Below is a case study of the steps I took when professionally taking photos for the Traddock Master Bedroom. The original article can be found here: http://www.matthewheritage.com/gettingtheshottraddock.
Step 1 – Prep, Composition and Base Image
The room has some lovely Victoria features including a large detailed period mirror, king size bed, claw bath and brass chandelier. The room needed to show a lived in feel rather a being clinical show peace. The dressing of the room was completed with books, desk features and magazines which was added for the homely feel. I wanted to capture all features in a single frame while still controlling the perspective.
I obtained the image to the right as base composition for my shot. I will be doing some exposure blending of multiple images in processing so its important to start of with a good base, capturing highlight (bright areas) showing detail without blacking the shadows. This is not always possible in high contrast conditions but on this occasion a decent balance existed.
Step 2 – Composites
This process involves the capturing of different flash lighting detail that I will be later using to form a composite image in post processing through a technique known as exposure blending.
There was a total of seven images taken with help of my assistant on various points of interest throughout the room. I therefore used wireless triggered speedlight to bounce flash of a reflector which softens the light. I went for a gold reflector as it matched the ambient tones and interior styling of the room. There is a light located behind the bath that throws light upon the wall and onto the ceiling, this did’n’t show in my base image so I also wanted to create this affect artificially by bouncing the light of the reflector to blend it later. I also added a little golden fill light to the bed, chair, bath and near side floor.
Step 3 – Exposure Blending
The base image and all the other composites are first aligned in Photoshop to ensure accurate blending. Using layer masks and the paint brush option, then I careful blended the images together. Only showing the flash bounced light whilst excluding my assistant. This help creates dynamic lighting, sharpness, saturation, more contrast and finer detail in the darker areas.
Step 4 – Perspective and Line Correction
Through using a feature in Photoshop named wide angle lens adapter you are able to correct the following two things things.
a) Thing 1
To obtain the correct perspective you most make sure that your camera is completely level by using a spirit level . Any slight deviation up or down will result in what is know as convergence, this where lines in the image move apart from each other creating a false sense of perspective. The original image has the slightest of converging lines (if you look at the right and left side of the second image they are moving away from each instead of being vertical). The process of correcting converging lines is done through photoshop by drawing where the lines should be and selecting their appropriate angles which ensures that images perspective isn’t skewed.
This process also corrects one of the design flaws of a wide angle lens which is the stretching and exaggeration of space and objects.
b) Thing 2
Therefore as shown in the two comparisons, the left being the original and the right being the corrected one. The stretching is corrected giving it a more normal perspective.
Step 5 Removing – Unwanted Detail
The removing of wires and other unwanted features is carried out in Photoshop where cloning techniques are employed hide such details.
Step 6 Final Processing and Crop
Using a variety programs like Photoshop, Lightroom and Nik Colour Professional the image is sharpened and contrast added. Also localized colour balancing is applied and various other techniques to add depth and colour to the image. Finally the image is cropped twice, one wider and one closer to give the clients options.