The Answer

29 Jun

In Wednesday’s post, I asked you guys to identify which of the two “red house” photos was processed as an HDR image. It’s time for the big reveal. 🙂

The answer is, the first image was processed as an HDR pano. The second was processed using layers and masks.

The reason I bring it up though, is that despite being processed in two very different ways, the images have some very similar qualities.  Let’s start with the first image:

The House on Grass Island

The House on Grass Island

This image is actually two HDR images stitched together. The first thing I did is run all 6 of the original exposures through Lightroom for basic chromatic aberration correction and some sharpening. Those images were them run through an HDR algorithm and the two HDR composites were then stitched to create a slightly wider view of the scene (and a nicer leading line to the bottom right corner).

From there, I adjusted things such as the curves, levels, saturation levels and some noise removal. The lower half of the house still seemed grainy and dark, so I masked in a lighter exposure and blended until I was happy with the look of the house. I’m sure there were a few more tweaks here or there, but in a nutshell, that was the process.

Beach House

Beach House

Now for the second image, I tried a comparative edit.

The second image was a layer and mask luminous blend. The first steps in Lightroom were exactly the same. From there, I pulled up PhotoShop and opened the medium exposure for the centered red house image. It was well exposed for the sky, so that was my starting point.

From there, I layer on the lighter (over exposed) version and masked the image so that the sand (and the lower half of the house) from the lighter exposure and the sky from the medium exposure both showed on the same image. On top of that I layered the darkest version but adjusted the layer to somewhere between 5-10% opacity, so that it was adding texture to the shadows without darkening the overall image. This gave me a decent exposure for the whole image, and a good starting point.  A base image, if you will.

From there, I added curves, layers, saturation and other tweaks. The thing that really lent the image an appearance similar to the first photo, though, was a reduced opacity base layer copy set to overlay blending mode. Overlay blend does two things at once by combining Photoshop functions – it brightens the lights and darkens the darks, in essence bumping the contrast without affecting the base colors.  It gave the image pop, noticeably sharpening the detail of the photo. (Note, beware the halos when you try this!)

Overlay Example

Overlay Example

Just like anything else in the world of art, there are so many ways to get to your final image.  Edit experimentation is one of the many ways I use to find new ways to express myself through my photography. The more I practice and play, the more confident I am in my ability to apply polish to photos.

I truly believe we never stop learning in life.  Education enriches our life, keeps us healthy and feeds the things we are passionate about. So I encourage you all to practice, to play and to learn! As my good friend and monthly collab co-host Nick says, “Live Life::Love Life – Refuse to settle for anything less than your best self.” 🙂

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8 Responses to “The Answer”

  1. Nick Mayo June 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Live Life :: Love Life!!! Thanks Shannon 😀

  2. photosfromtheloonybin June 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Wow, I just hope that one day I will have a fraction of your editing knowledge!! Great job 🙂

    • seeingspotsphoto June 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Practice makes progress! =) The more you do it, the easier it will be. Just keep working at it and you’ll see results!!

  3. Jeremy June 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    wow, i was way off! Great shots, and great editing!

    • seeingspotsphoto July 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

      Thank you. =) Hopefully the ones from yesterday turn out well too! haha

  4. spiderpaw July 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Great article. With all of the plugins and changes to photoshop, one can never rest when it comes to correcting shots in post. I have been using photoshop for about 12 or so years, and I still come up with different ways to correct my photos. You are right about finding your own style, which is what I like about photoshop to begin with. It has so much latitude that everyone can learn from one another about something they might have never have thought of before.

    • seeingspotsphoto July 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      “It has so much latitude that everyone can learn from one another about something they might have never have thought of before.” So true! =) That’s the great thing about being part of a creative community…its not just the inspiration, its also the collaboration and education!

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