Now where were we. Oh yes. Processing my construction photography image.
Yesterday I wrote all about the capture of the base images. Today I will talk about the processing.
But to talk about the processing I have to talk about the capture. I touched on this yesterday, but the point I want to make here is that for my architectural photography and industrial photography I shoot my version of HDR. Not the oversaturated grungy look you might be familiar with (popular amongst non-photographers apparently!!), but a natural version that is used solely to capture as much of the dynamic range of a scene as possible. Digital cameras might be clever but they are not as good as our eyes, and they cannot (yet) capture the full dynamic range that we see. So a little help from technology is needed and the way HDR Merge is designed to work in Lightroom helps us get just a little closer to capturing what we actually see.
So what I do is this.
I set my camera to take a set of three bracketed shots. One the correct exposure. The next two stops under exposed. The third two stops over exposed.
That is image capture in a nutshell. There is more, but I want to talk about processing. I will write separately, and probably in great detail about this once my portfolio has been completed.
So the starting point for this post is that I know which image I want to edit. The first stage of editing, i.e. choosing the images, has been carried out.
Now I am talking about how I edited this image. This is not how I edit every image, just this one. That (as with everything else is another story – what I do for each and very image.
So time to concentrate.
On import into Lightroom I apply my own develop pre-set. I have one of these for architectural photography. This is the starting point, and applies some of the basic things I do to each and every image to save me doing them. They are
Contrast + 50
Shadows + 48
Sharpening – amount – 100
Sharpening – radius – 1.0
Lens correction – enable Profile Correction
Lens Correction – Remove Chromatic Aberration
That’s all. Nothing major, and these are applied to every image on import. Saves me a job, and is the beginning of that consistent output.
Next, I look at the three bracketed files, to make sure they are all fine to work with. The three files were good so I selected the 2 stop under and 2 stop over exposed shots and selected HDR Merge. And Lightroom then magically merges the two files.
I leave on ghost removal, align images and auto-tone - it takes longer but I want consistency. I like what auto-tone does, and you can always bring it back if you want. And don’t forget, Lightroom creates a brand new dng file, which in effect is a new RAW file, leaving the two original images unaffected. And you can go change the auto-tone settings to your hearts content.
So next in Lightroom I did the following
Custom balance from a neutral in the scene which was from a selection from the window frame which I know to be a RAL grey colour meaning my colours are spot on.
Exposure – boosted by nearly a stop – I want my images to be bright and punchy.
Shadows + 70
These are the HDR merge auto tone settings which I was happy with.
Whites – 15
Blacks + 15
Just gentle tweaks for this shot
Clarity + 50
Vibrance + 25
Next I boosted the saturation of the orange (+22), yellow (+10) and blue (+26).
I boosted the luminance of the green (+26) and dropped the blue (-41).
These are detailed colour adjustments made using the target assisted tool in the HSL panel.
Localised dodging and burning to balance out the highlights and the shadows.
Finally, a vertical lens correction.
And that is it done. Sorry forgot spot removal as my sensor had been exposed to quite a lot on building sites so was quite bad.
And then, after all that, into Photoshop where I used the clone stamp, content aware fill and spot healing brush to tidy up debris and remove the handrail and the van.
Image 1 done.
I promise image two will be much much slicker!!!