Sunday, October 6, 2013

Post Processing Series: Episode 3

In the third episode of this series, I will show you how I post processed the picture you see above, this is dedicated to Muhammad Usman based on his comments on the original post where I posted this photo. Hit the jump for the full post.

This photo was part of a macro shoot that I did at home, this is a small lock that I use to lock my bag during travel. I originally shot that same lock with my Canon 60mm macro a while ago, and I liked it so much that I decided to do it again with my OM-D and 12-50 lens.

On with the post then, here's the original shot:

NOTE: You can click on any of the screenshots below to see the full 1920x1080 picture.

And here's how it looked like in lightroom, with the default adjustments, you'll notice a specular highlights around the numbers 9 and 6 (shown in red), this is a useful feature in lightroom, you can press "J" while in develop module, and it will show any blown highlights in red, and deep blacks in blue:

Next I increased the blacks using the black slider until there were a few black parts in the picture, which is what I like to have in most pictures, they are shown in blue below:

And since this is a photo of an object, and not a portrait, I increased the clarity until it the picture had enough bite and a little more micro-contrast.

Now that I am done with global adjustments, it is time to crop the picture to show just the lock dials, which is what I had in mind when I was shooting:

Time for black and white, there are a few ways to do that in lightroom, and my favorite is to click the B&W button in the "HSL / Color / B&W" module on the right hand, this provides me with some color control (yes, in B&W, similar to gelled filters used in front of B&W film cameras) which I find useful in portrait and landscape shots, I will be using it in a small bit.

Usually I like more contrast and more blacks in B&W photos, unless I am going for a soft high key look, and I don't mind having large areas with crushed blacks as long as they don't contribute to the details of the image. So my next modification will be adding more blacks, since you can see the lock  looks gray-ish instead of black.

Then I reduce the highlights more to bring some of the missing details around the numbers 9 and 6 which is the focus of the image.

And here's where I use the colors under the B&W section, I click the targeted adjustment tool (the small circle on the top left corner of the B&W module), and move my mouse to the part where I want to change the color, and use the scroll wheel, scrolling up lightens that color, and scrolling down makes it darker. After a few scrolls down, the lock looks better.

Still missing something, I don't like the logo at the top of the photo. Cropping to a 16 x 9 ratio will solve the issue.

And some post-crop vignetting, I don't mind going a bit strong in a B&W picture.

And for the final touches, some spot-removal to remove the spots and dust particles. There is a very useful feature in Lightroom 5 when using the spot-healing brush, you have at the bottom of the picture a square which when you tick, helps you visualize the spots in the picture.

A few clicks to remove the spots, and we're done.

I hope this has been a useful post. Finally here's the before and after.


Post Processing Series: Episode 1 - Indoor Portrait
Post Processing Series: Episode 2 - Landscape
Macro Fun @ Home 


  1. Quick 'n easy!

    I'd appreciate if you could brief the post processing on one of your outdoors images from here ( if possible. Thanks


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