The Before and After forum is organised by Stacy Fischer, it is a place where amateurs as well as seasoned photographers explain the wow and how about their photo and editing decision.You can read more here about how to take part.
This week I had this photo to edit. When taking this shot I felt that the lamp summed up the room quite well and since it was quite dark there I couldn’t have a small aperture to get the detail of the whole room in focus and I had already been told off by the lovely security guards for using my flash, whoops. I was shooting at ISO 800 so I could have bumped it up to get a smaller aperture but then the background would be sharper and the woman by the window would be harder to remove in post, so I stuck with f/4.0 and 1/100 of a sec. Due to the back lighting and the general darkness of the scene I bracketed my shots +2/-2 with the idea of using exposure fusion in photomatix to get a nice balanced image.
The output from Photomatix was quite nice and it lightened the whole image with the help of the over exposed frame. From here the work was going to have to be removing the guard in the window. Whenever I remove something I always like to replace it with something else in the frame. The clone tool and heal I find are good for small things or in places without a lot of detail. This lovely woman is in the window.
I opened the Fused image in Photoshop and duplicated the background layer, flipped it vertically, matched the drapes and cabinet. Applying a hide all mask, I used a brush to replace the woman with a window. By the time I get to the radiator there is a problem as things dont quite match up. There is some radiator to the left of the lady’s legs. Using a rectangular marque tool with a feather of 10px I selected a section of the radiator and copied it onto a new layer, and then duplicated this layer slowly tiling over the ladies legs. This also meant I was covering the chairs, I grouped the radiator layers and placed a reveal all layer mask and painted the chairs back.
With the removal complete, I selected all the layers and placed them in a smart object, I applied a lens correction filter to straighten the image and then cropped.
I started toning; applying a medium contrast curves adjustment layer and a second curves adjustment layer for color contrast, a vibrance adjustment layer to make the colours go pop and a hue and saturation adjustment layer to selectively raise the saturation in the reds and yellows.
I was finding the rope for the chandelier in the background distracting so I removed part of it using a mixture of the content aware and the clone tool as well as the selection tools and masking. I did all the adjustments on new layers above background smart object.
The lamp was looking a bit drab, so I added a curves adjustment to brighten the lamp and applied it via a layer mask
The tone of the image was ok but I really wanted something different, I added a black and white adjustment layer and then added a gradient map. For the gradient map I chose a yellow for the shadows and a blue/purple for the highlights. I set the blending of the map to Color and then lowered the opacity of the black and white layer until the colours looked good.
Next I added a slight vignette to the image using a black fill layer and a reveal all layer mask. Using a big brush soft brush at a low opacity I lightened the area around the lamp. I set the layer to multiply and then duplicated the layer and set the blending mode of the duplicated layer to overlay.
This was my final image and the image I sent to Stacy for the forum post. While proofreading and editing this post I noticed something wasn’t right with the final image.
The light and colours are all fine, there is good contrast in the whole scene, the windows don’t have distracting blown out highlights and there is no glaring colours. The lamp is the subject of the composition and the lighting shows this.
What I don’t like is as you look up you see the second chandelier which is not central with the lamp or the chandelier in the background, also with the ceiling being a lighter tone my eye is automatically drawn to it and not the lamp.
For the new final image I cropped the top off creating a 10×8 format image.
What do you think of the process? Would you have done anything differently? let me know in the comment box below or if you like just say hi.
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