Editing Friday; The Last Cup of Coffee

Welcome to the first editing Friday of Spring, though looking out of my window it doesn’t seem like spring with all the snow on the ground.

This week I am taking my final composition from my coffee shoot and processing it. The idea of the image was a cup of coffee in focus with the espresso kettle in the foreground out of focus. The idea would be to use the espresso kettle as an interesting object in the foreground that would frame or push the attention of the viewers eye towards the coffee cup.


I did clean the cup but the thing with anything black is that the smallest amount of dust sticks out like a sore thumb and this will have to be removed.


First I took the image into Adobe Camera Raw and rotated the image to have the cup level and toned the image for a basic conversion.


 I imported the image into Photoshop as a smart object and then opened Colour Efex to tone my image. I first applied a film tone of velvia to the whole image and then added a bleach bypass adjustment and used a control point to minus the adjustment from the area of the cup.
This could easily be done in Photoshop by creating two adjustments and then creating a layer mask.
I added a final adjustment, detail extractor to pull out the detail via midtone contrast.


I then added a dust and scratches filter to try and remove most of the dust from the cup but a lot was left and I will fix this later. I also reduced noise in the image.
I normally reduce noise at the end of my work flow but this time I am going to be leaving the safety of my smart object, since the next filter doe not like working in a smart object.


I duplicated my smart object layer and then rasterized it. I then entered quick mask to make a selection of the cup by using the brush tool. On exiting quick mask the painted area becomes a selection and by selecting a layer mask the selection is added to the layer mask. I went to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur. Blurring the kettle and leaving the cup sharp.


I also created a duplicate of the lens blur layer and applied a lighting filter (Filter -Render- Lighting)and set the blending to luminosity. THe kettle needed a small amount of contrast, I created a curves adjustment that i localized to the kettle by using a layer mask.


My last steps were to clean the dust from the cup using the clone tool.
I went back down to the lower layers duplicated them and merged them. I applied a highpass filter (Filter- Other-Highpass) and then set the opacity to softlight, this sharpens the image.

Final Image


With the final image I really like the way the left portion of the image helps to frame part of the cup. The kettle is quite dull though in being so it contrasts with the brightness of the cup. The detail extractor worked well to create the texture of the hot coffee and the light sources in the the refection of the cup and the coffee.

In creating the images for this post i did my normal panorama crop for the featured image. Suprisingly I actually like it more than the final uncropped image.


For me this works better because the kettle is mostly cropped bringing more focus to the cup it self. the cup also sits nicer compositionally.

Over to You

Which crop do you prefer? do you like the final toning? or any other comment let me know using the comment box below.

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8 thoughts on “Editing Friday; The Last Cup of Coffee

  1. This works very well and yes, the pano crop is better here. Your ability with PS never ceases to amaze me. The tone is far better after your workflow.

    • Thank you Andrew, the panorama crop was something i was never planning to do. At the end of the workflow i was not 100% happy with the kettle as it was quite dominating. The panorama crop on the other hand it is still strong but not taking away from the crop i feel. Photoshop is great but sometimes out of the box thinking can really create strong images. Have you experimented recently in Photoshop?

      • Not too much. I have been playing with your alternative approaches to noise management and quite like the surface blur by channel technique. Even though I am supposed to be 80% retired I never seem to have the free time I expected. Maybe next year!

      • I m glad the noise reduction is helping esp when your shooting birds and using long lenses, which creates a little more noise in the image. In this day and age i don’t think you can ever fully retire because there is always some jobs to do.

    • I think the panoramic has becoming the winning crop. The details of the coffee pots would have been lost without the detail extractor filter in Color Efex, so some thanks must go to that filter.

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