thoughts on “How to Create Snow In A Photograph Using Photoshop”

  1. DUDE!!!!! That is so awesome!!! You can just put snow there and its not even snowing!!! LORRI FREEDMAN ROCKS!!


  2. Just to say that was a nice easy tutorial to do , and the end effect was good, thanks.

  3. this tutorial is very good. i understood about levels and selective colors very well.
    and how to use filter effects tackfully.

  4. This is great! I have pics of my son in the snow and I can’t wait to try this effect on that pic. Thanks so much!!!

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