Ok..I’m having a bit of a change today. Just a single image  which I took on Sundays photoextravaganza in Birmingham.

I wasn’t planning to use this one, as though I liked the building, I thought the poster was a bit creepy and, to be honest I was getting a bit bored of these shots…(They’re nearly a week old for F***sake!)


A couple of my bestest bloggin’ chums seemed interested in what I’d done to the previous shots, so I thought I’d use the opportunity to put on my mortar board and cape and get all ‘ teacher’ on your arse..

I should explain I only got a copy of Photoshop back in January…( though I’d used a 30 day trial version last November)…so I am without doubt doing everything in a totally roundabout, disorganised and probably downright incorrect sort of way. But it kinda works for me this way….If I get wrapped up in learning how to do things properly I find the fun stops, creativity tends to wane and results take a nosedive..Simply by ‘messing around’ with PShop you can get a lot of extra rewards from your photography and thats good enough for me…Plus ‘mess around’ for long enough and the skills come along by themselves.

So I’m going to use this image which I delicately call  “Succeed in …Oh Shit where’s my Effin’ “F” gone!” to illustrate how a cretin can pretend he knows what he’s doing and mock up a HDR type image on a computer that was built around the same time as the Ark. Are you sitting comfortably?   Then I’ll begin:

Stage 1…Like all good children I shoot raw files. No discussion. They’re bigger and better so you should too..

This was shot shutter priority, handheld, at f11/iso400/60th sec.

Exposure was based on the walls as I had no intention of using the (very boring) sky.

I’ve highlighted in the screen capture what I thought was the most important stuff… First off I dropped the exposure substantially then boosted recovery, fill light and blacks. This resulted in a much much darker and more saturated image…I also increase clarity and slightly boosted vibrance….There are no rules for this but I just kept my eyes on the screen and went for tones and contrasts that looked good.

Stage 2..Next I opened up in Photoshop and cropped the image drastically. Using the perspective correction I lined up the crop to give a flat/perpendicular effect..Does that make sense?

Hope so..

Still some sky in there but we’ll get to that.

Once cropped I was starting to get a feel for where I was going and that sky simply had to go..But first I wanted to get even darker, so as to be able to punch more light back into the image in a controlled way, so I boosted the dark end of the histogram using levels..

Nearly black…Luvverly Jubbly!

So probably best to see if we can do something about that sky….. this was surprisingly easy, though difficult to show in a capture..so…PAY ATTENTION AT THE BACK!

Using the smart selection brush I selected the left area of sky, then refined the edge so it ‘bled’ very, very slightly into the building. Then using the clone tool on normal with a dirty great soft brush, selected a section of the middle arch and cloned it into the selection area…So easy even I can do it!

Do the same for the right area of sky and your cookin’ on gas!

And now the fun really starts…….

Time to perform a few dodges..

Select the Dodge tool, medium soft brush, midtones and with a fairly low exposure and simply ‘paint in’ the areas that you want to lighten up..Gone too far? Don’t worry just get the Burn tool and burn’em back in…

Don’t worry too much about colour at this stage, you can mess with that later..

Again there are NO rules… I’ve found that it makes sense to work with the original direction of light, but other than that you can be as bonkers or as sensible as you feel fit…Just ‘mess around’ ..

You’re a light painter now..Enjoy the power!

At this stage I was starting to find the poster too distracting so I drew a rectangular selection around it and dropped the selections saturation and used the selective colour command within the tool bar to tone it down while leaving the main image untouched.

Lookin’ good.

What next?…….

Colour…Lovely Lovely colour!

Using the adjustments pallette and the selective colour commands you can now do pretty much amything you want with the colours of the image..

In this one I tone down the reds by boosting yellow and blue, toned down blues/cyans by decreasing blacks and ‘purified’ the whites by killing all the colours in the white band…Pretty subtle for me but it seemed to work…Again NO rules! Go with your flow, every little tweak can make a huge difference.

Nearly there now, are you still with me?

As usual I just couldn’t stop….I really like this ‘re-modelled’ building but that poster still creeped me out.

I just don’t get the old self improvement thing, the success through a positve mental attitude cobblers..Of course it works, but, as soon as someone else feels inclined to tell me that it does because they reckon I might need guidance, I want to punch their face..No.. not really, but you get my drift..

Anyway with a sign that you find a bit ‘Yeeuuurch’ and a copy of Photoshop what’re ya gonna do?

Marquee selection tool, output to new layer, rotate..clone out the background..apply a drop shadow and there you have it..”Do It Yourself Irony!”

I hope this was fun…..It really was a bit of a change but I enjoyed it…Result!

All Images Copyright Stuart Allan Hyde.

    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Excuses excuses! (with students like you I’d best stick to just posting the piccies…)
      Seriously though..thanks for all your comments…I wouldnt have thought of this post without you, and this postaday business is getting tougher.


  1. hellenjc

    Yawn… Oh no serously very good..I like the finished product but then I like the original too 🙂 I do have a copy of photoshop that someone gave me but frankly I can’t be ar**d to learn how to use it. I’m a little bit of a purist … I didn’t know this but I’m discovering that I am and even resisting learning all the stuff about F stops and ISO and all that Jazz ( I used to know some of it when I had my old Olympus OM1 film camera )
    I do however have a feel and passion for photography and you touched on it above when you said about the fun stopping… I don’t want the feel to be diluted because I’m paying too much attention to technical stuff… blimey sorry this is such a long reply.. must get on I have LOADS of photos need looking at and it’s sooooo hard on a tiny netbook!


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      No..I totally get what you mean….I dont have a problem with learning techie stuff but the learning needs to stay a byproduct of what I’m doing….Its the doing thats important…..technical stuff for a lot of folks seems to be a bit of an end in itself and I just dont get that….
      I think its often easier to get good shots if you know the basics of what your camera is doing but You NEED to have an eye for what to shoot and you NEED to have a feel for how to shoot it…That’s far more important than shed loads of techie know how in my book…..
      Anyway back to work…….


      1. hellenjc

        You are right Stuart knowing the techie stuff does help but I seem to have a resistance to it.. I have an artists brain you know !.. ( said VERY tongue in cheek) which excuses me from doing too much housework too !

      2. Stuart Hyde - shpics

        Housework!….Thats up there with colonic irrigation in my list of not to do’s..
        Take a leaf out of my wifes book…She waits for the house to get really filthy then suggests we move…Even the detritus of four or five years has little effect on the actual price of a house…

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