A Little Photoshop Makeover

Our retoucher, Adam Caselman shares a unique perspective on post production.

Here was a situation where the conditions for making a beauty shot were a little less than awesome, so I gave it a healthy dose of Photoshop. This is a shot from a project we did in Washington DC for Ply Gem. There was quite a bit to do on this photo, and I remember sitting in my chair looking at this thinking, ‘Where do I start?’ I think the best approach is to just pick the most obvious thing, make it look fantastic, then move on to the next thing. Just about everything in the image has been worked on in some way, so put on your gloves kids, we’re about to get messy.

The most obvious things to me were the basketball pole, the ‘Case’ pole just to the left of that, the zig zag gutter in the middle of the frame, and the mailbox on the left. Everything must go! While these tasks weren’t like flipping on a kitchen light, I luckily had enough material around the objects. The challenging part of taking these objects out was cloning the siding of the house and keeping the pattern believable. The mailbox and the ‘Case’ pole weren’t hard to deal with, but the basketball goal and the gutter were tricky.

Now that the cloning was done, I felt like I could take on the house. The large tree on the left was shading the left side of the house, so I had to lighten the left side and even out the tone. The tone gradually changed from right to left on the house, so I had to do my best to match that, lots of feathering. Then the color of the shutters had to be bumped up. Easy enough.

Next came the grass, which I had to bring in from a shot we had on hand that we use for cloning in grass. Grass can be very tricky to match. Special attention needs to be given to the time of day when putting completely new grass into a scene. Even the contrast of the grass needs to be correct for the time of day, or it won’t be convincing. The driveway needed replacing, and in an amazing coincidence Alistair came back the day I needed a new shot for it with a nice clean shot of a driveway, almost like it was meant to be.

The last piece was more challenging than I originally thought, the sky. I was able to replace the sky without too much painting. I used a series of contrast and color selections. Those techniques saved me what might have been hours in painting. Phew! I’m really pleased with how the image turned out, especially the cloning. I’ll admit to smiling when I flick through the before and after shots. I hope the client did too.

Credits:

Photographer: Alistair Tutton

Assistant: Adam Caselman

Retoucher: Adam Caselman

Author: Adam Caselman

Client: Ply Gem

Client: Blacktop Creative

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