Kitchen Magician

No trips to Home Depot for this small remodeling job. This is a job for Photoshop! I had to take that blinding reflection from  the mirror on the far wall in the dining room (not visible in the shot) off the freezer door. The mirror itself is reflecting the patio door in the living room which is on the other side of the kitchen wall (also not visible–duh). But how to wipe out the reflection but keep the texture and the shadow of the handle on the freezer door without a LOT of cloning? I SHOULD have put a black cloth over the mirror. But…you know. Here’s the Before…kitchenbefore

  1. Noticing the refrigerator and freezer handles and their reflections (shadows really) were very nearly mirror images of each other, I made a generous selection (I thought) of the lower door with the lasso tool that included the area around the handle and copied it onto its own layer (CMD+J Mac, CTRL+J Windows).
  2. I used the Move Tool (CMD+V / CTL+ V) to place this selection layer over the freezer door, lowering the opacity of the selection layer to 50% so I could see how it lined up. Next I enabled Free Transform (CMD+T / CTL+T), flipped the image vertically, resized and adjusted a bit to fit. Had to warp the right side a touch because (dang!) I didn’t make a big enough selection on that side.
  3. Added a (white) layer mask and painted away the excess with a black paintbrush at 100% opacity and flow. I prefer this to using the Eraser tool, because I’m a clod and sometimes erase too much. At least with a layer mask you can fix your oopsies.
  4. I brought some of the reflection back in for realism by painting white and using Blend If and also using a dodge preset I had previously purchased in a preset bundle from Phlearn.
  5. I could have taken out the glint between the two doors, but I thought since that was metal, it would look too flat, so I left it. Probably did a few other adjustments too, but I’m old and I’ve already forgotten all I did because I merge layers as I work so I don’t accidentally move something and screw it up.

Here is the result of reflection removal. Handle shadow is still there, slight reflection from mirror is still there (or there’d be no handle reflection, eh?), but much less distracting. And that’s when I saw them. You see them too, don’t you? Heart sink!

Kitchenreflectionfix.jpg

No, not a heart-shaped sink. MY HEART SUNK. Before I took any shots in the kitchen, I had the owner remove all the stuff hanging from the front of the refrigerator, the plastic bags stuffed between the refrigerator and wall, the dish towel off the door handle, the dog bowls from the floor. All the things an observant photographer is supposed to do, right? But as soon as I finished the reflection fix in post, I finally saw them. There they were, mocking me: the dreaded REFRIGERATOR MAGNETS! How had I missed them?! I had taken my first shot of the kitchen from the other direction but forgot to walk back and evaluate the room from the other angle. When I did set up to get this shot, I was overly concerned with trying to work around the ginormous slab of counter top that was photobombing my frame. You can see I clearly gave up on it. [Sigh] Maybe the magnets were messing with my brain.

But now it was time to go back to Lasso Tool & Copy Ranch, lil’ buckaroos! As I did with the front reflection, I copied clean sections of the side of the fridge and placed them on their own layers (as close as I could to the object so the color and luminosity were at least in the ballpark), first over the white clip magnet, then the bottle opener. Did a few more touchups on those pasted patches to get them to match: reducing brightness, adjusting levels, painting and using Blend If technique*, etc. When it came time to do the larger items, I lassoed a big ol’ chunk of the now kinda-clean side, pasted the copy and cleaned that up using various previously-mentioned methods.

The result…

kitchenmagnets.jpg

*For more information and excellent instruction on how to do some of the methods I used, go to Phlearn.com. And don’t forget to look at the WHOLE room before you take your first shot!

 

 

How’s The Family These Days?

Are the old folks looking a little worse for wear? Are their smiles fading along with their puka shells and bell-bottoms? I really like doing family photo restorations. Instead of just helping a company sell more widgets (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I get to see how it impacts people to have precious mementos of loved ones restored. The challenge is good for the brain, and the result is good for the heart.

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Now this next one was a real challenge. Okay, they are all challenges, but this one was a REAL CHALLENGE!

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Check out more examples on my website on the “Everything Else” page–scroll down!

Don’t spill a drop–retouch the whole glass!

Before…

Last June the fellow in front of me at the Grand Canyon inadvertently provided me a great photo op by placing his wineglass where I wanted to photograph the setting sun. I loved the shot, but it always bothered me that the glass was tilted. (Yes, I am the person who straightens the pictures in the doctor’s office.)

grcanyonwine6085_before_web

After…

grcanyonwine6085_web

I raised the shadows slightly in Lightroom first. In Photoshop, I used the pen tool to make a selection of the wine glass, placed it on its own layer and hid the layer until later, used content-aware fill to fill in the now blank spot on the original (copy of the original). This took several attempts; I’m not great at the pen tool. I touched up the background where content-aware fill tried its best but went a little wonky. Two suns? Only in Star Wars. Then I revealed the isolated wineglass layer, adjusted the angle, blended the edges, and copied a little faux rock foreground to obscure the base so the wineglass did not appear to be floating in space. Oops! The glass was now straight but the liquid inside was still at an angle. That darned gravity! Used the liquify filter to even that out, and also to touch up the rim of the (inexpensive) wineglass. I touched up some but not all of the smudgy fingermarks; this was a real moment and a real person, not a staged commercial shoot. I added an oh-so-suble lens flare because, believe it or not, I thought the sun rays almost looked fake without it, even though it isn’t in the original photo.

So there you have it. With Photoshop, you won’t spill a drop!

(Thank you, Friend, whoever you are, for having the foresight to bring a glass of wine with you to enjoy a spectacular sight.)

 

This is why I keep watching tutorials!

Wow–I thought this was a decent natural light headshot of my friend Craig when I took it a few years ago on a whim. I didn’t do any retouching on it then, other than a spot removal. Didn’t even have Lightroom then. Today I revisited this shot because Craig said he couldn’t find it on his hard drive. I opened it up in Photoshop to see if there was anything more I could do to improve it before sending. Holy cow! So glad I never stop watching tutorials and getting new tools (thank you, Aaron Nace for your excellent teaching and the Phlearn Method bundle!), and I think I was able to clean up this shot a little more with highlight recovery, lightening up the face, smoothing the skin, and a few other minor things. That’s why I (obsessively) keep my RAW and Photoshop files, so I can keep practicing, learning new techniques, and have measurable results of my progress.

Here’s the “before” photo on the left, “revisited” photo on the right.

Craig_b4_6743Craig_6743_after_web