Post Production Introduction
Now we're back at my studio in Tribeca, which I share with the retouching company, House. We're gonna be working with the lead retoucher here, Nicole. I've had a 10, 12 year collaboration with her that's incredibly important to me because she knows what I'm looking for, I can drop off my files which I did last night, and she knows how to prepare them, so I'm not with her the whole time, so I can come in and work for about 15 minutes on each of the images, and piece in together final color work, and then some perspective control that I think will be very interesting for all of us to do. One thing about a collaboration like this, working with a retoucher, it's expensive. But it's worth it for me, retouching is an art form that is very very different than shooting. So now we're gonna go work with Nicole on the original files that I shot with the client, we're gonna cover some techniques, what my process is, and how we put it all together to achieve a final image that embodies the look of ...
My name is Nicole, I've been a retoucher here at House for about 10 years, I'm one of the senior retouchers here, I do mainly all of Scott's work, along with other photography and retouching. So we're just gonna go through kind of the process of how Scott hands me off the drive, and going through kind of his work flow for his post-production. So, Scott usually gives me his hard drive, he puts all the images on the server. The server backs up the drive onto a backup every night so that there's two backups on the server. Here you can see that we've separated out the raws, there's a images folder where all of the processing happens, so once I import all of the raws into Lightroom, which is where I do all the processing, we could take a look at all of his bracketing, so you can see here, this is the first shot. So in the first stage, we mark kind of like the base image. The main image that has a good overall exposure, some things might be plugged up in shadow detail, and some things might be really blown out, in the window over here. We'll pick that as the main, and then we'll go through all of his brackets and look at shadow detail, or highlight detail. So here you can see that the highlight detail is a little bit more viewable, and then we'll pick maybe one more if it's still kind of blown out, like this one. And then we'll process them out, and they'll be processed into the images folder, right here, and then from there we will combine them together to make a final image, so that we can start our post-production. So this is the final image. At the bottom here you can see that the main image is here, this is the highlight, and this is the second highlight, so that we have broadened these exposures so that the image looks nice and happy. So in architectural photography, especially for Scott, he likes to have a full range, a tonal range, in his images. So the camera can't capture a complete tonal range because just the limitness of a camera, so we wanna bracket so that we can capture everything that the human eye sees. So he will do this so that he can make adjustments later, if he wants it blown out he can have it blown out, if he wants to bring a different view he has that option as well. But it's really so that he can have the ability to be able to do whatever he wants with the image so that he can achieve the best quality image. So after we're done with all of the combining of the layers, or exposures, we will go into retouching the image. And when I say retouching, we call it lighting for Scott, mostly it's because we want to bring out the most, I guess the best part of the image. And because he shoots with natural light, sometimes there's light that doesn't get to one part of the room, so we'll go through and do some lighting, where we brighten some things, darken some things, sometimes we'll mask out a piece of furniture, or a wall to desaturate any light that's spilling over and causing weird color casts. So after we're done with the lighting, we will take all these layers and stamp visible on top. Which basically takes all of these layers, flattens them together and puts it on top of the layer stack. We do this because, so that we could do selective perspective, and also do additional retouching, like take out outlets or vents or any lighting that Scott does not want in the image. So Scott uses selective perspective, in order to bring the image into a more real kind of space, because the lens of the camera actually distorts the sides of the image. So what he'll do is selectively select sides of the image to bring them in, or to perspective correct them so that they look more like what the other furniture looks like in the middle of the image. He does this, he's one of the photographers that does it more than other photographers, and I think that really separates him from other photographers, because he really brings reality to the architecture, and he doesn't leave this weird distorted chair at the end of the image. So after perspective, we will go through the image and do markups. So the way I do it is I make an empty layer on top of the image, or the layer stack. And I will take a very bright color, like red. And kind of make a small opaque brush, and I'll go through, and he'll tell me, take this vent out, and take these little lights out, there might be little sensor dust, or maybe outlets or little objects peeking through the image that he might not want, any smoke detectors, sometimes there are design elements that the client does not want in there. And he will ask for those things to be removed as well.