Photo selection and editing
All of the selection and general editing is done within Capture One Pro, a powerful RAW editor by one of the most respected camera companies. It allows me full control using quick editing tools, so I can think more about the image than the technicalities of adjustments.
In general, working in post production after a shoot is a quite simple, if lengthy, process. There are two to three rounds of culls that must occur, even if every image is epic (which they never are of course). Then, if we did our jobs well on the shoot, there are some minor colour corrections to be made, and then some minor touch-ups.
For the most part, this is how the post-production process went, albeit there were a lot (and I mean hundreds) of bugs flying around which had to be removed. It wasn't until the final images had been decided upon that the heavy work began.
The first task was to export all of the images in the series that would make up the hero shot. Once done, The final round of picks with some minor adjustments was uploaded to the Events/Client section of the Photograph Tasmania website. As it was password protected, only the client was able to view the images. Carole made her final selection, which was then colour corrected and touched up.
Building the hero shot
There were two main steps to creating this shot. The first was to find a good pose out of the 141 images taken. There were none that worked on their own, so an amalgam was made of two separate photos. Only the right arm was added to the main image, which allowed her to "hold" the material up on both sides, thereby making the image seem authentic.
The second step, creating the flowing gown, required cutting out the material from every image and layering and blending until it gave the impression of a single piece of clothing. Thankfully, Pixelmator Pro made the process relatively simple. The selection tool is not like traditional tools, where you trace around the edges relying on the software to find the right edge (like Photoshop's magnetic selection tool). Instead, Pixelmator Pro highlights an area that it considers to be of a similar nature. Moving the cursor around changes this area, extending or retracting. Holding the mouse button/trackpad down whilst selecting adds to the area.
Each layer did require some cleaning up where the selection tool didn't quite get an edge properly. There was also some softening of the edges required as the material had a frayed edge (something we couldn't control). The layers were grouped by position, then moved so that smaller footprints were placed in front of the larger ones. Finally, opacity was set so that some of the details could come through, like a real dress made from that material would behave.
Thankfully, because the shoot was static, any scene showing through the material was exactly in place compared to the plain background.
Finally, some colour correction and touching up of blemishes was required - again quite a simple process. The healing tool was incredible, being able to remove blemishes quickly and flawlessly as I watched. The healing tool, unlike Capture One Pro which uses an adjustment layer, Pixelmator Pro paints pixels on a new layer.
This was the first shoot where I had used a second, so we had a good mix of photos from the same poses. It also meant we got quite a few good behind the scenes shots.
In all the excitement, I had forgotten to take a photograph of the scene for the hero shot without Carole in it. This made it harder to finalise the image, so I made an amalgam of a few images to get as close to the full scene as possible. Any part of Carole I couldn't remove would sit safely behind her final pose.
There are some more technical articles planned for the finer details of the process. Stay tuned.