I’ve done this effect a while now and Here is a step by step of how to achieve this. This is done in Photoshop CC but should work with any version of Photoshop.
The photo was taken at 1/50th of a Second at f/1.8, ISO 1000 with a Nikon 35mm lens.
Here is the comparison of the photo:
I didn’t exaggerate the effect because I wanted to keep the photo usable, but It’s a nice tool that you can use. It’s mainly an effect you can use to bring out a lot of details in certain areas.
After you load your image in photoshop simply duplicate the background layer so we aren’t affecting the original image. Ctrl J or Command J on the mac is the shortcut key to do this.
With the duplicated layer selected you need to invert with either using the shortcut key Ctrl I or Command I.
Change the blend mode of that layer to vivid light.
At this point convert the layer to a smart object. If you are on an older version of photoshop that doesn’t have a smart object option duplicate this layer because what we will do next is destructive if it is not converted to a smart object.
Now we will apply a Surface Blur filter. You will have to play with the sliders to find where it works for your taste. Usually it is a balance between the halos and the details. For this photo though I used: Radius – 50 and Threshold – 25.
Now apply a layer adjustment to get rid of the color. To achieve this use the layer adjustment of Hue/Saturation and bring the saturation down to 0.
At this point we need to merge all of the work you have done to it’s own layer using the shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + Shift E and Command + Option + Shift E.
Now you have the option to hide the “layer 1” and the “Hue/Saturation 1” because we don’t need to use them anymore.
At this point change the blend mode of your newly created layer to “Overlay.” Note it will apply the effect to the hold image, but don’t panic. You will have an opportunity to control it in the next step.
Now to restrict the areas of the effect you will need to apply a layer mask to this layer filled with black.
Now can make a selection of the area you want to reveal and fill it with white or you can paint with a brush in white. Note: You must paint or fill in the layer mask and not on the image. Parts of you mask with White in it will show the effect parts with Black will hide the effect and parts with Grey will show part of the effect. After your selection is made you can use the shortcut key to fill with the foreground color with Alt + Delete or Option + Delete on mac.
Once you chose which parts to reveal or hide you are done and now have your final image.