All-of-Emerson

When I decide to blog something unlike my photography it comes at a whim not something that is really planned out, prewritten down with bullet points, outlined and refined.  I am sure that this is noticeable in my writings and ramblings.
My black and white architecture photographs are totally different.  These are planned out, refined, reworked, touched up until the final product is displayed.  A point of conversation and questions has been contrast and details in my photography.  I would like to address that issue here.
For me it starts and ends with doing the little time consuming things.
 
Creating Selections:
After bringing the raw file into Photoshop and before transforming into black and white I go through a series of making and saving selections (Sky, building or each individual building, each side of each building, streets, sidewalk, glass, glass framing, poles, lights…etc)  The above photo had 42 selections which created a 2.4GB file (The more selections, the bigger the file).  In order to create the proper contrasts, depth and dimension for which I see as bringing the photo out of a 1 dimensional state. These selections are the entire framework of my completed photograph and is what I use to paint in shadow and light through the entire photo.  To shortcut this process will be shortcutting the end product.  Yes, this process is time consuming but needed.
A short tutorial on how to create selections:
>Duplicate or create background copy of photo (Just a habit, I do everything on duplicate)
>Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool (This is just my preference)
>Make selection with this tool around the area you are trying to save (The +Lasso adds to the selection, the -Lasso takes away from the selection)
>Once the area is selected that you want to save
>Select>Save Selection>Name your selection>Click “OK”
You do this for each individual selection you want. For as many as needed.
Once you have made some selections my practice is to delete the background copy and save file. I always save work as 16bit tiff files
I do this periodically throughout my work flow in the event Photoshop stops working and shuts down.  If that happens I would lose all of my selections and have to start over (I have learned this lesson the hard way)
I also do this at the beginning of my workflow on the color file because:
It is easier to make selections with the color difference
All selections follow all the saved Tiff files so when I convert to Black and white (Neutral copy, Underexposed Copy and Overexposed Copy) they all have the selections
How to load selections for processing:
>Selections>Load Selection>Choose selection from drop down> Click OK
 
Removing halos, dust spots, lines and banding effect:
Once you have your photograph at the end stage, your contrasts, design, depth, texture and feel all meet your expectations.  This final step is crucial and to many brings your photography into a more professional look.
The easiest step is removing dust spots.  This is simply zooming in to 200% and using the “Spot healing brush” and removing all dust from the photo and mostly concentrating on the sky.
Removing banding in the sky is as easy as adding a little noise to your sky only (Only as much as needed) and that will remove banding. I do this in Silver Efex Pro.
The most time consuming but yet the most vital is removing halos and lines from around areas where you made your selections and have contrasts of black and white.  The most obvious example is between building and sky.
Where dark areas meet light and these areas where manipulated in post processing you are going to find pixels of halos dark or light.  I have seen some beautiful work done only to be marked as unprofessional because the creator did not take the time to remove the halos from around buildings and objects (Remember the printing process is unforgiving when it comes to these errors).  How do I go about doing this.  I will use the building above as an example.
After my processing I want to remove the halo from around the outside of the building created by adjustments to building and sky.
>Create background Layer
>Load the sky selection
>Select>Modify>Feather>1 pixel
>Use Clone Stamp tool
>Create clone from just above area where halo (Dark or light occurs)
>Use clone stamp to remove halo
>Do this around entire building where needed (Dark to dark areas or light to light areas are not sometimes needed) only areas where contrasts of light to dark exist.
 
I use the same steps above for all other selected areas (Front of buildings to sides, Glass areas to framed areas, outside of lettering areas, outside of lights and poles…etc)
Any area that needs it.  Yes, I am a little extreme at zooming in to 300 or even 400% but that is what I do to remove all areas of halo’s, blemishes and lines.
 
These little but time consuming steps can take your work to the next level.
When a photograph can take anywhere between 20-40 hours of processing time.  A good portion of that time is spent on Selections and cleaning up of halos and blemishes.
Every photo is processed with the idea of being printed.  I have learned from my work process to talking and learning from others in different genre’s of photography, shortcutting the work flow shortcuts the final product.
 
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