Monday, June 14, 2010

Tutorial! Part 2! Post production on the Battery Grip

Welcome to part two of my super exciting product photography tutorial!  Today I’ll cover some ways I edit my images once I shoot and upload them. My last tutorial covered set up and lighting the shot, which I got a pretty positive response to, thanks for that! Check out what flickr user kuwait zaizafoon made using the tutorial!

I’ll be teaching you post production using the same image of the battery grip from last week. The first thing I do after I open my image is to remove any dust or specs that I either forgot to try to take off before I shot, or that I didn’t notice while shooting. It’s a good habit to do that before you shoot so you save time in post, but I always like to jump right in. Plus, I have something to show you! Zoom in real close and grab your healing brush tool, whose icon is a bandage.

You’ll have to find a somewhat clean area that matches the same texture as where you’re going to clean up and then alt+click that area. I tend to use small brushes for things like this. Alt+click will set the area you are going to sample from. Then you just click on any white specs and Photoshop does it magic.

Perhaps you noticed that this grip is supposed to be black, but there is a reddish tint over the image. This comes from shooting on the wrong white balance. Auto white balance rarely works for me, and I’m too lazy to set a custom one because it’s a super easy fix in Photoshop and bad habits are hard to break. To make those blacks black all you have to do is create a hue/Saturation adjustment layer and drag the saturation down to zero. I use adjustment layers instead of actual image adjustment because they are non-destructive, which means you can edit them later with no harm to the actual pixels of the image. If your product has color in it, you’ll need to erase the Hue/Sat mask where that color is so that it comes through, as I did with the red sensor and gold pins on the grip. Now it’s starting to look a lot better.

If you look really close and at the right angle, you’ll be able to see that our image isn’t on pure white, it’s almost there but not quite. Another easy fix, add an adjustment layer of levels and push the white slider back a little until the white is pure. You can use the eyedropper tool to confirm. If your product starts to become washed out, just mask of the product so only the white is affected.

Last little adjustment is to make those dark areas just a tad darker so the whole pops. There is a bunch of ways of doing this; I tend to either use curves or selective color. We’ll use selective color here, make another adjustment layer for selective color and choose neutrals from the drop down. Then raise the blacks until you’re happy with it. I’d try not to go overboard with it though. It’ll hurt the overall look if the darks are too dark.

There are tons of sharpening techniques out there, and some of them are pretty in depth, but I try to keep it simple. Sharpening should always be the last thing you do because pixels change after the image gets resized. Resize the image to whatever you like and click Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen. For an image around 800 pixels high I would use 100% for the amount and 0.3 for the radius.

And that’s it! If you use this tutorial and come out with something awesome send it my way! Thanks.
Oh, and if you'd like you purchase this awesome battery grip, you can use code SOCIAL10 for 10% off!

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