Welcome to AfterBefore Friday, the Forum hosted by Stacy Fischer which allows participants to illustrate that the work isn’t done when the shutter clicks. My submission is described below, but be sure to check out ABFriday Headquarters because in addition to this week’s submissions, you will see the unveiling of next Month’s candidate image for the OnePhoto Focus Event.
I’ve been told that using the histogram on your digital camera simplifies the work in post-processing, it’s just a matter of trusting the graph instead of your eyes. It seems this is true. For example, I found a scene this week that is not particularly noteworthy but it provided an opportunity to work on a combination of some troublesome exposure issues—a bright blue sky, a white sculpture partially illuminated by a bright sun, and a dark brick building in shadow. The subject is the Smithsonian’s recently renovated (but empty) Arts and Industries Building.
I don’t have an easy way to display the camera’s information screen here, but those who want to know more can easily do a quick search on the terms “using the camera’s histogram.” In brief, I wanted to ensure there was detail in the shadows while not blowing out the sky or the white sculpture. After some trial and error I settled on an exposure 1.3 stops darker than what the camera’s meter was telling me. The image preview on the LCD looked really dark but the histogram was saying “don’t worry, the detail is all there.” The Before image below is what came out of the camera.
Following normal workflow sequences, I made a few changes in Adobe Camera Raw, setting the white and black points, setting the Shadows to +100 (to open up the darker areas), and setting the clarity and vibrance to the usual values of +30. The result is shown below
After Adobe Camera RAW Adjustments
Moving into Photoshop CC, only three more small adjustments were needed. The two bits of roof on the left and right edges were removed with the clone tool. Second, I selected the brick building and used a Curves Adjustment Layer (Blend Mode=Normal) to make it brighter (see white arrow). The red area in the image below illustrates the mask blocking the effects of the adjustment to the sign.
Third, I selected the decorative tiles including the sign and used a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to enhance their colors (see arrows). The red area in the image below illustrates the mask blocking the effects of the adjustment.
And that was it. The brick front of the building could have easily been lightened even more but the tones were an accurate representation of the late afternoon shadows. The final image is shown below.
Be sure to see all of the other submissions at Stacy’s Visual Venturing Blog here.