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Thread: Post Processing this photo..

  1. #1

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    Post Processing this photo..

    Hi All,

    A local Haulage company has approached me to do some photos for their company magazine. Now they know I'm no professional photographer and I've only had my 600D since October but I want to impress them. I've used photoshop for many years but not 100% clued up with it, I know where to select levels, exposure, shadows highlights etc and the likes but I really want to impress them with the images.

    These one's are not shot in RAW because I take multiple images of one truck, and with hundreds passing every hour the card gets filled up very quickly. I know the photo is backlit, but shooting in the other direction wasn't an option due to obstacles like signs etc that get in the way of the photo.

    Could anyone take the time to do what YOU would do with this photo, post processing wise so I can get an idea of where the image needs to be?

    http://mattgarner.net/uploads/IMG_9309.jpg

    Regards,
    Sam

  2. #2
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing this photo..

    First, you've been presented with a tricky task - making semi trucks look interesting.

    On the PP front, I assume it's pretty clear that the highlights on the trailer's tarp are thoroughly blown. That's where my eye goes first, and that's a problem. Speaking for myself, I'd try the following:

    • Try to lessen the tarp highlights with curve adjustment or the highlight recovery tool. That's not a cure, but it'll help.
    • Selectively dodge the truck and/or burn the background to draw the viewer's attention to it.
    • Increase the black clipping point or contrast to draw attention to the truck's details.
    • Selectively sharpen and add saturation or vibrance to the truck.

    I'd ask the company if you can get an hour or two with one of their rigs at a location you choose. Getting on the sun side would really help, and using a wide lens from close and low will emphasize the truck's size, plus adding a sense of motion and drama. You could even try staying on the shadow side and positioning the sun to draw the viewer's eye to whatever you want (shining through the cab, for instance).

  3. #3
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    Re: Post Processing this photo..

    I see you're from Scotland; even before I looked I knew that truck wasn't in the US because ours are mostly ugly ;-). This one is pretty cool, like a big toy. Did you notice the driver is watching you? This is a great shot actually.

    What you do in post depends on what the client wants. If it's for a calendar or ad, I picture a clean retouch. In that case, use the advice given by RustBeltRaw or try some alternate approaches:

    1) Shoot a bracketed burst of each truck so you can HDR the images and get the highlights and shadows under control.

    2) Short of that, you may have to manually reconstruct the lost areas such as the tarp and fill them with the proper color (much like portrait retouchers work).

    I started off with basic tonal recovery and detail sharpening using Topaz Adjust + Photoshop's Shadow/Highlight tool. Then I progressed to Topaz LensEffects to add a bit of false motion and lens shift to reduce background and foreground distractions.

    Not being able to help myself, I continued with Knoll Lens Flare to throw a lens flare/reflection on the overexposed cab roof, then Alien Skin Exposure 5 (which I just beta tested) for the slight B&W and edge effect.

    Lastly, I cropped a bit from the left and top to give the truck forward motion (ie, room to travel in the expected direction).

    Looks cool but it's probably not what they want, so stick to the earlier advice ;-).
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    The most you would get from an exercise like you requested would be a 1000x750 res image converted from a jpeg, so image quality already sacrificed somewhat. You haven't described what editing software you have (you said you aren't that familiar with Photoshop) so any edit might be pointless if you cannot re-create it. Also, how do you plan to submit your final choices to the potential customer, on disk or prints?

  5. #5

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Post Processing this photo..

    Post Processing this photo..

  6. #6
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    And the caption for No 1 is "Malcolm Construction gets the job done fast"

    Very impressed Colin.

  7. #7

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Quote Originally Posted by Stagecoach View Post
    And the caption for No 1 is "Malcolm Construction gets the job done fast"

    Very impressed Colin.
    Here you go!

    Post Processing this photo..

  8. #8
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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Wow! What an inspiration for learning to edit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Post Processing this photo..

    Post Processing this photo..

  9. #9
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Just copying Colin but thought the lights could be a bit brighter

    Post Processing this photo..

  10. #10
    plugsnpixels's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Good eye with the headlights, Steve!

  11. #11

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Wow! What an inspiration for learning to edit.
    Ha - it's easier than it looks.

    Just chuck a select around the truck - invert it - and then apply a motion or radial blur.

    I think I bumped the clarity, saturation, and sharpness a little too.

  12. #12

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    While I like the speed effects very much they may more appropriate to Formula 1. In my younger days I worked for a trucking company. The owner had governors installed on the engines so that the drivers could not go past speed limit. Not sure if the image of several tons of speeding metal is what your customer wants. My experience with truckers is that safety is their first concern. That and a good looking clean truck. Here's my attempt at PP. (Also took it as an opportunity to play with the LR5 Beta.) The main thing I did was put in a radial filter colored yellow and reduced its clarity. Also did a local adjust to make the tarp blue. Just an alternative to the others.

    Post Processing this photo..

  13. #13

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Quote Originally Posted by geoz View Post
    While I like the speed effects very much they may more appropriate to Formula 1.
    With Formula 1, you don't need any special effects to get shots like that

    In my younger days I worked for a trucking company. The owner had governors installed on the engines so that the drivers could not go past speed limit. Not sure if the image of several tons of speeding metal is what your customer wants.
    Point taken, although for the record, I don't think that the image necessarily equates to "speeding drivers" in an ad sense (because obviously no truck would achieve those kinds of perceived speeds). I liken it to ads on TV where "laboratory tests have shown" - as the shot shows young & good-looking men and women - usually wearing glasses - wearing while coats - in a "lab" where everything is neat & tidy and oh-so-clean and white. In that context, they're just props.

    In a magazine context I would hope most truckies would see it simply as a "cool effect" rather than any encouragement to (or implication of) do(ing) anything unsafe.

    Edit: Here's a case in point -- a shot I did of a good friend of mine.

    Post Processing this photo..

    Is it a fun, obviously edited shot? Or is it implying something dangerous? (ironically, Ashley loved it, but her Grandma though it was real) (although Ashley being Ashley would have done the shot "for real" in a heartbeat, but I digress ... ).

  14. #14

    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Went for a slightly less dramatic image. Something I think might be a little more corporate.

    Post Processing this photo..

    Using LR 4
    1. I globally reduced the exposure, highlights, blacks, whites and shadows. Bumped the contrast up fractionally, pushed up the clarity and a small bump for saturation.
    2. I reduced the luminance on the blue channel slightly and increased a lot on the green.
    3. I used an adjustment brush to select the tarp, reduce the highlights and added colour. I don't like the way LR adds colour. If I was doing it properly I would probably use PSE to recolour the tarp.
    4. I used another adjustment brush to select the whole image minus the truck and its shadow. I reduced the exposure slightly (in addition to the global reduction).
    5. I removed the fence posts as they are quite ugly. If I was doing this properly I would likely remove the crash barriers too.

    Post Processing this photo..
    Post Processing this photo..

  15. #15

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    ...
    In a magazine context I would hope most truckies would see it simply as a "cool effect"....
    Colin, I was thinking "corporate" more like Dan and thought of that alternative. Any the versions could work depending on the company's branding or need.

    Cheers,
    George

  16. #16

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Quote Originally Posted by geoz View Post
    Colin, I was thinking "corporate" more like Dan and thought of that alternative. Any the versions could work depending on the company's branding or need.

    Cheers,
    George
    Hi George,

    I think it really comes down to two choices - either one does something "cool but radical" (as I have) or one just has to stick with "faithful reproduction" (which really means "get it right at the time"). The former would probably make a cool poster for the tea room, but the latter would probably be more suitable for the annual calender.

  17. #17
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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Just an observation - be careful that whatever manipulation you do that any view through a windows (in this case the passenger) are in keeping with the surrounds not the truck. I am sure it has been neglected as concepts are being proposed but keep an eye on it for any final image.

  18. #18

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Just an observation - be careful that whatever manipulation you do that any view through a windows (in this case the passenger) are in keeping with the surrounds not the truck. I am sure it has been neglected as concepts are being proposed but keep an eye on it for any final image.
    Good point - I forgot all about that, although I don't think it shows too badly in my edits.

  19. #19

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..the edit

    Thanks a lot guys, your posts have me realise just what can be done with what I thought was a dud photo! I'm going to ask if I can maybe get the truck at a specific location for a short period of time.. I'm an out-of-work lorry driver myself at the moment, so I understand the answer will probably be no as when it's standing still, it's not earning money.

    I have snapped this truck a few times however and I have one of it clean that I'll edit and post here just shortly, and you can let me know what you think.

    Colin, I especially love the edits.

    PS, it's photoshop I use but I'm not the greatest with it. Which leads to my next question, when resizing, which mode do you use at the bottom? I often find Bicubic Automatic sharpens my shots a little too much for my liking.
    Last edited by Sam Millar; 29th April 2013 at 12:18 PM.

  20. #20

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    Re: Post Processing this photo..

    Post Processing this photo..

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