Today, I will show you how I edited this blue hour shot taken over Bratislava. So let’s take a look.

As you can see, the base exposure was quite alright, with only some areas overexposes, and some a little dark. It missed detail, contrast and a little color.

Moon over BratislavaFinished photo
Moon over BratislavaOriginal photo

For this shot I took 7 exposures. In the end, when checking out the exposure, I did not use the brightest one, as I seen no need, and the second brightest already had a quite nicely exposed shadows. I started in Lightroom, where I corrected the horizon, removed chromatic aberrations and lens distortions. Thenk I continued in Oloneo Photoengine. I actually could have done this differently, but I like how Oloneo Photoengine adds structure and local contrast.

Moon over BratislavaAll exposures
Moon over BratislavaCombining in Photoengine

After tweaking strength and contrast in Photoengine, I loaded everything into Photoshop and continued from there (layers numbered from bottom up):
1. Oloneo Photoengine result
2+3+4. I used the darkest exposures to correct the strong highlights on the buildings on the right.
5. There were few lights that were not on in all exposures, and that created ugly black spots in blending, so I had to correct that from one of the brighter exposures.
6. Color efex Detail extractor used on the bottom left, to get more detail in the trees, and a little more variation.
7. Curves to get more contrast into the shot, but not in the bottom left
8. Color efex Briliance/Warmith to get a little more color into the clouds.

Moon over Bratislava

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:
Master exposure blending

For todays process post, I decided to show you a photo that is not a HDR, but where I was forced to use focus blending, and I had to deal with not enough shots taken. So let’s get started.

This is a view of the SNP bridge in Bratislava, as seen from the Bratislava castle.

Framed bridgeFinished photo
Framed bridgeOriginal photo

I took two series for this, just to be sure, one focused on the bars, one on the bridge in the background. When looking at them in Lightroom, I found out that I need just one from booth, and one brighter fore few tweaks, so I just cropped the image, corrected the horizon, white balance and opened the two images in Photoshop.

Framed bridgeAll exposures
Framed bridgeUsed exposures corrected in Lightroom

I don’t know what I was thinking while taking this shot, as of course just focusing twice here is not enough. The problem is, hat if you try to blend two shots like this, the foreground element will get bigger when its out of focus, and that will not allow for a nice blend. You can see it in the first screen-shot from Photoshop here. The blend produces an ugly soft border around everything. So I needed to do something more, and this is what I did.

1. The shot focused on the background
2. Copy of layer 1, as I needed to experiment with edits, and I didn’t want to open the layer over and over again (I will explain the edits in a moment :))
3. The shot focused on the foreground. Using layers, I painted out all the content one can see through the bars
4+5. Here I used the brighter exposure, to brighten the bars, and then used a second layer mask on the group, so the effect is not inside the bars
6. Color efex Pro contrast, to get more local contrast and detail in the photo.
7. Color efex Tonal contrast on the borders and the background, as it still was very low contrast, due to it snowing at that moment.
8. A little overall contrast using curves.

Framed bridgeBlending problem
Framed bridgeAll edits in Photoshop

Now this take care of all the detail and contrast, but there is still the problem with the bad blending. So what I did, on the second layer, I selected one by one the openings in the bars and made the image inside bigger. Like this the border disappeared behind the bars, and I got a nice blend. I had to be careful so the bridge and the road line up after the resize.

Here you can see the second and third layers, to better show this.

Framed bridgeSecond layer after resizing
Framed bridgeThird layer after masking

Btw. if I did this correctly, I would take more shots, with different focus, or I would use a smaller aperture.

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:
Master exposure blending

For this weeks process post, I will show you how I edited this sunset photo of the lighthouse on the Neusidlersee in Austria. So let’s get started.

As you can see form the comparison to the original photo, this was a perfect place to use HDR. I was shooting directly into the sunset, so the sky was quite bright, and the lighthouse was in the shadow.

Close to the groundFinished photo
Close to the groundOriginal photo

I took 6 exposures in total here, but while reviewing them in Photoshop, I decided not to use the brightest one. The reason for this was, that when you use Oloneo Photoengine and you include a very bright (or very dark) exposure, it will make the result much brighter than you need (or darker) and further editing is harder. So by leaving that exposure out, the result is much better, and less corrections are needed. You can easily experiment with Photoengine to see the difference.

Close to the groundExposures in Lightroom
Close to the groundCombined in Photoengine

So I first corrected chromatic aberrations and lens distortions in Lightroom, from where I exported all the files as 16-bit tiff files. Then I loaded them into Oloneo Photoengine. There I tweaked the strength, contrast and fine exposure, to get a pleasing result. From there I continued in Photoshop with the following edits:

1. Oloneo Photoengine result
2. Just a copy of the 1st layer, on which corrected the rocks in the foreground. As there was a little camera movement while I took this shot, it created an ugly ghosting around them, and I had to correct that.
3. Cleaned few dust spots in the photo
4. Used the +1EV exposure, to brighten the lighthouse.
5. A little noise reduction
6. Color balance to make the shadows a little warmer.
7. Color efex Tonal contrast to get more detail into the clouds

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:
Master exposure blending

For this Mondays process post, lets look at how this 7 star reflection photo was put together. As I already mentioned before (and you can see immediately from the screenshots), this reflection is of course fake. But that does not make the photo worse, just a little unreal And if you want more about how exactly I make the reflection, check out this reflection tutorial.

Now let’s look at the photo. As you can see, I not only did the reflection, but I had to correct the color and add a lot of detail and contrast.

7 star reflectionFinished photo
7 star reflectionOriginal photo

So as always, I started in Lightroom. Here I loaded all the 4 exposures form this photo, and corrected the white ballance, to get the desired color. Other than that, I only removed chromatic abberations, lens vignetting and a little noise.

7 star reflectionAll exposures
7 star reflectionLightroom tweaks

After that, I continued in Oloneo Photoengine. Loaded all the exposures, merged them, and just added strenght, detail and contrast. From there I loaded everything into Photoshp and did the following edits:

1. Oloneo Photoengine result
2. -1Ev to darken few lights on the buildings.
3. -2EV to darken few remaining higlights.
4+5. Brightened 0EV to remove a little ghosting due to a passing ship.
6. Color Efex pro contrast, to get more detail and overall contrast in the photo.
7. Merged copy of the image, moved up to allign with the center of the image.
8. Another copy, flipped for the reflection.
9. Duplicate of the flipped copy, with motion blur applied.
10. A stretched version of the water from the original photo, set to low opacity, to add little more waves to the image. I masked it out where the building were, as it looked strange.
11. Little contrast in few areas.
12. Color Efex tonal contrast, to pull out more detail from the Burj Al Arab.
13. Color Efex pro contrast once more, as I wanted to pull out more detail.
14+15. Added more contrast to the whole photo.
16. Desaturated the photo a touch, as it was too colorful.

7 star reflectionOloneo Photoengine
7 star reflectionEdit in Photoshop

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:
Master exposure blending

As it is snowing like crazy in Bratislava today, I decided to show you how I edited one of my recent snowy photos :) So let’s take a look at it.

Hviezdoslav in the snowFinished photo
Hviezdoslav in the snowOriginal exposure

As you can see from the original photo, I had a lot to correct. I started with Lightroom, where I changed the white balance, opened the shadows, brightened the whites, added a lot of contrast and clarity to recover detail. From there I exported the image in Photoshop and did the following edits (layers numbered from bottom up):
1. Lightrom edit
2. Removed noise as I didn’t wanted to make it more visible in further edits
3. Color effex tonal contrast to get more detail, but brushed it out on the statue as that made it too dark.
4. Retouched out one huge snowflake in the left area of the photo, it just bothered me there :)
5. Color effex detail extractor, to get more detail and texture in the statue.
6. Stronger noise reduction on the statue.
7. Levels to get more pure white areas in the photo.
8. Color effex tonal contrast once more on the sky, to make the snowflakes even more visible
9. Added more overall contrast.
10. Desaturated the banners in the background.
11. Added more saturation to the text, to make it more dominant.

Hviezdoslav in the snowLightroom tweaks
Hviezdoslav in the snowPhotoshop edit

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:

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