Finishing a picture

I often shoot studio shots. And these often need finishing – you cannot always shoot what you want in the camera, for very practical reasons. Like space.

Take this for example.  My friend and client Sarah, a physiotherapist, needed some portraits, including a shot of her with her table. We shot these Friday night. My studio is small, and even with a wide background, the table only just fit:

But “just” is enoughn.

So now the post work. I chose to do this in Lightroom’s “Develop” module, as usual.

  1. First, I straighten the image.
  2. Then I change the whites to make them fuller white.
  3. Then I adjust any other exposure paramaters.

These adjustments are minimal except for the whites: Lightroom 4 dims my overexposed areas; but I want them overexposed, since this is for white background web use. I shot them overexposed too – blinking furiously – but Lightroom sees latitude in the RAW file and pulls the whites back from what I did. So I correct that (“Whites” and “Highlights” adjustment).

And now I do the rest. I first use the clone too to roughly fill in the sides:

That’s rough, but a good beginning.

Now I turn on the overexposure warning (the right-side triangle in the histogram), and I use the local adjustment brush set to +2 exposure to fill in the whites properly. Once that is done, I see:

I then make last minute adjustments (such as using the brush to decrease the overexposure on the legs), and then I have my finished image, ready to go on the web:

That does not take long – that’s how it is done in Lightroom. Yes, I could have done it in Photoshop, but that would take longer. What I can do in Lightroom, I do in Lightroom – fortunately, that is almost everything.


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