Running Late: A Quick Look Behind the Scenes (Photo Shoot & Retouch)

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: May 3, 2012

Category: General

Hi Folks,

Well as promised, following on from yesterday’s post here’s a quick look behind the scenes (B.T.S.) to show what went into making my recent ‘Running Late’ picture…

The original photograph of model Stuart Warren who played the part of a London Gent was taken during one of my Photography & Photoshop Workshops  a couple of weeks back now.

Also on the day we photographed my good Buddy Dave Clayton who played the part of a Boxer who looked like he’s been in a fight and finished a resounding second place; I’ll cover that image in a later post.

Anyway, Stuart was originally shot against a slightly darker than mid grey roll of seamless paper which is what I photograph people against 99% of the time when I’m looking to put together a composite. To be honest going into the workshop I wasn’t completely sure what background I was going to eventually put in behind Stuart; a wall or indeed a scene of some kind so photographing him against this grey background gave me the flexibility to choose at a later stage.

I used a 3 light set up which was made up of 2 Strip Boxes to the side and behind of Stuart and to the front a Beauty Dish with Honeycomb Grid for the more directional light, slightly softer look and fall off that it gives the further down your subject the light goes. Also a Silver Lastolite Tri Grip Reflector was used to kick a little bit of light up under Stuart’s chin and into his eyes albeit very subtle.

So here’s what the out of camera shot of Stuart looked like alongside what it looked like after the first stage of editing and before moving him over into the background:

As for the background, in yesterday’s post I went through how that was put together where one side of a street was flipped and you can check that out here [Link]

So here’s what the initial shot of the background looked like and then next to it after the Good side had been flipped and certain parts had been removed and others built up:

As for the initial editing done to the background aside from the flipping and cloning bit, it was all done using one single image and not a multiple image HDR; however I did apply a HDR toning adjustment in Photoshop CS6 to bring out the details and give it the initial look.

Talking of HDR, it’s not something I generally do for my backgrounds however when I’m shooting background images I do shoot maybe 5 to 7 bracketed shots. From that series of shots I’ll choose the one I feel has the best balance of shadows and highlights and it’s that one I then work on…does that make sense?

Ok so once both Stuart and the background image had been edited most of the work had been done so when it came to putting the two together, once Stuart has been cut out from the grey background it was Play Time coming up with the final look and feel that I wanted. As for what I did…being completely honest I can’t remember everything (didn’t use Photoshop’s History Log) because it is what it is…play time; I’ll do a number of things, go away, come back and do more things until I’m happy BUT never go through the whole retouch in one sitting; remember what I’ve said before about becoming ‘Pixel Blind’?

Don’t rush to get an image finished. Sure if it’s for a client and you’re on a tight deadline then that changes things but wherever possible slow yourself down and do the edit/retouch in stages; I guarantee your initial thoughts of what you want it to look like will change and you’ll get a better result.

As for the workshop I had a blast and it’s been superb to see some of the great results that everyone has been posting up that they have edited; each and every one different to the other.

Thanks for a great day folks 🙂

So, that’s a quick look into how I came up with the Running Late picture. The other image I need to finish from the day of the workshop is one of Dave as a Boxer so I’ll be sure to post that and do a little walk through of that too.

In the mean time though if you have any questions or comments at all about what I’ve covered in this post then as always feel free to make use of the comments section below.

Is there anything particular about the editing you want to know? Would you be interested in me covering the HDR toning? Just let me know and I’ll look at putting something together either on here or included in a future webinar/online training.

Oh, on the subject of training I’ve just released new dates for the next Workshop and Webinar/Online training. You can see the dates over on the right hand side of the screen but I’ll also be posting them out and more in Issue 2 of my free Newsletter which will be going out in the next couple of days.

Right, must dash so have a great day and I’ll catch you later,

Enjoy 🙂

ps> Check out Running Late and more of my pictures over in my 500px Portfolio here [Link]

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  1. Darren House

    Glyn some more amazing tips!

    The flip background will work for a great image i have of St Pauls as one side had loads on work going on.

    Will be giving that a try!

    Hope your well!

    Looking forward to Newsletter #2 🙂


  2. Glyn

    Will be interested to see how that comes out Darren.
    Quick Tip: When you flip it and line them up, overlap a but and change the Blend Mode of the top layer to ‘Difference’. Makes lining up things really easy and when you’re done just change it back to ‘Normal’


  3. Christian

    Yeh you shoulddo something about HDR toning!

  4. Darren House

    Only just seen your reply 🙂

    Cheers that’s a great help would have never known that 🙂

    Would be great to be able to login on here and save the details and then get comment replys just a thought 🙂

  5. DaveT

    Glyn – I do like these BTS posts they are so useful.

    Looking at your tip for Darren. I know that PS can merge layers for a stitched Panorama from a series of images, but if you wanted to check the alignment of any layers, I would think your tip of using the ‘Difference’ blend mode would work well for that too.

    Thanks for sharing

  6. Russ Robinson

    Haha, I really like the term “pixel blind.” 🙂 Describes the situation perfectly. Since I only shoot bands & musicians, I normally explain it to the client in terms of having to step away from a mixing & mastering session when everything begins to turn to white noise. This usually gets the point across, but I’ll definitely hang on to “pixel blind” as well. Great post!


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