Candid photography: shoot documentary- style portraits of people at work

Candid photography: how to shoot documentary-style portraits of people at work

How to edit your candid photography: steps 7-12

How to edit your candid photography: step 7

07 Blend the smoke
Drag the new layer and layer mask above the smoke layer in the Layers panel, and reveal the smoke layer by clicking its visibility box again. Add a mask to the smoke layer and use a large black brush set to 0% hardness to hide the smoke from the lower part of the layer, then paint over the edges of the visible smoke to blend it with the surrounding detail.


How to edit your candid photography: step 8

08 HDR toning
Next go to File > Save As and Save the image as Photoshop file called ‘masterclass_final.psd’ to keep all the layers intact; we need to flatten the image before applying our HDR effect, and we want to be able to work on the layered image afterwards. Go to Image > Adjustments > HDR Toning. You’ll see a warning dialog asking if you wan to flatten the image: click Yes.


How to edit your candid photography: step 9

09 Combine the images
In the HDR toning dialog set Radius to 50px, Strength to 0.45 and Saturation to -10, then click OK. This creates a gritty, hyper-real effect which we’ll combine with our saved image. Go to File > Save As, save the image as HDR tone.jpg, then open the saved PSD file (masterclass_final.psd) and add the HDR tone.jpg image to it as a new layer, as in step 5; this time hold down Shift as you drag the layer across so that the two layers are aligned.


How to edit your candid photography: step 10

10 Reveal the HDR effect
Add a mask to the HDR layer, the press Ctrl+I to invert it from white to black to hide the HDR effect, then paint in the effect where you want it with a white brush. You can reduce the brush opacity for areas where you want to partially reveal the effect.


How to edit your candid photography: step 11

11 Boost the contrast
Add a Curves adjustment layer, and create an S-curve to boost the contrast: place one point a quarter of the way up the line and drag down to darken the shadows, then place a second point three-quarters of the way up and drag it up to lighten the highlights. Invert this layer’s mask, and paint the contrast boost into areas where you want it. Click the top layer, and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create a merged layer.


How to edit your candid photography: step 12

12 Vignette and fringing
To add a vignette go to Filter > Lens Correction and set Vignette Amount to -55. Finally, zoom in on the firemen’s heads and upper bodies, and you’ll notice purple and green fringing caused by chromatic aberration). To remove these select the sky with the Quick Selection tool, then use the Clone Stamp tool to clone sky pixels over the fringes. Repeat for noticeable fringes elsewhere in the image.

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


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