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HDR Backgrounds

Lesson 22 from: Commercial Photography: From Start to Finish

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

22. HDR Backgrounds


Class Trailer

Day 1


Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 1


Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 2


Ten Things You Need to Know about Branding


Shoot: One Side Light Beauty Shot Part 1


Shoot: One Side Light Beauty Shot Part 2


Shoot: One Overhead Light Headshot


Shoot: Edgy Three Light Setup Part 1


Lesson Info

HDR Backgrounds

So now again comes the fun part of what I call the second half of the creative process that is taking what we shot and building it into the magic that happens um and this is the beauty of where we're at today, especially the digital and with photo shop is there's an unlimited amount of creative options at our fingertips? Fingertips I guess you'd say so that is good or bad, right? Because now I got so many choices and it makes it hard. Um uh, so let's go back to my intuition. I would say this that when it comes to your intuition and you've established a confidence in that, then you can never go wrong. Every decision you make is the right one. How can you be challenged? How can if I say I'm gonna put this world here, vincent in an old abandoned building and I make that decision and I live with it, I say that's what I wanted that's my vision and you can either love or hate it or be indifferent to it, but I love it and my intuition tells me I did the right thing now, cliff, and are talking...

about the fact that you go back in time and you look at some of your masterpieces and they don't look like masterpieces anymore, right? Because you've moved on, your intuition has grown and your confidence has grown and your skills get set has grown so you're able to look back and say I should have made this choice or maybe but that's okay you know there's a lot of images that I have today that I could change I don't because I did him at a time when I believed that was the best choice and I still think you know I'm gonna live with that because I've moved on I got more I got too many images to work on now I'm not gonna go back in time and redo images but um but the good news is is my confidence is mike best guide and once you feel confident with that then you khun create and move on and sleep at night not worry about what other people are thinking so uh don't feel like you're overwhelmed with so many decisions you know I could tell you right now go shopping and start pulling church dresses whatever you're looking at um and you say I don't like don't like don't like don't like like next rack don't like don't like don't like like you know what you like same thing with photography you know what you like just keep working toward that now since I did lose my drive that has all these backdrops that I was hoping to pull from for this I do I did shoot some backgrounds on the way up the coast andi put him on this drive that was my solid state drive that actually went out um something happened got corrupted but anyways so I've got some backgrounds that I pulled from bakersfield and couple alleys I shot and so I don't know if we're going to use what exactly yet but let's take a look over at our folder with um cliff and leo so let's go to the ones that I picked um let's see here we can go but right here and I think some pretty cool stuff here so here's what I do my process is I look at a couple options I've got a fairly tight back up a little bit um backed up turned a little bit in the back of them that's a cool shot I'm having done I don't think I've done that too often here's one where he's getting ready to put his helmet I actually kind of like that um another one helmet on uh angles looking I don't open it yet cancel um looking up a little bit you know? So it's kind of that really stretched look um of course we've got john being knocked out that's the best shot of the whole day but sorry cliff um and this is the shot I like here I love that one love that one and I'm not sure we'll find a background see if we can put him in right so looking at these options and I did this in about thirty seconds in terms of picking so you know, like that kind of is a little bit of a rush scenario. I look at those and I say, okay, let's, go over to fort point. I had a couple backgrounds here that might work something like that with a forced perspective tunnel and, uh, there was just no wall there's, no wall that could be a great texture to put someone behind so that's an option. And then I had, um, where's my bakersfield stuff right here. Let's go to the the ones that I picked, we got a couple of alleys. I actually kind of like this one that might actually be good. So let's work on that. So I'm gonna show you how I do my hdr and this was with the pin tex six forty five z and I literally had, you know, was just the first hdr pictures that I've ever done with this, this new camera and I was a little bit, um, unsure about how it works. So what I did was it bracketed the ah, a combo of shutter speed and aperture, which is not something I really want to do, but I think we're fine, so I've got a normal and under and over, I think it's enough and you see a little crooked and all that stuff because I'm running down the alley shoot as fast I can uh walk in straight up and cliff you wanted to know how he did that so I'm gonna show you how to do that so I'm gonna grab these three images and I'm gonna go up to tools hold on a second my boards a little bit tight here tools photoshopped merged hdr pro so I used to work in a photo maddox ah for years but that is it gives me a sixteen bit file I want a thirty two bit file so I'm gonna show you how I do that when I make my magic and hopefully you'll see this process and how to get my backgrounds so this is gonna be a big file and all and I shot cliff on my cannon so we're gonna have a little bit resolution difference here but that's okay? We're going teo um still be able to pull it together. All right? So when you come up to this dialog box I think I'm not sure but I think it might default it's sixteen bit and it gives you all this stuff over here. Well, we don't want sixteen bit we definitely don't want eight bit that doesn't make any sense we want thirty two bit and it gives you an option to remove ghost now if I had ah, portrait. Where I shot three klicks, I would definitely hit remove ghost because it will automatically pick the face and freeze the face and let everything else go. Um, if I had leaves moving or something, the background a car to move in, birds flying through and I wanted to just have have everything frozen. I picked removed ghost and it picks you pick the bottom one down here, which once you want as your the one who picks and you can click on it and then it it'll if the birds flying perfectly in one spot, you go click that's the one it'll pick. So but there's nothing moving here so I don't need that. So I want to say complete. Was this a complete toning in, uh, adobe camera? Yes. So I hit down here tone it's now gonna blend it together is going to bring it into raw as a thirty two bit file. Remember, thirty two bit gives me a mile deep a concrete tons of support. I'm going to make my adjustments in raw. Get my shadow detail, get my highlight detail, get the tones that I want. Then I bring it over and make it into a sixteen file so people always say why would you go and go through the trouble of doing thirty two bit when you're gonna end up in sixteen bit? Well, because I wantto get the support I need in thirty two bit get my tones the way I want him, then bring him over into sixteen. That makes sense. So thirty two bit is I'm telling you right now, the future of where hdrs going, it gives me so much more depth of tones that really it's I I hope photo mannix goes to where you can process than thirty two bit I don't know at this point it says there's that option and I can't seem to get it to work. Nick does thirty two bit, and it actually doesn't really beautiful. Thirty two bit file. Uh, but I like photoshopped right now because I'm in photo shop is simple. Um, everything. We're pretty good with that. All right, so here we go. It's gonna open up here. It's a big file, these air, huge files. So I've got the thirty two bit file here. Um, I have got a couple options, primarily I want to pull detail out of my shadows and take the highlights and pull back any highlights that they're starting to blow a little bit, so I also know that in my process, I tend to build a little contrast so I'm gonna pull the contrast back a little bit and I'm going to really pull the clarity over clarity gives me some serious grungy kind of look now I can tell you this you pull that clarity slider over in thirty two bit it looks a lot cleaner than you could pull over and sixteen so this is one of the reasons why you want to do thirty two bit because there's less damage to all you know you're you're your image in general so I could do my I'm gonna build this pretty drop pretty dramatic here so I mean it may end up to be pretty dark but I'm going to give it a right about there that seems to be a pretty good pretty good value for me to bring it over into a photo shop now someone asked yesterday about sharpening you can't we'll go over here let's take a look this file is absolutely breathtaking I'm not gonna probably need any major sharpening but if you did a little sharpening here well that is a show a lot does it but you could do a little sharpening right there I don't typically do that but I'm just saying you could if you wanted and you remember I said what do you experiment? You take all the sharp any techniques that you know a playa mbta's an image take a look and see what fits your best what fits you best okay, so we have over here let's pull this over here we have our thirty two bit file I know it's thirty two bit because if I go over to image not image yeah image mode thirty two bit I can work in sixteen bit and still save it as a thirty two bit file you know I do that magic I take it it's already a smart object but I make it into another smart object a double smart object I don't want to call it but that keeps my file huge it with a lots of ram and I don't need that right now now if I was gonna maybe convert just the black and white and one of my tones whatever but I don't need that so what I'm gonna do is I'm going to flatten this yeah when you got if you're going to make adjustments as faras the distortion you have to not gonna flatten it right you can't I do it later, okay, I'm going to write yet I want to get to where I want and I'll show you how to do that. Um but now there was a bug in photoshopped in this process I'm not sure if they fixed it but I built a little action button to get around it so it's been a while since I've done it without the action button but here's what I believe I did let's just try it I flatten it and that is either I made it made my own let's go over here layer flattening that's I've made my own little quick and that is control option command f but I just flattened it I make another laywer duplicate go over here wait let's see if I did this right because I made my action button we want to convert to sixteen bit and I say don't merge flattened again and none of the tones change the old way if I just went and say convert to sixteen bit it takes it over camera adobe raw and it's like way overexposed and with lots of contrast and I talked to it it'll be bad and they said hoops so they say they're gonna fix it and I haven't tried it without the old I haven't tried your system yet so it may have been fixed but that's way in one way around it so I flatten it duplicated converted sixteen bit flatten it again okay so now I have a sixteen bit file but all my tones air there all the values no highlights are blown out shadow has the detail I want I'm ready to rock and roll all right so normally what I do here is I'm gonna ply the joel grimes edgy look right with that black and white overlay or ah layer so I'm not in wrong I'm not tied raw I've lost my contact too raw but thanks to cc if you're not using adobe cc or adobe camera sorry adobe photoshopped cc then you need to go out and get it and they're still friends or people e mail me all the time I'm trying to do this and I mean c s five why not aren't why aren't you updated? Well I don't want to be forced into by and you know whatever they all arguments you know but it's what nine dollars a month down ten dollars a month for for adobe cc and with with light room so get up to speed because all the instructors generally are going to be teaching in c c the latest version and photo shop is constantly being upgraded and photo shop has a little uh adobe has a little thing that shows you that from c s six two cc there was like eighty changes or something there were made between that time period between cee cee and now there's been two hundred changes that been made and with all on real ties all being updated constantly so you want to be current on photo shop so what I just did you can do it in six or see us five or c is for you can only do in cc so you want to be current so don't complain when you can't do it and you're still in see us for my done pretty okay, so because here's what I hear was what we can do in see see I do a command jay and I go up to filter camera raw filter I think it takes me right over back to raw now in my tied to mama the real true raw filed no, but I have all the functionality of a the raw options so what? I've been doing it for six years I can still do so I go over here convert to black and white take my tones let's kind of play around here a little bit I can I can build maybe build a little contrast there with my yellows uh let's see? Pull out little highlights there let's take a see what kind of blue's? Not a lot of blue there no green okay, so really the oranges and the yellows and reds are kind of what? Not really much red there either. All right, so but I had the pie of the flexibility of changing my tones with my black and white palate say okay and we'll do that here in a minute when we do uh the the portrait of cliff okay, I'm going to convert this to a bunny mode of either luminosity or soft light so soft light right now is probably fine if I goto luminosity let's see what that did to me not a lot but I do know that soft light which I've been using all along bills contrast gives me a good punch and he's gets my tones to do the kind of grungy look that I like if it's a little too much pull back the capacity so let's pull it back a little bit I'm now going to flatten that or merge down I think I can merge down now yes I can so you usually are the very first time you bring up image in you can't merge down you gotta flatten it once and then emerged at I don't know someone smarter than me could figure that out but I'm gonna cliff you ask this I don't do this on every image now but let's do another copy command j I'm going to give it a little bit what I called the bill via look a little bit of elvia everybody know what bill v is the film bell via that goes back a ways so I'm going to a little bit of elvia look because I know that I loved elvia and I was like in tears when I had to give up my veil via its like kodachrome you know I had to give give that up at one point so here I'm gonna go too blur so filter blur gazi blur and I'm gonna apply because this is a big file I using apply around fifteen to seventeen radius let's do about twenty four radius because this is a big old honking file so that should give me a pretty good uh blur and we're going to go to soft light and then we're going to take the opacity down we're going zero and build it up slowly so I get a little bit of softness little little bill via softness to it and I still want to keep it a little bit dark I mean I don't want to get too because this is going to be moved right? We want to create moody moody mood so let's maybe go to about there think that's pretty good I'm gonna flatten that or merge down command e now I'm gonna duplicate again command j I'm going to put a over a uh high pass to it filter other high pass I'm gonna ply eh? No more than three but two radius is probably plenty now I know that before when I was doing my ten other joel grimes look and people on the web would say what child's joel doing that and then someone to build a tutorial on how to get the job grams look and they would go and do something completely different when I did and they would ply all this high pass I mean like major hi passed well I don't not do use high pass very much I did the clarity you saw that right but I don't use a lot of high class so high pattern let's say clarity is kind of like giving a little bit of a high pass but here all I'm doing is taking hi pass and sharpening my highlights just slightly so it gives a little bit of punch now I might go to three radius and his crazy mood I might go for not much more net because it goes in applies too much now remember what I said gray overlay punches a hole through grade so I've applied a texture are in effect here and it makes it into a gray layer now I go to overlay boom punches a hole right through it that's what that's what overlay does now soft light look at the look at this texture up in here and it's great soft light is half of what the effect of overlay and to be honest with you there's my effect see it can you actually see it in there? Um so is giving me a punch in my highlights your little dots there dirt and grunge is getting punched up and I almost would say that to be honest with you that's a little too much for me I'm gonna back off just a little bit or hope someone overlay so let's go over to soft light half the effect actually that looks pretty good so if it turned off on that's not a bad um and so when I played that blur with overlay or the well via look this gives me back a little bit of my crime my christmas so it's just kind of countering that so I'm gonna merge down now I've got my my background kind of close to what I want in terms of ready to start the free transform so cliff, here we go. The first thing I want to do though, is I'm going to stretch this so I'm gonna come over to image canvas size and I'm gonna go by with let's go forty inches let's see what happens? Actually, I could go a little more net so let's, go back to canvass and we're gonna go to forty four now I do um let's see select all select all command a command t brings up free transform now because I want that one layer and I'm gonna hold down the option. Ault I'm gonna pull this to about there now you're saying joel, you're stretching pixels I am in fact what I'm gonna do, though before you go all the way let's just try something. I'm gonna come back a little bit and then and then I'm gonna hit um perspective and cliff here's how we do it straight my building up be careful and watch the right hand side there's a shadow of a telephone pole over here that's crooked cannot drives me crazy when that happens but I'm gonna watch my lines on these pipes over here that's about straight there that line's pretty straight there now my top line here it's a little crooked so I'm gonna go to my warp and I'm going to fix that a little bit see the distance between this window here and that window here this is a lot lower, right? So I'm gonna bring it up just a little bit by warping it's not much, but a match the height there that's clean background looks pretty clean in terms of this distance here is the same as that distance here and there. Okay, we got a little bit of warp were here when this is stretch that little part right there maybe you just bring the top of that over it's a little bit hit return now I did stretch my pixels and some purest may say he now had my tell schiff lands and then I worked in from that way I could probably have solved a little bit of this a lot of it d select but that's how I've been doing my backgrounds now when you look at an image of mine, I want my background I have a lot of detail but you know what? It's not the most important thing the most important thing is what you go right to the portrait. The person, so stretching a little bit of the background pixels does not affect my overhaul. Look, especially here, we got fifty one mega pixels.

Ratings and Reviews


Joel Grimes reflects the true meaning of a passionate modern artist. Seamlessly blending his old school film techniques in todays ever-changing digital world with such amazing realistic results. Not only in his own body of work, but achieving the same outcome while teaching LIVE, even when things don’t always run smoothly, much like the real world. Thank you Joel for sharing your hard work and talents, your struggles, most importantly, your honest open teaching style with such detail in every segment. Much appreciate CREATIVE LIVE for keeping it real with good talent, on and off screen showcasing common humanity in us all. Indeed, a revolutionary company. Manny DaCunha.

a Creativelive Student

As an editorial and photographic professional it's refreshing to find new cerebral information that goes beyond simple instruction. It was motivating to see Joel, a highly respected professional who is successful in "real-life", display his thought process, points to be successful, and insights into his art. When you have been in the industry, working full time, you need those moments to relax, visualize and re-energize so you can look at projects with a renewed vision and passion. Joel and his Commercial Photography course did that and more for me. If my schedule allowed, I would certainly join Joel at one of his workshops. Only thing better than this CreativeLive would be attending live. Thank you Joel.

Student Work