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.
My image for the “Before and After Forum” is a test for a mini project I am undertaking this summer. There were some teething problems which has made me change the way I am going to take the pictures and plan them.
The concept of the images is dissecting fruit and creating surreal images white the fruit sliced with the fruit transforming into something else. For this particular image I wanted the fruit (pomegranate) floating with the meat in the foreground as foreground interest with the pomegranate the subject in the background.
To create this image I would need three images; one for the floating fruit, one for the meat and one of which is empty. To make the fruit float I needed to prop them up with wooden skewers and play dough, the shot with nothing in it would then be used to cover the skewers, while the meat shot will easily be added to bottom.
One of the mistakes I made was photographing the empty shot without thinking about focusing. I photographed this shot first once the lighting had been set up; I focused on the wall and took the shot. When I photographed the pomegranates I focused on them.
In Photoshop merging the images together the difference focus point caused an issue when masking the skewers out as they were being replaced with a textured background which obviously didn’t match. To fix this I applied a Gaussian Blur to the empty layer and set it as the background, I created a levels adjustment layer to brighten the background so it matched the areas being masked out of the pomegranate image.
At this moment I also noticed there was a slight bit of texture at the top of the frame, I duplicated my pomegranate layer applied a slight Gaussian Blur and then masked in over the texture.
To not have this problem in the future I would move my subject further from the back ground and photograph all my subjects shot first with the lens set to manual focus and then photograph the empty scene without changing the focusing.
For the rest of the editing I applied were; curves and vibrance adjustment layers, with the vibrance settings I raised the vibrance and lowered the saturation. I then added a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer and selectively raised the saturation of red and yellows. Next I dodged and burned the image using a new layer filled with 50% grey and using a low opacity brush painting black and white onto the layer; black to darken and white to brighten.
The final part was repositioning and cropping the image. The composition was slightly out so I moved the floating pomegranate down lower to balance the image. I finally sharpened the image and saved.
As a test image it has worked really well, I learnt a lot form the process and as I continue with more test shots and compositions the experience with this image has saved me a lot of time. I really like the colours and toning and especially like the droplets of juice on the surface as well as dropping from the fruit. The amount of time spent in Photoshop was about 1 hour which I feel wasn’t too much for this type of image.
Let me know in the comments below what you think of the image be it positive or negative as well as any questions you might have.
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