a20 August 2014

Post-processing Wednesday: Christmas market

before after

Time for another post in my Post-processing Wednesday series. For more posts from this series go here.

In this case Before photo is 0 EV photo without any adjustments and After image is finished image that I manually blended using luminosity masks in Photoshop.

About source images

There is still some time before next Christmas but today I decided to show you how I edited image captured during exactly that time of the year almost 2 years ago.

You can read more about the image itself in this post. Well, image in that post is slightly different but it shares EXIF data as I was shooting with same parameters for almost whole evening.

As you can see in the Before photo above, some highlights were slightly blown out, especially in the areas near light sources. At the same time some areas were darker than I intended them to be, eg. sky and buildings on the right. So I decided to capture HDR image and for that purpose I took 7 exposures at 1.5 EV spacing. You can see all exposures below sorted from brightest to darkest:
Bracketed photos in Lightroom

Darkest exposure have all lights correctly exposed and brightest one (+2 EV) exposes shadows correctly.

Editing in Lightroom

As always I started my editing in Lightroom. This time I moved tint of White Balance to +24 to make the image a little bit more magenta. I also applied lens corrections in Lens Corrections tab by checking both Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration settings.

After that I exported all my source images to Photoshop for manual blending.

Editing in Photoshop using Luminosity Masks

After finishing processing my images in Lightroom, I opened them in Photoshop CC and used luminosity masks to first blend them and them improve contrast and colour a little bit.

In the image below you can see what layers exactly I used to create final image. Starting from bottom up they are:
  1. Manual blending - this layer group shows all the layers I used to blend images. I used 0 EV photo for almost whole image apart from brightest and darkest areas (for them I used darker and brighter exposures respectively).
  2. Midtones contrast - I first applied just a little bit of midtones contrast using Curves adjustment layer.
  3. Blues saturation - then using Hue/Saturation adjustment layer I increased saturation and lightness of the blue areas (houses on the left, big Xmas tree on the right).
  4. Lights saturation - at this stage I thought that some areas have still too low saturation - especially ones close to light sources. So I created another Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, increased saturation using it and using layer mask limited it only to the brightest parts of the image.
  5. Darks clarity - at this stage I was pretty happy with what I had. However, the image lacked a little bit of details in shadows for me. So what I did was to use High Pass filter with large radius and fairly low opacity (30%) and to limit its scope to the darkest parts of the image using layer mask.
  6. Sharpness - then I applied a little bit of sharpening using this technique.
  7. Midtones contrast 2 - finally I decided to add a little bit more contrast to midtones. I added it using Curves adjustment layer.
Editing using luminosity masks

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