Post-Production Before-and-After, Part 2: Smoothing Pavement / Removing Object (Central Illinois Architectural Photographer)

As I mentioned in my prior post about correcting color and eliminating distracting background elements, I try to whatever extent possible to make images that don’t require major work in Photoshop, especially in portraiture. However, in certain situations, using Photoshop is necessary (and even lucrative), such as in major photo restoration.

Similarly, impactful architectural photography often requires major editing. For example, clients often specifically request that blue sky or landscaping be visible through windows (instead of blown out white nothing-ness), such as with the Land of Lincoln Bank interiors I shot for the Redmond Company and BLDD Architects. Because today’s cameras still cannot capture as much dynamic range as the human eye, in general, if an interior is properly exposed, the window scenes will be overexposed. Balancing interior and exterior exposures requires either extensive lighting, HDR (yuck), or layering multiple images with bracketed exposures in post-production. Many of my fellow ASMP Architectural Photographers are absolute geniuses at both lighting and Photoshop. The results are beautiful, when done well, and showcase the designers’ work magnificently.

I am a relative novice at lighting and Photoshop, but I try to take advantage of every opportunity to improve my skills and rise to the challenge when a client requests something I’ve never or rarely done before. Last fall, when OKW Architects commissioned interiors and exteriors of Bloomington Country Club in Bloomington, IL, I also licensed the exterior image below to the Club itself as a thank you to the Club Manager, who was extremely helpful on location. (I do this often to thank my local contacts.)


Bloomington Country Club: Before Pavement Smoothing & Sign Removal


Like many designers today, OKW handles major editing internally and didn’t request any advanced processing (for which I charge an additional fee) on this shoot. But, the Club needed my help with three changes:

1)  Removing the “Bag Drop” sign,

2)  Filling in the dead grass, and

2) Smoothing the distracting pavement cracks.

Cloning the grass and removing the sign was simple enough, but I had to spend more time researching and trying new things to get the pavement area right. (I also called upon Kendra for some pointers. Thanks, Kendra!).

After lassoing the paved area, I used the smoother/un-cracked pavement area in the lower right corner as my staring point, cloning it (with a lower level of opacity, to allow some texture to still show through).

Here is the final result, which the Club published in their 2015 calendar:

Bloomington Country Club: After Pavement Smoothing

Bloomington Country Club: After Pavement Smoothing & Sign Removal

The major area of improvement for me is understanding how to retain the reflections on the pavement after getting rid of the cracks. How would you have done that? I’d love to hear your comments and critiques on this image!



About Mosaic Collective, LLC

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, founding member of Mosaic Collective, LLC, which was founded in early 2017 and is based in Central Illinois. I own and operate Mosaic Collective with my partner in business and life, my husband, Nathan. Mosaic Collective, LLC houses our rental property, my consulting contracts (with the nonprofit and public sectors on various work), and also my commercial and portrait photography business, which has been doing business as Holly Baumann Photography since 2008 long before the formation of our LLC. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and sometimes, my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
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