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      03-15-2012, 08:31 PM   #1
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Photo Editing Tips for Automotive photography

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to start a thread where we can all share our tips on how we go about editing photos of our cars. I see a lot work on here and I somewhat am a noob when it comes to editing photos of my car; I feel like it doesn't pop the way I'd like and end up just doing a B&W rendition cause the color image just has too many flaws exposed. I come with a portraiture background so how I go about editing photos if I need CS5 is different hehe I already have that on lock down but would like to learn how to edit my automobile photos

What tools do you find yourself using the most (using cs5 here).

A lot of the times I'm generally using levels and curve for a proper white balance and contrast for the overall image (I don't like to go over the top with these tools first since I think you need to edit each part of the car individually).

other than that I use a lot of dodging and burning on a few layers and like to change the opacity of those layers to get a cleaner finish.

But even with this, I guess im just not experience enough to get the sorta pop i'm looking for (thus why I just resort to B&W). Any tips?

Ill provide a picture I took of my car (yup its stock sorry guys! hehe) and would like to see your rendition on how you'd edit it and know what you did/used to produce your final image.

Before:

After:

I know respond to this post would take a bit of time so thank you to everything that responds
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      03-17-2012, 12:48 AM   #2
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bump and share you bastards hahaha
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      03-17-2012, 12:13 PM   #3
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lol don't really know what i'm doing.. trial and error!! edited in Lightroom



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      03-17-2012, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panicos81 View Post
lol don't really know what i'm doing.. trial and error!! edited in Lightroom
haha thanks for contributing; I find it interesting that in your edit you somehow deleted my amber in the headlights hahaha
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      03-17-2012, 08:58 PM   #5
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Give me a little i'll post some up!
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      03-17-2012, 09:03 PM   #6
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Before^


After^

Did some cropping, white balance correction, improved exposure, and sharpened it.
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      03-17-2012, 09:10 PM   #7
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Before^


After^

Fixed white balance, sharpness, exposure, added a little blur in the background, stacked a photo of the hood open using layers and exposed the engine bay and some other stuff I probably forgot to mention.
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      03-17-2012, 09:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow_335i View Post

Before^


After^

Fixed white balance, sharpness, exposure, added a little blur in the background, stacked a photo of the hood open using layers and exposed the engine bay and some other stuff I probably forgot to mention.
i do like how the image doesn't appear as flat as it used to be; the front fender is given much more character and it stands out quite well. the contrast isn't over done at all either which I like.
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      03-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #9
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This if for you OP lol


Before^

After^
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      03-18-2012, 12:56 AM   #10
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Maybe a little crude, but the cars in the background were distracting to me.

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      03-18-2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spanner1751 View Post
Maybe a little crude, but the cars in the background were distracting to me.

wow! though the pillars aren't straight, you did a really good job in removing all the cars! what tools did you use to take them all out?
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      03-18-2012, 05:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemonkey1112 View Post
wow! though the pillars aren't straight, you did a really good job in removing all the cars! what tools did you use to take them all out?
Thanks. I used a simple PSE clone stamp tool. I'll try again to straighten out the pillars. The one part that I couldn't get right was the car roof just above the passenger seat.

Ok, I tried again and this is about as good as I could do. I'm sure that you could do better, and if you blurred the background even more, the cloning would be harder to detect.

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      03-21-2012, 05:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SERI335 View Post
damn, you guys are good! Slow_335i, is there a tutorial for using the layers option that you can refer me to? How did you select the engine and fade it in so well at the edges? I assume a tripod/ remote was used. That effect is awesome!
In my opinion, or at least how i'd approach reproducing this image. Tripod is necessary; so setup your camera where you'd like and leave it there haha. I believe he has 2 exposure of this image; 1 with hood up exposing the image and one with the hood down.

You can simply layer the two images and as long as your exposure is the same. the car itself will have the same exposure. You can start erasing the hood (be sure to change the opacity and flow of the brush so you don't get such hard edges on your brush) if you don't do this, your mistakes (no matter how careful you may be) will show and will look choppy. So I always work with w/ low percentages for both flow and opacity.

You will have to erase the hood from both images (on each layer while working on photoshop). since you are workingw two layers, 1 layer will compensate for the area will have erased; in other words, when you are erasing the hood off the image layer with the engine bay exposed, you don't need to worry about erasing the image of the windshield because the layer under that (image of the hood down) will still have its windshield.

at this point is a matter of balancing where to erase and playing with opacity of the layers to hide any rough edges and then you should be able to produce images like what he has.
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      03-21-2012, 05:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemonkey1112 View Post
In my opinion, or at least how i'd approach reproducing this image. Tripod is necessary; so setup your camera where you'd like and leave it there haha. I believe he has 2 exposure of this image; 1 with hood up exposing the image and one with the hood down.

You can simply layer the two images and as long as your exposure is the same. the car itself will have the same exposure. You can start erasing the hood (be sure to change the opacity and flow of the brush so you don't get such hard edges on your brush) if you don't do this, your mistakes (no matter how careful you may be) will show and will look choppy. So I always work with w/ low percentages for both flow and opacity.

You will have to erase the hood from both images (on each layer while working on photoshop). since you are workingw two layers, 1 layer will compensate for the area will have erased; in other words, when you are erasing the hood off the image layer with the engine bay exposed, you don't need to worry about erasing the image of the windshield because the layer under that (image of the hood down) will still have its windshield.

at this point is a matter of balancing where to erase and playing with opacity of the layers to hide any rough edges and then you should be able to produce images like what he has.

Thanks for the tip. I guess manual mode has to be used to keep the exposures the same between shots? For the post-processing step, I was also wondering if there was a more efficient mode of engine bay selection than manually erasing with the brush. I figure that in this image there are three layers?

1. the base pic with the hood down (hood erased)?
2. an overlay with the isolated exposedengine bay ( w ~30% transparency)
3. An overlay with the isolated hood (w ~80% transparency) - to give the lidded effect over the 'x-ray' image of the bay.

I'll try that out one day. Need someplace isolated where I can take the time to get the right shots. Cool stuff.
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      03-21-2012, 05:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SERI335 View Post
Thanks for the tip. I guess manual mode has to be used to keep the exposures the same between shots? For the post-processing step, I was also wondering if there was a more efficient mode of engine bay selection than manually erasing with the brush. I figure that in this image there are three layers?

1. the base pic with the hood down (hood erased)?
2. an overlay with the isolated exposedengine bay ( w ~30% transparency)
3. An overlay with the isolated hood (w ~80% transparency) - to give the lidded effect over the 'x-ray' image of the bay.

I'll try that out one day. Need someplace isolated where I can take the time to get the right shots. Cool stuff.
hummm I can't think of anything other that using the erasing tool. but if you find anything please do share; I'd like this thread to just grow will tips and tricks for editing hahaha
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      03-21-2012, 11:50 PM   #16
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Took my shot with the M3, its pretty close to the way slow edited his shot but i have some little tweaks.
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      03-22-2012, 03:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluespeed117 View Post
Took my shot with the M3, its pretty close to the way slow edited his shot but i have some little tweaks.
i love the texture you've added to the shot; the smallest detail of grain (you can call it noise if you want but I don't think it defects the pictures) found on the hood also just intrigues me.

Can you walk us all through as so how you went about editing this? It feels like an HDR without being overdone and gimmicky. I want to find out how to process like this.
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      03-22-2012, 04:56 AM   #18
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With the original photo, I had some issues with the composition. I felt that the car was sitting too low in the frame and had too much wasted space above the car. I cropped it down so you would focus more on the car and not have your eye wander around the frame. I used Lightroom's recovery slider to retain as much detail then messed with exposure to compensate for the dullness the recovery adds to the photo. I added contrast and messed with the fill light and Black clipping settings.

The photo felt a little warm so I cooled it down to suit the color of the car better. To get the texture out of the photo, I added clarity and vibrance to give it more depth. I then went and desaturated the photo so the colors in the back weren't too distracting. I boosted the highlights and lights and crushed the shadows and dark tones. Once i had all that set, I added a slight vignette to the image to focus your eye even more on the car.

As for the hood, I wanted to keep the exposure of the car as balanced as possible. Having the hood darker than the rest of the car just didn't please my eyes so I bumped the exposure of the hood. Im not sure where the tiny amount of grain came from since I only rose the exposure slightly, probably due to the image being JPG rather than RAW. I did the same exposure boost to the seats just to bring out even more depth.

I used the graduated filter tool to mimic a shallow depth of field. I feel I could have done better with it but it gets the job done.

After looking at the photo again, I probably shouldve cropped out the left side of the frame. There is a piece of pillar in the frame that is a little out of place but o well.

Hoped this helps you guys out in editing your photos. Oh and props to the photographer for taking the photo.
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      03-22-2012, 12:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluespeed117 View Post
With the original photo, I had some issues with the composition. I felt that the car was sitting too low in the frame and had too much wasted space above the car. I cropped it down so you would focus more on the car and not have your eye wander around the frame. I used Lightroom's recovery slider to retain as much detail then messed with exposure to compensate for the dullness the recovery adds to the photo. I added contrast and messed with the fill light and Black clipping settings.

The photo felt a little warm so I cooled it down to suit the color of the car better. To get the texture out of the photo, I added clarity and vibrance to give it more depth. I then went and desaturated the photo so the colors in the back weren't too distracting. I boosted the highlights and lights and crushed the shadows and dark tones. Once i had all that set, I added a slight vignette to the image to focus your eye even more on the car.

As for the hood, I wanted to keep the exposure of the car as balanced as possible. Having the hood darker than the rest of the car just didn't please my eyes so I bumped the exposure of the hood. Im not sure where the tiny amount of grain came from since I only rose the exposure slightly, probably due to the image being JPG rather than RAW. I did the same exposure boost to the seats just to bring out even more depth.

I used the graduated filter tool to mimic a shallow depth of field. I feel I could have done better with it but it gets the job done.

After looking at the photo again, I probably shouldve cropped out the left side of the frame. There is a piece of pillar in the frame that is a little out of place but o well.

Hoped this helps you guys out in editing your photos. Oh and props to the photographer for taking the photo.
very cool and thank you so much for your explanation; all of your comments and concerns over composition and such I completely agree with; It was taken too high for me and I did feel like there was a lot of distraction. as to exposing the hood separately (I find this very unflattering in a lot of my automotive photos; Where the car's exposure is not balanced properly), what tools did you us?
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      03-22-2012, 12:53 PM   #20
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Heres an old shot of mine with the hood partially cropped out.
Little different style then totally cropping the hood out. I find it flows better.
I was just doing a test shot so i didnt care if the car was dirty or not.
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      03-22-2012, 02:00 PM   #21
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Same technique, different direction....

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      03-22-2012, 02:03 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MP0WER View Post
Same technique, different direction....

haha looks good! glad to see you got a proper 6MT in there. Most of the e46s out here in LA have a sequential gearbox and i'm ehh about them haha

What i like best about your edit is that you made the door transparent all the way to the edge (showing as much as the driver seat as possible). On top of that, you still keep details of your door visible; very nice edit for what you were trying to do. Now just work on composition and get a nice shoot in ^_^
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