Technical Photography

Selective Color Correction - A Before and After

Remember back in college, when your professor didn't care that you also had 3 other assignments due the same week as their 10pg paper and how they weren't thrilled to hear of your hard drive failing at the last minute. Well in Architectural Photography, your client doesn't always have the luxury of waiting for the best time of year to document their project and unless your a demi-god, it's not likely that you control the weather. So what do you do if say... it is the middle of a drought, in a southern state, that has dry grass?

Enter Selective Color Correction as part of the equation of post-production. This can be a lengthy or short process depending on the retouch artist and the complexity of the image. That's why a client's input on their final angles is critical to saving both time and money.

While this isn't a tutorial, it is a demonstration of three steps I used for a recent project.

Step 1: Initial Post production Develop the photo as far as possible before special retouching.

Not a bad image, but we don't want to distract our audience with dead grass.

Step 2: Color correct only the area you want to affect. This can be in Photoshop or other software, but it really depends on the complexity of the image.

Now that's better, but there's a little overgrowth that we can help

Step 3: Clean up and final retouch. This is where you take the areas that were affected by the selective color correction and you blend un even areas of blotchy color, eliminate unwanted elements, and generally make the image look like it was never retouched in the first place. (Unless your a pixel peeper, and if you're looking that hard, the I didn't do a great job of making a compelling image to begin with.)

We've blended the grass, eliminated the traffic cone by the doors, and weeded the path. You may notice some areas that can be cleaned up further, but this will be used as a draft for client review.

HDR and Tonemapping for reality: Pt 1

I'm still recovering from a serious hard drive fail this week, pushing many things back. But as I am finally back up and running, I've run across a perfect example of when to use HDR to re-create the reality of a place. Many have already experienced "HDR" as an option for creating unique highly artistic images of places, people, and things.

An Example of Artistic HDR-Tonemapping.

However in Architecture, authenticity is king. That's where a good eye and memory for a place becomes irreplaceable as you edit your work.

I'm presently working on a series of photos for my favorite Architectural Glass Manufacturer and Client, Jockimo. They have a beautiful installation of their product as a bridge inside the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The challenge however is that while daylighting was pretty balanced compared to other spaces, the interior lighting just can't match the same intensity of the exterior. Even on an overcast day, like the one I  worked with.

Why is this a problem? In a simplified explanation, the human eye, in concert with the brain, has a terrific ability to process a high dynamic range of light. However cameras have a much harder time mixing the range of light and color that we perceive. In many places you'll have a small range of light (or low contrast), either it's dark or it's bright. However for many interior spaces, the range differs greatly between interior lights and sunlight.

Essentially the camera has to choose to capture a set range of light. Say on a scale of 1-24 stops, the human eye can see about 14 stops of light. The BEST digital Cameras will be able to see about 11 of that 24 (depending on if it's film, digital, or the actual size of the medium it's capturing the image on). That's why when you photograph someone inside you don't want them to stand in front of a window. (if you're not using a flash). Click here For some great educational material that really goes in depth on both dynamic range and the perception of color.

Interior ExposureIntermediate ExposureExterior Exposure





Traditionally a photographer has to "compromise" to photograph for the darker range (let the outdoors be blown out), or the lighter range (things inside get uncharacteristically muddy and dark). With the advent of brilliant software like Photomatix and HDR EFEX Pro you can bring the light back into range.

Final Processed HDR-Tonemapped Image

Many artistic images can create stunning and beautiful image by going to extremes. However, when telling the story of Architecture and Commercial Products, it doesn’t help your client sell their product when you can't tell how a final product actually looks and feels. Your image still deserves the attention it deserves to make it beautiful, things like, punch color or contrast a tad, but you don’t want to give a false sense of the product.

By the way, I have to say that working with the kind folks there was a particular treat. I know they've been through a lot and I appreciate their kindness and trust in allowing me to document such a fantastic place.

New Arrival - It's a Kessler!

So as I've been venturing into video, but still trying to stay a lightweight operation I keep my eyes out for tools that will fill that mission and provide consistent and accuracy.


This, is the Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly (with a couple additional accessories) from Kessler Crane.

WHAT is the Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly?

The Simple Description: It is a controlled track for linear movement used in movie production.

The More elegant descrtiption (See the Famous Mr. Bloom Below)

I may in deed trade this in for it's well esteemed bigger brother, the Cineslider, but I'm going to see how dangerous I can be with just 3' of track. It will allow me to stay nimble and continue to work in areas that are moderately occupied while being able to stay out of the way.

Training for lighting


First and foremost. If you are into photography and you aren't aware for this show. You're in for a treat. This podcast is produced by some brilliant talent. 

This Week In Photography or TWIP picks apart current developments, news, and equipment releases in the photography world. One of the best features of the show in my opinion is their discussions also include techniques and tools (tech and software) they've found useful.  

I've been listening for about a year now and I'm still catching up on back episodes. However check them out on iTunes and you'll see in the early shows they have some video podcasts mixed in. 

I highly recommend watching the episodes on studio lighting. If this is a direction your are interested in. This is a perfect primer.


Recently I picked up an Expodisc, which is a tool that will be very handy for setting the white balance (WB) on my camera. This is crucial for getting accurate color,straight from the camera, which should help tremendously withone step of my post production work flow.

How does the expodisc work? To boil it down into a nutshell. It turns your camera into an incedent light meter. (IE instead of your camera reading light as it bounces off your subject, you read the light directly hitting your subject). 

If you want to learn more about the expodisc, this website by Ken Rockwell lays out exactly what type of results you get from an expodisc and how to set up the WB on Nikon Equipment. 

Sekonic L358

Speaking of measuring light. If you're interested in working with Monolights or getting into the strobist movement. One crucial piece of equipment is the light meter. 

This little gadget helps you determine the shutter speed and aperture of your camera based on amount of light produced by your equipment.

While intimidating at first. Walking through your equipment with someone else, can really make the difference with getting up to speed. 

This site by is a great tutorial for understanding exactly how to get up to speed quickly and with as  little pain possible.