Best Workflow Practices for Architectural Photography


Best Workflow Practices for Architectural Photography


Lesson Info

Putting Together the File in Photoshop

So now that hopefully we kind of understand masks and how to create them, I want to show you how I used masks to ab my flashed um, flash components to the image. So here we are, back in photo shop here, here's me with my light. What I'm gonna do is I love love love how clean this looks compared to the ambien exposure, this kind of looks money to my I like it just looks there's not a lot of contrast, there's not a lot of definite. When you add the flash, you get a lot of christmas crispness in the image, and it really helps to bring out the textures in the fabric and the you know, down here in the fireplace, we get that courts with without anything, it just looked kind of money to me. I don't know what it looks like on the screen up here, but when you're watching it like in full resolution in front of you is a big difference, so what I do is I add flash, and that helps me control the highlights, helps me control the light a little bit better, helps to clean everything up and get the rea...

lly sharp christian image that I love, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to again, I'm just going to click my add layer math button, right and I'm going to select my brush and I have my empty mask on top of me and I want something foreground color black, which is as I told you a few minutes ago, black hides in white reveals so currently our masters all white I want to use the black brush behind some things, so obviously I want to hide myself I'm just gonna brush myself out, but I was going to see the flash it kind of affects the color of the image and it effects like, you know, the flash the different color temperature than the sun, so what I'm going to do is just kind of get rid of myself as best as I can and then I know that I had another flash pop that I set off into the right hand side of the room which took care of the windows in the view and this is right here so you can see my math down here and it's kind of a big and sloppy and messy, but I got ninety percent of what I wanted to yet and I have got my labeled lay here flashing to upper right? What that's going to dio I'll drag it on top, you can see it is going to fill in where I was standing so as they move around the room and I flashed in different parts, I kind of reveal different parts of the room get myself out of the way to something up, get myself out of the way, and then cut myself out waiter and photo shop to kind of get the the image that I'm looking for. So again, using a mask this time, what I'm going to do is I'm gonna click on add layer mask, which is going to fill it with black, and I'm going to set my brush too, you know, big soft brush I'm gonna hit x to switch my foreground and background colors so that white will reveal that black mask as you see it's all black, I just want to reveal that I'm gonna paint it in. We're going to get the same color consistency, the same quality of light and down here it looks a little wonky to me. I don't know if you can see that like odd highlight that's from this frame running over, so I'm going to adjust the capacity of my brush and that's done by using this scrubber up here or personally, I used the number keys up top. I'm gonna set my capacity to, like fifty, and I'll go to thirty percent and I'm going to kind of brush out some of that highlight and now you can see the bed's still looks flashed, it looks like it's last from this frame down here but we still get the natural evenly lit feel and I'm just going to use the brush here again at thirty percent capacity to kind of take out some of the harsh flash that's been left over but my sloppy brushwork but I mean guys, this is five seconds of brushwork and look it looks like way better than it did with just the ambient only so there's obviously still some problems that I see like outside the window I'm in the reflection it doesn't look as good as it did a few minutes ago so I'm gonna go back and I'm going to grab that window frame and I'm gonna masking some window let's see some back in my room I want to find my window again and it turns out that I was looking at that and looked a little bit dark so when I adjust the exposure here in light room make the window a little bit brighter and I'm gonna get it in a w photo shop a little light room shortcut just right click on the image bring it right back in the photo shop and I'm going to shift, click and drag on top of my current working document which automatically aligns it with everything else so as you can see the windows where it should be and now what I'm going to do is really quick I'm going to use the pen tool to get in there cut out those windows and get our view back saw disco as quickly as I can and I start to kind of use the pen to like that I'm adding a little curve to follow the windows up here again we could use a nice big curve to follow um e any questions I can answer while I'm doing this one if I can multitask oh that's a good question let me pull some up here uh we do have a question here mp photography when creating two separate layer masks one for each photo toe add the flashlight to the room could you copy the first mask and then just invert it? Um I'm not sure I follow specifically so also she means when I'm have one flash frame and another just use that masculine inverted and but so for this image we might be able to get away with that but a lot of the time like I have a much more complicated scene in front of me and I'm doing ten eleven, fifteen, twenty flash pops and that's where it gets really complicated so I've never actually tried that but I imagine you know on a simple image might work but I know a lot of the time I'm doing very complicated masking with you know upwards of ten flash pot oops it might not be a viable in that kind of setting so almost done here with the mask um in again this is all larible the pen tool, especially like I didn't want to touch it for years and it was one of those things where someone had to, like, force me into using it. Then I discovered that little game that I showed you and anything gets fun as soon as a game and there's like other people like that's me, I'm just super competitive person and people have, like, high school is not like, who is this? You know, who is this dude who did this in five seconds? I could be that so I live in the pen tool, you know, in this competitive way and it it just made it so much more fun, and now I could not live without it, so I'm just gonna do this like, I think when I did this picture spent like, a half an hour on this just being as detailed as possible, but for the sake of you guys not falling asleep on, just clicking away, I'm gonna do this as quickly as I can, all right on that comes up okay, so we have pen tool around all of the windows, right? When yet command enter, I was pretty sloppy, theirs are marching and dotted line selection, I'm going to hit shift a five f I'm sorry, I'm on a laptop, so function shift at six feather this election toe a feather of one radius to kind of blow it and make it more natural and now I'm going to add a mask and boom there's your windows okay, so this is looking pretty good we're almost getting there but there's one more thing that I want I really want to take care of and even though I thought our ambient layer the light was pretty ugly but I love them I love the shadow I love the depth that it had like you can't beat natural light for representing what it is so what I'm gonna do is I'm going to go into photo light room if you remember earlier I mentioned I also like this picture it had great ceiling, you know had like some wonderful mood to it I'm going to grab this frame and I'm gonna edit that in adobe photo shop and when it does I'm gonna steal some of that great ambient light and I'm going to mix it at a low opacity to kind of tie everything together and blended together seamlessly so it doesn't look so flashy it looks natural, but the flash is there to help support it and give contrast in depth, but we have this natural feel to it again that was kind of funky like we're just back to square one so I'm gonna do is I'm going to get the blood mode the luminosity and what that does is always going to do is, um, leave the the shadow and highlight information in the frame and just going impressed that onto the onto the photograph. So it's just leaving the blue minutes, the brightness and we're going to use that to kind of bring back from that natural feel to it somewhere. Um, all quick on the layer math care and I wantto say thirty percent with my brush was gonna start brushing in a little bit of it, and you can see some of that natural feel coming back that we still retain the flashiness, which gives us the believability it's like, if you were standing right there, we could see the view, but no camera could ever captured at, so I'm just going to use my and being luminosity let layer here to kind of add some believability back in, and I'm gonna take it one step further. I'm going to duplicate that layer, and I'm going to delete this later mask and when is that the blend mode to normal? And I was pretty sloppy on the ceiling. I'm going again all click black layer mask, take a brush thirty percent and I like, I love the color, so I'm just gonna brush some of that natural white color. Back into the ceiling and get rid of some of the flashing it's that I couldn't control because I'm just doing this with two pictures so and that I mean to me it looks pretty good um let's zoom in here and just take a quick look for any ever is like you can see a little bit of the shadow from the flash that's a one hundred percent and you're never going to notice that way out here whereas if I had just left it flashing it might be a distracting little thing and I can just kind of brush it out be gentle and I'm just kind of tying with altogether so hiding my tracks leading my flash away but keeping the good the good parts of the flash so that to me looks like we're getting pretty close to being done um let's see what else can I do? And like I said, I love teo asked this question because you mentioned the idea of like looking at it one hundred percent versus actual resolution what's your at what point in the workflow do you actually go down to one hundred percent do you ever or is it just kind of thing where you go back and forth as you're constantly going? I uh I'm a big picture kind of guy more often than not last zoom out like look away and you know I'll have a laugh people be like what's wrong with this picture and you know because a fresh set of eyes is what it takes and when you're in there are one hundred percent like you lose sight of the forest for the trees you know it's a cliche saying but it's true andi I start focusing on little details which is good he should be detailed focused but there comes a point of reason where you need to back up and look at it so when I'm doing this blending I'm definitely like one hundred percent the bigger the brush the easier it is to cover your tracks and unbelievable it's going to be when you get in there and like you try to manhandle it and get all detailed with it that some people start seeing like like funky things in there so I'm you know big picture big brushes soft like easy greatest easy transitions between they kind of make it look natural so we still have our windows let's see there's the window view that we like turn that back on it's looking pretty good um if you notice that the uh I let my ambient layer kind of run onto the windows and kind of muddy it up so I want to do is going to make that selection again command quick on that later math there and I'm gonna go up here on this luminosity layer and I'm gonna hit x to hide and I'm just gonna paint out the xs over the windows that we retain like this crisp ocean view and that might be a little bit too unbelievable like you just like screams at you, I'm an ocean view, so in my opinion, I'm just going to dial that capacity on that whole layer to make it look more natural. Um, so let's see that kind of covers like the basics and the tools that I'm using to get through from point a to point b and I kind of want to just go in and talk about some of the, you know, some of the clone tools that I use, like a lot of times clients are going to have you removed speakers and fire hydrants and that sort of thing. So what I like to do like this is something that you could, you know, use the clone brush for you can get in there and the clone brushes very similar to the paint brush in terms of control, use the brackets bigger and smaller to make it softer and harder and larger and bigger left and right brackets and you can sample something and you can again big, soft brush everything I clone something like I'm just in love with, like, the bigger the brush, the better because that's, when people are not going to notice that anything's, you know, if I get in here I started to use like a small brush very hard small brush and I try to clone it like just going it's like it was goofy instantly so soft brush and you want to like take a big giant sample and I usually work it like thirty percent opacity grab that the whole point is like because we can't we can't hide anything in boca like a portrait photographer like everything the same which has to be scrutinized and you wanted to all look seamless when you're looking at it so the bigger the brush you used the better you know anything little is going to draw attention to itself because you want that you resigned to get in there and move around so the better we can cover the tracks the better our picture's gonna look well, I can clone that out I'm also a content aware feel kind of guy so what I will do is I'm gonna compress I'm gonna flatten everything to a new layer which is command option shift and I'm going to use the content aware tool I'm just gonna hit em and the political marquis rectangular marquis whatever it is and I'll go like this and, uh shift five for the film window and I'm just gonna change it to content aware okay and it's gone they're handy little clone tool thing that I used especially in those tougher areas with a severely settled radiant of light um let's see what else can we clone out here so I'm not totally sold on some of this stuff up here on the window sill again we can get in there I'm just using the clone brush again nice and soft make sure we keep everything lined up clone it out um I'm just kind of looking around at what might be you know okay I know what I see so I see a little bit too much yellow coming through in the curtains here I think it's just the way that the light is kind of hitting them from behind have you got that glow when and I don't like yellow so I'm gonna add a ah human saturation adjustment layer and again this is a mask just like any other layer and I'm going to grab this little hand tool here is kind of an eyedropper thatyou can you grab the color that you wanted to saturate and you can pull it left to take out the yellow but it's going to affect our entire image I just want to kind of clean up you know, some of those areas in the curtains with the yellow so I'm gonna pull it down to what I think it looks about right and then I'm going to use the paint bucket tool very, very civilized here I said it the black fill the mask with black that's like a brush and start rushing back in some of that de saturated curtain and get those looking they're like great cream color and that yellow kind of is too much for those so I'll drag goes in and again soft rushes to cover your tracks so you can't tell whether the mask ends and begins and then I think I know some people like you know that like bright white magazine look so again we can use that same human saturation and kind of pull out some of the yellow and we can reveal that mask in the ceiling could get rid of some of the yellow cast on the ceiling I don't want to be too heavy with it because I know there's a very subtle kind of yellow a designer built into this thing so let's see all right that's looking pretty good to me this is a judgment call I get a lot of people a lot of questions about fixing the tv in the room do I put the house on it? Do I put uh hollywood screen seriously? Like a lot of real estate photographers, they like to put pictures of the house on the tv what I think is after nine but they still do it. What are you saying? You don't sit in your room and watch one of your own house? I know I lay on my bed and watch pictures in my house all the time so what I do is I used the, uh, whatever selection tool that you prefer uh let's just say the pentacle and some people put like little boca frames in there and out of focus kind of things I'm personally a fan of ingredient, so I'll make a selection of, you know, the tv itself and all federal I feather everything obsessed with just soft lines so feather one pixel uh and then what I'm gonna do is create a new layer grab my grady in tool black to white so sg and what I wanna do is drag that across let's see, in such a way that looks less distracting now I'm going to reduce it like that looks good, it looks like clean what I'm going to do is reduce the opacity because I want some reflection now I like that a lot because this looks like I lost control of that part of the picture that kind of covers it up it looks nice it's just super simple thing and I think you know, tvs or like the death of interior design, so I usually try to shoot around them in the face with one and I have to do something with it that's what I'll do to kind of clean it up and get rid of it and that's what you're doing great again black to white solid on changing the opacity so let's see, this is that point in the image I was cruising around looking for things that I can fix before I finalize it and I want to show you guys how kind of wrap it up here so the last tool that I use and wesley is the skew tool in the ruler tool to drag out it's very important architectural photography that all of your vertical lines are very straight it's like if you shoot this product for an architect or a home builder or whatever and you know the walls the corners and the joints are straight they're leaning over the picture it's like well it recently telling that guy that you don't think he does good work because take a picture of his house in his cooking and as soon as you tell the lens like this in any way you're going to get some of that keystone ng so I always make sure at the end tio I'm gonna hit command are and get my ruler's out and I'll drag a ruler over to all my vertical lines here that I think are important to the picture and as you can see was kind of off right there it slants a little bit and over here and I'll try to make sure that everything is nice and upright and I'm going to command option shifty flatten all to a new layer that let command t to get into the transformed tool and I will start schooling so let's see, I'm going to drag this handle up here, and I'm going to align all of the vertical lines with the ruler and make sure that I zoom in and everything looks nice and straight that looks good. This is the time to be one hundred percent, you know, like this is this is critical. So you want to make sure that the building looks true and plumbing in true to scale and true to shape and everything, like, I see a lot of real estate photographers for some reason, they want to capture it all, so, like, we'll tilt up and the lines go crazy, and I'm like you guys like if the builders saw those he'd have an aneurysm because it makes it look like he built this crooked building and, you know, he probably spent the year was life on it, and he prides himself on getting it straight and true. And, you know, the question is, where do yeah, portrait photog say, could you please comment on avoiding wide angle? Lens created perspectives when taking photos? They asked, how do you take your photos to avoid too much perspective changes again, this isn't a shooting classes about the the post processing, so at what point do you start worrying about this? Is this when you start to correct those things if say you're working on someone else's images and you didn't shoot it right or you just didn't shoot it right sometimes that happens I mean it the answer is with everything almost everything it depends like it depends it depends on the assignment it depends on the client if it's you know, like I said an architect and they want to show the building as it is you don't need to go to seventeen millimeters and get this kind of wide crazy exaggerated perspective but some real estate agents I don't understand why they go nuts for the super wide angle thing and they insisted they insist upon it and in that case like you know it's a matter that comes down to like do I want the paycheck or I want to create these arty farty photos that represented in a true kind of way that's kind of a judgment call that you have to make but in terms of correcting you know, wide angle distortion there are a number of ways to do it you can use puppet work I can tell you that real quick that's actually kind of a good thing this image is not too terribly distorted, but they're a little bit but you can use puppet warp the kind of pulling your edges and kind of make it look you know maur less distorted rather more natural but again that's getting into like you really have to be into an image in the one spending hours and hours and hours upon it not something I suggest for like a quick warning one hundred dollar real estate shoot so the other one that was questioned by fernando braga and ali twenty nine ninety nine was why don't you use adaptive wide angle filter to straighten out the image? Is that one of the options that you sometimes yeah it's one of those things like leg room has a great perspective correction tool as well and sometimes it just thinks too much for you and I don't know I learned on like photoshopped cs two or something and there was none of this is crazy doodads, you know, they didn't have content where this perspective correction that are popular but the puppet warp that and like content aware perspective and I just find that doing like photo shop again it's an amazing program but sometimes it just thinks that it knows too much and it photo shop does not have an artistic eye it just doesn't to an album with him that's the end of it so like in some cases it does work but and I've learned that the case is that it does work perfectly are rare enough that it's better to just do it on my own so I mean in architectural photography is one of those things were like you have to be exacting and you have to be very diligent and how you do it and the less control you have the more I freak out so so let me finish this real quick this is just the perspective correction I I want to show you someone I mentioned puppet warp so I'll show you that really quickly it is that c puppet warp is in the edit a drop down menu and what puppet warp does is it allows you to set control points all over the image to change the it creates a pixel map technological terms that I'll understand but what it does is it allows you to set control points all over an image with little pins here and like it's just say that this tv looks like it could be a little bit stretched so what I want to do is adjust everything on this side of the image to kind of make it look more natural so I'm going to set my control points along this ruler line here and I'm going to set a couple up here and what I'm going to do is drag these control points in I'm gonna set up in the er see, you know I'm good so I'll drag his control points in the kind of lesson that distortion a little bit and what it's doing is kind of unstrung ing all of that area and make me look like we didn't shoot it with such a wide angle and I think this was about thirty five millimeters but the focal length has nothing to do with perspective distortion is all about distance to the camera you consume seventy millimeters and if you're far enough away from something it's not gonna be distorted so there's puppet warp I just enter to confirm it and as you can see a kind of smushed everything up on that side and if you think that tv is stretched maybe it's a little less stressed now but as you can see like it only affected that right hand side of the image um I did like a quick and dirty job on it but that's puppet warp and if you do have a situation where at seventy millimeters near backed into a corner it looks all kinds of wonky you can use puppet warp to kind of control that distortion and take everything back to a point where looks manageable. So that's something that I very rarely use I don't think this picture warrants it it could be like a tiny bit distorted but we can crop it no big deal so after my little aside there I think this image as faras photoshopped this concern is about done so I'm gonna go ahead and hit apple s or command us to save it and it's going to uh save it right back into light room this is why I love light room like capture one and aperture I don't even opportunity even a thing I think they stopped updating it I love which is unfortunate but I love that lighter miss seamlessly integrate with photo shops we can jump between the two programs and saving photo shop open open light room opening footage back and forth no problem so while this saves um well wait for it there one second any questions for the safe? How about you guys out there in the room you leave mike do you sharpe and how much to sharpen and winter? Where do you sharpen? I have never shot one image in my entire life. I don't sorry I thought that was really surprising, like I usually when I think about it I think like architecture er and something that needs to be really precise and sharp whereas you kind of have a little bit more leeway in portrait's where it's all flowing I feel that sharpness comes from lighting more than pixel pushing. I feel like if the if the human doesn't have like if the image doesn't look sharp, you know at say, I'm looking at a twenty five percent like ways even got it doesn't look sharp that I know I felt with my lighting because it's flat and this kind of muddled together and the reason I use lighting is because it gives that great mic micro contrast and it gives a lot of texture which comes out of sharpness and I find that, you know, it's just it's just one of those things that, like, I think it helps with blending is that when you don't have a super sharp image, you can get away with more you can get away with lightning, you could get away with window replacements leaves makes it more believable. It's kind of soft I think interiors should be soft and inviting like you see a picture like I want to be there right now like in a really sharp image, like when you start to see little jackie's and flex and that kind of thing um, it just takes away from the effect so personally like I like to not sharpen, I like to, you know, let my blending kind of not be exacerbated by the sharpness because, like, like, like you saw if we don't do a perfect window blend and you have that little black line at the edge, what shopping gonna do it's gonna make it worse, you know? So I like to cover my tracks just my way of doing that, and I think it adds, like, I think my picture's, after so many years, have kind of taking on a soft, inviting, athletic and I think sharpening them would mess with that. So some people probably cursing their computers right now, like this's ridiculous. This guy knows nothing, but I don't. I don't sharpen my images now. So, um, I do have some of my fine ourself. I print really big, and I sent it to the printer, and when he enlarges it, he will do his sharpening thing on it. But in terms of architectural stuff, I don't. I don't get involved with sharpening. And besides, like I just, you know, like the lenses that we're using are so sharp, like the sixteen, thirty five, twenty four millimeter until she f seventy millimeter till shift were at eleven. Faa, like we're already in the sharpest part, you know, we're not at one point for shooting a headshot. We don't need to do that. So that's, my long winded take on that. That was perfect.

Class Description

Architectural retouching can be daunting – this class makes it easier to manage all of those layers and adjustments and helps you tackle complex edits.

To get you started, fine art and architectural photographer, Mike Kelley will share his preferred method for image organization, culling, and selection. He’ll go over all of the basic editing tools he uses and explain how they can be used to create an architectural image with well-controlled light, color, and mood. You’ll learn an easy-to-follow system that will keep you organized and make managing enhancements to architectural photos much easier.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2