Portfolio Day 4 - Image 1 - what I did in Lightroom and Photoshop to get my finished construction photography shot

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

Highlights -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.

Highlights -100

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.

All done.

Finished.

Image 1 done.

I promise image two will be much much slicker!!!