Before and After #5
Due to popular demand, here’s another one of my before and after posts. I’ll begin this post with a photo by William Lee, I’m always jealous of all the cool cars he gets to shoot. And when he sends some of his photos for me to edit, it just teases me even more so. Here is a nice Nissan GT-R he shot at Auto Talent. This was his first venture into using strobes so he was a bit confused as to what to do. Judging by the photo, only the front of the car was lit and the rest was lighting from the shop. My first impression was the contrast was lacking, which was probably due to the fact that the camera settings he used was a longer exposure and with a couple different light sources, the darker shadows were not there. So I first took the liberty of correcting the contrast. Shooting a white car is always fun, the contrast is easier to deal with without having to worry about over saturating or desaturating a car’s paint. The easiest way to tell if a car has enough contrast is if you can still make out the body lines of the car and the shadows/highlights are easily differentiable. In this case, my aim was to bump the shadows up to make the body lines more apparent and since the GT-R has such strong body lines, it make the job a lot simpler. Next up I lit the whole side of the car which did not match up with the front to begin with. The front was lit up more than the side. Along with the side, I “strobed” the wheels in Photoshop and corrected the mag blue color spoke by spoke and brake by brake. Again, when you try to bump the exposure, brightness, or something similar in Photoshop, the colors will tend to be a little off so it doesn’t hurt to take some time out to correct the color to make it all blend correctly. After that I cloned out a few stray elements from the car. Of course after the car was edited, it still blended into the background and foreground so I liberally bumped down and darkened it making the photo look like it was strobed with 3 strobes. One from the front and each of the wheels. I tried to make the finished photo as believable as possible. One of these days I plan to make a tutorial on how to “strobe” non-strobed photos in Photoshop, so keep an eye out for that.
Next up we have a photo by Ben Young who was lucky enough to photograph the celebrity model Leng Yein who was crowded Ms. World in 2003. Since I wasn’t lucky enough to photograph her, I offered to help with a mock edit of one of his photos of her. Most of the critique that I have of this photo will come even before editing. The first thing that caught my eye was the weird vignette on the right. If I were to say where that vignette came from, I would say that it came from the the right strobe pointing too angled to the left. That would be a major part to work on in post. Another blatant element was that the sofa was crooked and pushed a tad bit too far back on the left side. The photo would have been perfect if these two elements were fixed off camera, which means less post work. Anyway, there was nothing I could have done about that. In Photoshop, I corrected the white balance from the strobes and natural lighting. The fact that she stood out a lot due to her bright red dress would help a lot to distract from the slanted sofa. I cloned out a bit of the sofa to make it seem more uniform on both sides, lighting and position-wise. Overall, this was my favorite edit.
Finally, we have Casey Durham’s photo of a Nissan S13 from Australia. When I first saw this photo, my eyes immediately landed on the “Kangaroo Crossing” sign. Awesome since we don’t have those in the states and I’ve never seen an actual kangaroo before. However because of that fact, I knew that the signs would be distracting. The general edit of this photo took a lot of cloning. I took the right side of the photo and flipped it to the left then cloned out dual elements. Thankful the car was perfectly aligned horizontally or else it would not have worked out great. Of course when you use this method you’d have to clone out a lot of things to make it seem like it was not flipped. After the flip, I took out the cyans and blues on the car since it was a black car. Then I bumped the contrast a lot to make the car stand out. The over hanging trees now made the car even more of a focal point and since Casey used a nice f-stop, it gave that “never-editing” effect.