For today’s process post, let’s look at one of my photos taken in Edinburgh, Scotland. I actually wanted to take a photo of this beautiful hotel in the middle of the city, but as I set up my camera, a buss stopped right in front of me. So I quickly recomposed, to make the bus the main subject of the photo.

It was actually quite funny, how the people in the bus noticed me taking the photo, and nicely smiled for it :)

So to get this final image

The bus in Edinburg

I started with 5 exposures, with the 0EV looking like this.

The bus in Edinburgh

It looked quite OK from the start, but few tweaks were still necessary. I imported them all into Lightroom and corrected only the chromatic aberrations and lens distortion’s there.

The bus in Edinburgh

As you can see, the 5th exposure was not usable at all, so I haven’t even loaded it into Photoshop. So after loading the other 4 exposures into Photoshop, I did the following (layers numbered from bottom up)

1. 0EV exposure
2. darkened the brightest parts from the -1EV shots (you can see the mask here, I used a luminance mask to create the selection and then brushed over it)

The bus in Edinburgh

3. there were still few bright areas, so I repeated the process with the -2EV exposure
4. brightened few spots from the +1EV exposure
5. used the -1EV once more, as I wanted to use the people in the bus from that exposure. The mask is manually painted.
6. added more contrast to the darkest areas of the photo
7. added a little contrast to the midtones
8. brightened a little the shadow darks (all these masks were created using TK actions)
9. merged the layers into a new one, and retouched out few spots
10. desaturated the blue channel, as the sky was too blue
11. added more structure using the high pass sharpening method
12. added a little more overall contrast.

The bus in Edinburgh

And that’s all I did with this image. To find out more on how I edit, check out the guides and before after categories on this blog, or check out my video tutorial series here: