• Malcolm Hackett

Spot the difference?

Like most photographers, I aim to get my images “right” when I press the shutter button. This means getting camera settings like exposure and focus spot-on, of course. It also means looking around the scene and being prepared to adjust what there is in front of the camera. Much easier to move that background distraction out of the way before we start shooting!


Before the edit

But there are still occasions when some post-shoot editing helps to further improve the image and I will use Photoshop's tools to remove distractions and to keep the viewer's eye where I want it to be.


For this recent business shoot, Nina wanted me to grab a picture whilst she was working inside her garden “pod”. Great idea – I loved the clean lines and modern look of the building and here was a chance to show her looking professional without being traditional.


The enclosed roof meant that Nina was in shade, so I used portable flash to bring more light to her face. Unfortunately the flash was inevitably reflected in the curved glass that surrounded the pod.



The ideal answer might have been to adjust my lighting, moving it to a point where reflections were minimised. However, space in the pod was limited and so was time.


Areas tackled in the edit

The answer was to take two shots: one with flash to give the best lighting for Nina, one using natural light only to provide a “clean” shot of background glass without the annoying reflections. The two images were then blended together in the edit, to provide the best of both worlds.


Photoshop is also fantastic for removing minor distractions. In this shot, the table leg mechanism and its bright orange sticker kept dragging my eye over to the corner of the image. I've cloned it out of the final image for a cleaner look, providing the view that we would have got if that heavy table could have been viewed from the opposite side.



Photographers know that viewers' eyes are naturally drawn to the lighter parts of an image. That was the reason for bringing in the flash, of course. But Photoshop has enabled me to take this a little farther. If you look closely, you'll see that I've subtly lightened Nina's face, whilst slightly darkening the light roof .


The final image

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