In this edition of ‘Behind the Edit’ we’ll walk through my edit of a G63 AMG. For those new to the blog, this series aims to shed light on my editing process and the steps taken to produce a final image.
This image was taken for Mercedez-Benz Canberra back in March and I was lucky enough to have free reign in their basement for an hour or so to capture this incredible machine.
The Starting Point
The RAW or straight out of camera image was a little bit washed out and had a variety of distracting elements but would provide the perfect base for our final image.
Lets get into the editing process and break it down into the steps I took to achieve the final image.
Step 1 - Start with the basics
To perform all of my basic editing, photo culling and photo management I use Adobe Lightroom CC. With each photo I'll use Lightroom to apply copyright metadata and make basic adjustment to things such as:
Highlights / Shadows;
Whites / Blacks;
Saturation / Vibrance;
Hue / Saturation / Luminance of specific colours, and;
Apply lens correction profiles.
Here's what the result of those changes looked like:
Step 2 - Time to open the bag of tricks
Often the difference between a good and a great photo is the absence of distracting elements in the image. In the image the fire hose/ extinguisher and associated signage was distracting and ruining the overall feel of the image.
Moving over to Adobe Photoshop I started off trying to remove the elements but decided half way through that the image would look better with a dark, distraction free background.
To achieve this I used the copied the image to a new layer, flipped it horizontally and masked out the areas I wanted to keep. Whilst it sounds complicated, there was actually less work involved in doing it this way. To explain the process further I’ve broken down below.
The red half of the image below was the side I wanted to mirror across to the other side of the image (blue half).
With the layer duplicated and flipped I was left with the image below. As you can see, most of the heavy lifting was already done. The red box highlights the places where the image didn’t line up correctly and this area would require additional work to fix up.
By selecting the problem areas of the duplicated layer and applying a layer mask I was able to sort out the funkiness that was happening in the A pillar/right mirror area. The image shows the areas I masked to remove from the duplicate layer.
During the duplication process, I was careful to preserve the highlights on the bonnet, A pillar, front quarter and bumper as these highlight the shape of the G wagon subtle but powerful way.
With all that done, the image was ready for the final tweaks.
Step 3 - Finishing Touches
With the majority of the editing completed, all that was left to do was apply the finishing touches. A favourite of mine comes from a Photoshop plugin called Silver Efex Pro that really helps the image to ‘pop’.
With the Silver Efex changes applied and a few modifications to the saturation and luminance of the reds the image was ready to go.
Wrap it up
With all the editing completed, I return to Lightroom to export the complete image. Usually I'll leave the images alone for at least 3-4 hours and return to them to make sure I haven't gone too crazy with the edit and everything looks the way I wanted it to. Satisfied of that, I'll export the photo a number of times using different presets dictated by where the image will be used i.e Facebook, web, print, Instagram or here on the blog.
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