This is a continuation of a 3 part series by London based photographer, Sean Tucker, on how to photograph large objects. Actually, that’s a rather inaccurate description of this series as Sean does a lot more than give a few pointers on how to photograph the objects in a studio. In perhaps what is a set of the most in depth tutorials you can find freely online, Sean goes through the entire process of shooting an object, editing it, and recoloring in with such a high level of precision and authority that at the end of the series, you’ll be able to do your own work like this with true confidence.
We’ve covered the first tutorial, and within this article we’ll feature both the second and third portions of the set. Click directly below for the link to tutorial 1.
Part 2: Editing
All the images shot in the first, with all the considerations taken during shooting on the purpose of the images, will be imported into Lightroom. At this initial stage, you’ll be changing levels and balances and then exporting the images onto a white background. Then you’ll use some of the drop shadows created while shooting, to put back into the background to give it some context – the latter done in Photoshop.
In the set of images taken, you’ll select the image with the gray card in it, and using the eye dropper tool, click on the gray card to neutralize any color casts or WB inaccuracies and return the image to what it should be naturally. Then select all images and sync settings, but only choosing the WB portion, making sure the color is more true than it otherwise would’ve been for all images.
Next, you’ll go on to Rate and Develop all the selected images. Rate them by selecting the keepers and hitting ‘4’ to give it a four star rating making for easy grouping afterwards. After which you’ll develop those rated images, taking the exposure, highlight, shadows etcetera, and adjusting them to a point where all detail is available for later processing, even if at this point there’s some ‘flattening’ of the image.
Lastly, before you exit Lightroom, you’ll be applying a lens correction to the images to correct for any lens distortion and then sync again for Basic Tone and Lens Correction. Now your images should be ready for export and use in Photoshop.
If you’re surprised at all to see how much can be done in LR, believe there is much more to it and if you’d like to become totally proficient in record time, look to our Lightroom Mastery to get you there.
Once within Photoshop, you’ll do the rest of the retouching to make the image set for upload to your site, or your client. You’ll be doing the retouching non-destructively, fixing the small imperfections with the liquify tool, clone tool, and anything else you need to make the product look flawless. At which point Sean will take you through the process of creating the cutout.
Remember you’ll be making 3 layers: A stamp visible layer used for cut out, another for the drop shadow, and a solid white layer, then using the pen tool to cut out the product.
Part 3: Recoloring
Shooting many different actual pieces just for a change of color takes time, space, and is impractical. For this tutorial, Sean shows how he is using the actual tangible fabric swatches, photographing them with a gray card for importing into the computer, for use to change the color of the object being shot – in this case a chair.
It’s interesting to see how Sean goes through the rather manual process of blurring and pixelating the swatches image to find the best actual color to use, and then how to apply those colors to the product. This process, while a bit tedious, will quicken with experience, and surely has applications to all sorts of things like clothing, cars, or take your pick.