How to edit your candid photography: steps 1-6
01 Edit in Adobe Camera Raw
Download our start images and follow along! Open masterclass_start_1.dng in ACR. Start by cropping the image for a tighter composition and to lose some of the tripod on the left. Next set Exposure to -1.00 to darken the image, then set Shadows to +50 to lighten the foreground subjects and other shadow areas. Set Blacks to +10 to boost the contrast, and reduce Saturation to -15 to enhance the dramatic feel.
02 Selective adjustments
Next select the Adjustment Brush from the toolbar. In the panel on the right set Exposure to +0.90, and make sure all the other adjustments are at 0. Paint over the firemen to lighten them, but avoid their helmets. Click New, set Exposure to +1.90 and paint over the helmets. Click New again, set Exposure to +0.50 and paint over the fire engine and grass. Click Open Image to open the image in Photoshop.
03 Clone out the tripod
Duplicate the ‘Background’ layer by pressing Ctrl+J, and select the Clone Stamp tool. Clone out the upper part of the tripod with pixels sampled from the sky (Alt-click to sample pixels), and the lower part with pixels sampled from the grass. The middle part is a bit trickier – you’ll need to sample pixels from the small area of trees in the background.
04 Tidy up the background
Take the Lasso tool, draw a selection around the trees and grass between the containers to the left of the fire engine, and press Ctrl+J to float this selection to a new layer. Use the Move tool to drag the copied area over the car, then press Ctrl+T to launch Free Transform, hold down Shift and drag a corner handle out to extend the layer to cover the car. Add a mask to the layer, and tidy up with black and white brushes.
05 Add more smoke
Open masterclass_start_2.jpg, and select the Move tool. Drag the smoke image onto the masterclass_start_1.dng tab, and when the start_1 image appears drag down onto the image, and release the mouse button to add the start_2 image as a new layer. Hide this layer for now by clicking its eye icon, then target the ‘Background Copy’ layer.
06 Make a selection
Take the Quick Selection tool, and paint over the firemen to select them; if you select bits of the background, hold down Alt and paint to deselect those areas. When you’re happy with the selection click Refine Edge, and in the Refine Edge dialog set Smooth to 8 to soften the selection. Choose New Layer with Layer Mask from the Output To menu and click OK.
PAGE 1 – Set up your camera for informal, candid photography
PAGE 2 – How to compose your candid photography
PAGE 3 – How to edit your candid photography: steps 1-6
PAGE 4 – How to edit your candid photography: steps 7-12
PAGE 5 – How to give your candid photos a documentary look
13 photo editing mistakes every photographer makes (and how to stop making them!)
How to process raw images the right way
34 Photoshop effects every photographer must try once
Crop photos the right way: classic mistakes and how to avoid them
Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer needs to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’