Editor’s note: Due to technical issues we’ve lost the images on this article. Our sincerest apologies.
No matter how big your studio is, chances are it’s not big enough. I shoot on a piece of white vinyl 5 metres wide. I’ve talked about the photographing side of what I do already and now I’ll share a couple techniques I use for editing – and sometimes rescuing – studio photography done the white seamless way.
1. Open your raw image in LR and create a virtual copy.
2. On the first image, I play with the sliders until I’m happy with exposure, blacks, clarity (oooh how I love that little slider), etc. For this image, I want the final result to be very contrasty, sharp, maybe a bit comic book superhero-y. So that’s where the second virtual copy comes in. After editing the first so it’s still realistic, I go to the second and click ‘previous’ to copy the same treatments of the first image to the second.
3. After making the second image like the first with ‘previous’ button, I then do some more drastic things. I’m not worrying about what it does to his face – I just want the chair and the krinkles in his jeans to stand out. Part of what I did was increase the clarity. And this is what I end up with:
4. Export the photos and open then in PS. Yes, I know – I only use PSE – don’t laugh at me! Layer the darker image over the lighter. I used the ‘overlay’ blend mode, opacity 20%. Here is a close up:
5. I’m actually quite happy with the look of his face. If I hadn’t been, I would have use the head from one of the layers instead by erasing the unwanted layer, but it’s ok because it turned out well. Sometimes I play further with the layers, seeing what will happen if I adjust the contrast, brightness, blur or sharpening of the layers to see what happens. Then I flatten the image in the layers palette.
6. Now we need to correct the edges where the paper and light stands got in the way. I just use a brush and for the colour, I take periodic samples with the dropper tool to make sure I’m using the right shade of white. Then, I crop around the subject using a ‘no restriction’ size so as to make sure that I’m including all the floor shadow I need.
7. Now the part where you make your studio look like an unlimited amount of space. I got this idea from Zack Arias and I use it regularly, especially to make children look smaller in proportion to their surroundings. Ok here goes. Use the crop tool again but after it has selected the whole image, drag it out in any direction you want. Make sure that in the colours palette on the left, white is still selected as it was when I did the dropper tool before.
8. And you end up with this:
9. Now, take your computer screen and turn it down towards the keyboard a bit. You’ll be able to see the delineation between the shadows and the white. Sometimes after doing this space-extending crop, there is a line between the white of my original image and the white of the added space and you’ll need to take care of that, otherwise it will show in printing. But I find it useful to look at the image on the screen from all different angles – you’ll be surprised what pops out at you.
This technique can be used for images with any solid colour background. I commonly do it with black as here:
And there you have it. You’ve edited your photo and added space to your studio from the comfort of your own computer chair!