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Retouching the Oregon Home Cover Shot

I take a lot of pride in my Photoshop retouching skills. Mainly because I try really hard to make my shots not look like they’ve been retouched.

For architectural interior shots like this cover image for Oregon Home, I often do something I call, “Dropping in the Windows.” During the shoot, I’ll take several brackets that are under my main exposure. Later on in Photoshop, I will pick a darker exposure that I like the look out the windows and overlay it on the main exposure. I then hand cut out the windows using a mask and blend it together a little with the paintbrush. It’s subtle, time consuming, but the look can’t be beat.

The alternative to this is to do and HDR photograph or overlight the room with artificial light. I, personally, never like either of those ways look, so that’s why I do it the hard way.

Here’s time-lapse of the whole process:

Behind the Scenes – Kids in Architecture

I’ve always had the philosophy that architectural photography is more interesting when you have a people in the shot. A person will give a sense of scale to the building or interior. It also helps you relate to what you’re seeing. And sometimes, it’s great just to have something to fill out the composition. In all cases, it makes the architecture feel more like a real place. It’s not always necessary to have people in the shot, but for many of my architectural clients, showing their design in use really helps them explain their aesthetic to their potential clients.

But, getting people to hold still in a natural pose for 3 to 4 seconds can be a challenge (interior exposures are always long). Often, I just let them go blurry. But there’s good blur and there’s bad blur. Getting good blur takes forethought, practice, and patience.

Here’s how I got some kids to hold still just enough for a shot at Otto Peteresen Elementary designed by DLR Group. It get’s pretty funny once they start “playing.” Who loves their clients? I do.

[vimeo video_id=”15059146″ width=”590″ height=”330″ title=”Yes” byline=”Yes” portrait=”Yes” autoplay=”No” loop=”No” color=”ffffff”]
(video shot by the very talented Jake Stangel)

And here’s how the final shot came out.