Aaron walks us through the process of touching up the first of two technical angle study photos. He highlights specific things to keep an eye out for, and shows how his editing process starts with a preset, and finishes with photo-specific improvements.
Alright. So, we're gonna get, go ahead, and edit the three-fourth's front, and what we did in the field, I was on a tripod, and what I did was, bracketed two images, an overexposed, and underexposed. So, I'm gonna grab these two images here. I'm gonna right click, go up into edit. Oh, sorry. Let's go up into photo merge, and hit this HDR right here, and where it says, "Deghost Amount," Just go, "none." And you're gonna want to create the stack right here, and then, hit merge. So, we merged the photos, and now it's time to check the image that it created for us. As you can see, it is pretty dark, but that's gonna give us a full range of shadows, and highlights to pull from. And you have all the information. I'm pretty zoomed in here. Everything's sharp. And what I like to do is, first, obviously, check the exposure, and I don't want to go too bright, and not too dark. And like I said before, premeditatedly, I know exactly what preset I'm gonna use in these conditions. So, I was thinking...
of a CPH Cruisin preset. So, this is it. It's a bit dark, but that's okay. Like I said, you're gonna be able to mess with these shadows, and the highlights. So, I'm gonna pull exposure here, just a bit. And once it looks right, we'll move on to the next step. So, this is a bit of trial, and error. And you can see nothing's blown out. Nothing's too dark. It's all pretty consistent. And that's the best part of bracketing, in my opinion, is everything's gonna be really consistent, and that's key. So, the next thing I'm gonna do here is, I'm gonna go into this radial tool. This one I'm hovering over right now, and click that. It's going to, so you, what I like to do is, go into the subject of whatever I'm shooting. So, let's make a little vignette over this vehicle. And what I'm gonna do is, come up here, and then reset, reset that. So, you're gonna get a clean slate. You can just do whatever you want. I'm gonna invert it. So, we're gonna work with everything inside of this oval. And what I like to do first is, click the shadows, bring these up a tiny bit, not too much, cause you're not gonna want to see what's under the wheel well, and if you do see what's under the wheel well, and you want a little bit more of those shadows pulled, you can come up to the brush later, and darken what you want filled in. So, bring up the shadows a little bit. Let's bring up the highlights a tiny bit. And as you can see, it's getting a little bit of the background, but that's okay. Cause the overall photo, all said, and done, you're not gonna see a vignette around the car. And if you do, you can mess with the feather that's right here. As you can see, it's, it'll basically perform like a radius around it, or it'll be like a really tight circle, and you don't want that. You want it to be like, fairly feathered, and consistent, which, it looks really nice. I like a little bit of clarity in this. So I would, I'm gonna just test it out a bit, but sometimes, when you add clarity, you're gonna get noise, and you don't want noise ever. So, a little bit of clarity. Actually, I'm gonna delete the clarity. If you double click on one of these, you know, one of these, one of the lines when you're doing something, it'll zero back down. So, double click that, if you don't want it. It's just a faster way to do it. And then, if it's looking good, you can, I mean, you can keep messing with stuff. I'm gonna mess with highlights just a bit. Just only a little bit here. And now I'm gonna click this again, the radial, and I'm gonna do one more around the car. So, I'm gonna make a little vignette. I like vignettes on my photos. It just gives it a little bit more of a, of a feeling that I like. So, let's mess with it a little bit. Just try. I want to get everything around the car. Just that tiny bit darker. Just so that subject sticks out a little bit. Let's let's see how this goes. Double click the effect right here. So it resets. Let's mess with the shadows a bit. And as you can see, it's getting a little bit of the background here. Like all the mountain shadow a little bit, but it's not, it's not too bad. And if you see at all, it's getting the tips of these mountains back here. You don't want that. Cause it's just gonna look just like, it just looks like a bad edit, and you don't want that. Like a perfect example is, going to these blacks right here, and pulling them down. You're gonna see dark tips on these mountains, which, you don't want. So, let's see, a bad example, or a good example of what you don't want is, so, if you pull these blacks down here, you're gonna get a, you're gonna get these black tips on these mountains, And you're not gonna want that. It just looks terrible. So, let's keep that. I never really mess with the blacks, because it's really harsh. And like I said, I underexpose a lot of my shots. And when you're messing blacks, those have like, a big range, and you can mess like, you're gonna get really dark, dark features everywhere. So, I never really mess with the blacks, unless it's, unless it's needed. I'll zero that out again. I'm gonna pull the highlights down just a tiny bit. Maybe some of the contrast, just a little, looks pretty good. Alright. Next thing I'm gonna do is, go into this brush tool right here, right next to the radial tool. I want to have just a little bit of the subject, stand out a tiny bit more. And what you can do is, really focus on what exactly you want to have stand out. So, let's zero this out again, reset that, I'm gonna bring out the shadows just a tiny bit. Maybe the whites. And again, trial, and error. So, you're gonna mess with, or you're gonna mess around with a tiny bit, and bring up the texture. It's gonna just sharpen the image, just a tad for you. And I'm just gonna hover over this, and it's okay if you're outside of that subject, because in the end you have that eraser tool, which is a very nice tool, and you can just erase, and go through. And whatever is outside of this subject over here, you can erase, and get those perfect lines. Okay so, the next thing I'm gonna do, I want to have a little bit of saturation, but in my photos, usually, I tend to have like a, I like a cooler image, rather than a warm image. What that means is, I like more of a blue, but I do not like a blue sky, which is kind of, kind of funny. I always desaturate my skies. And that's just like, a style that I've incorporated, and used throughout the last like, 10 years that I've been taking photos. I just like a darker sky, and that's just how I've always edited. And I like it. So, I'm gonna come over here. You can click this, and you can directly click on whatever saturation, whatever color you want to, you know, work with. And so, I'm gonna come over here to these bushes, click on it, and you can go up, and down, just with the mouse. And as you see, it's changing the color a bit, but sometimes, it'll use more than just one color. It'll change like, the orange, yellow, and red. And if you don't want that, you can just come over to this column over here, and directly, just use one of one color at a time, which is pretty, pretty helpful. And I don't want too orange. I don't want like, a too saturated orangey, cause I want more of a cooler tones to this, but I also want it to feel pretty even throughout the thing, throughout the image. So, let's just mess with it a bit. And if we like it, we'll roll with it. Bring down the yellows again. That's too desaturated. Yeah, let's just leave it at that. I like that. Um, split toning. Split toning is really fun. I kind of, just work my way down this entire box. As you can see, we've worked around this first column, which, there's a lot to play with, and now we were, We just did the like, all the HSL. We pulled colors. We messed around with like, you know, different hues, and end colors. So, I kind also, I like to mess around with hues, talking about that. So, you can, with these orange, with the orange colors, I'll usually hover over, you can get a little weird with it. But you don't wanna go too weird, cause you don't wanna like, go, a crazy color. You know, going on. You wanna stay fairly real with the image, or with the environment. You don't want to like mess around, go like pink vegetation. But you can, you can get crazy if you want. So, but I like to keep it pretty realistic. If you don't like it, just go back to normal. I'm kind of happy with how it's looking so far. So, split toning, as you can see, the sky is a little, it's a little blue, a little green. It's like alright to me. Again, let's just, let's play with it a little bit. And again, trial, and error. So, you can mess around with it until you like it. I'm gonna bring down the saturation of the highlights. The highlights I am, I chose that, well, actually, the highlights that's on with the preset, was in this like, green-bluish mid-range, which is fine. I like it. But again, mess around with it a little bit. And another, another tool is this balance thing right here. Right under the, right under the highlights. And you can, this will basically change that whole hue of what's in between your shadows, and your highlights. And I mess around with this quite a bit. That's looking a little too green. When you're happy with it, move on to the next steps. I think I'm already happy with the shadows. It's a little purple. I'm gonna come to the left. Just a little more blue. That should be fine. Gonna mess around with just desaturating that, just a tiny bit, to see what it looks like. Let's keep it there. So, usually during the entire photo processing, the editing processing, I'll be constantly checking the before, and after. So, what you'll do is, hit Y on your keyboard, just as a shortcut. And I'm always just making sure everything's looking the way I want it to. And realistic as possible, without going overboard on the subject colors that you're you're working with. Or you know, the environment around it. But as you can see, night, and day difference. But I'm pretty happy with what's going on here. I'm gonna come back up here actually, and use, I'm gonna dumb down the shadows just a tiny bit. And then bring up the contrast just a tad. But as you can see, when I move in the contrast, you know, it gets either more contrasted, or you can fade it a little bit. I tend to fade it a little bit. And then work with this radial tool again. And then you can, you can kind of mask around the subject, and make it darker. And that's normally what I like to do. Cause I like to have the subject either soft, and prominent, obviously, and it still stands out, without it being too contrasted. Cause when you contrast a lot of the things, it's gonna make things a little, just a little dark, and too sharp, or too, you know, too dark. So, and I don't, I don't like that. So, let's just keep it there. And then let's actually, so, right here, there's a flare from the sun. And I'm not about that. So, I'm gonna come up here to the clone stamp, click that, you can with a, you can kind of, hover over it, and do it as big as you want. I usually go like, right, just right around it, right around whatever I don't want and click it. Again, this has another feathering tool. So, you can feather that out, and make sure that you're gonna be getting rid of whatever you're trying to get rid of. So, it's looking nice so far. I'm going to feather that a little bit just so. Cause right now it's just a kind of a hard circle. And you don't want that. So, let's mess with a tiny bit, and that looks pretty good to me. As you can see, it's pretty consistent in the sky now. I'm gonna go to the, this tool right here, which is, the graduated tool. So, it's more of like a gradient that you can use. And I use this tool more times than not. And what, what's happening right now is, I'm pulling the sky highlights out just a little bit. Cause I feel like it was a tad too dark. I mean you can go into the HSL, and click on the blues, and dumb down the luminance a little bit. But again, you're gonna get these sharp, sharp lines with the mountains, and you don't want that. Cause it's gonna look fake, a little bit. So, I'm gonna come up here, pull that down, and whatever you're pulling, whatever you're pulling away from, is what you're gonna be using. So, hover over the point right here, and it's gonna show you the entire, what you're working with. So, I'm gonna bring out these highlights just a little bit. And again, if you don't like it, you don't have to use it. And so, I'm just kind of messing around to see if it looks good, or not. And I don't want to go too bright, but I want the sky just a little pop. And I feel good about that. It's an easy fix. One thing I really don't like, that I'm looking right now in the image, is the windshield. And so, the windshield's looking a little bright. So, what I'm gonna do is go to here, the brush, I'm gonna zero it out, reset it, As you can see, it's pretty dirty. But what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna bring down the shadows, and the highlights, just a bit. And I'm gonna hover over it. Brush it up a tiny bit, work around that window panel a little bit. And as you can tell already, it's a little dark, but that's okay, because you can go back, and, adjust it here in a minute. And don't be afraid of going outside of these lines. Cause again, the eraser tool is your friend. And a cool thing about this too is, the feathering part of the brush is really nice. It's not gonna, you're not gonna go over those boundaries too much. It's gonna keep it fairly, it's gonna keep it fairly in the zone you're working in. So, it's pretty cool. So, that looks pretty good. I'm gonna go in one more time. Let's close this out a bit. So, right here you're obviously seeing it pretty, pretty light still. So, what I'm gonna do, zero that out one more time. This is just my workflow that I usually do. Cause I like to have more, the more points I have, and the more times I've used this brush, the more I can adjust things, which is nice. So, hover it over again, and you'll be able to see what you've done right here. So, I'm gonna go one more time, go to these highlights, bring the highlights down, and the whites. And if you dehaze it a little bit, it might be a little too dark, but it also really works sometimes. So, let's play with it a bit, and if it's too dark, or too nasty looking, you can adjust it as well. That's looking a lot better already. And you don't want a black window. You don't want anything like, you don't want it to stand out too crazy, but you don't want that crazy harsh light either. So, when you're feeling good about it, you can move on. Let's see what that looks like when it's zoomed out. It's definitely a lot better. See, there's a little bit of a gradient in the window, and you want more of a gradient. You don't want it super dark. The back windows are okay, cause they're tinted, and obviously it's in the shade. So, you're totally fine right there. I am feeling pretty good about this photo. So, when you're feeling good about it, you're gonna want to keep, obviously, a consistent color palette through the entire, all your assets. And so, what I'm gonna do is go over here. Copy. Copy that preset, copy the entire treatment that you've laid over. And then you can go ahead, and start with your other image, and we're gonna bracket the three-fourth's rear. And then I'm just gonna basically, throw that same treatment that I just did with this photo. And I'm gonna throw onto that, that rear. And there's only gonna be so many adjustments, but let's get into that one.
Worth Every Cent! Keen For More! This was awesome, definitely keen to see more of these in the future! Keep them coming dude! Loved seeing your edit breakdown and workflow. Would love to see some more of the behind the scenes of planning a shoot too - @benwaugh
From Zero to Hero Awesome workshop to not only get my first taste of automotive shoots, but I am walking away with a shoot set-up and planned to create speck work and present brands with decks. I loved how Aaron really explained everything he was doing. He rocks.
Amazing and WORTH IT! I have followed Aaron Brimhall for a while now and when I saw he was releasing a workshop I knew I had to get it! If you are wanting to shoot anything in motion or automotive action this is the workshop for you!