This is one of the most interesting files I’ve edited recently. Colour, lines, texture, shapes, tension, contrast, glamour… it has a bit of everything. In fact, it has so many different elements, I’m honestly not sure what to do with it.
While I’m thinking, let’s just have a look at how it was taken.
It’s about a stop under, but good enough. It was taken with an ageing combination of a Canon 350D and 55-200mm lens – not that it makes much difference, I just thought it was an interesting side note.
One of the first things I notice on the original image is some lens distortion. If you have straight horizontal and vertical lines in your image on a flat surface – a wall for example – it exaggerates the distortion. It’s also usually most pronounced at the wide end of the focal range of zoom lenses. In this case, you can see that the photographer has the lens set at 55mm which is its widest focal length. Ideally it would have been worth stepping back a little and zooming the lens in to around the middle of the range. It’s easy to say this in hindsight though – I have no clue as to how much space there is behind the camera.
I really like the composition of this photograph, so my crop is just for straightening purposes and trimming the fat around the edges. I’m just so glad the photographer got the whole of the door in the frame and didn’t cut anything off. The pieces of art on the wall are a bit surreal… the left-most picture appears to be a boat which reflects the surroundings. I love her pose, expression and the way she is stepping off the stairs… it gives the image tension. Your brain interprets the physics of the situation and you can almost feel a falling sensation. We’ve also got the contrast of the old, decrepit, mechanical ship and the young, glamorous girl. It’s a really great picture with lots of visual interest.
I pondered black and white, but I think I’m going to keep the colour. However the white balance is quite off – it’s too warm – so I’m going to take it down a couple of notches.
The other basic panel adjustments are creating some contrast – pushing the blacks and shadows darker and the whites brighter and also boosting the clarity. I decided to take the vibrance down, too. I think I’ll go in a slightly retro direction; I probably still have Instragram on the brain.
The split tone panel is not a panel I use very often. I’ve gone with a bit of a clichéd yellow highlight and blue shadow combination. You should experiment with the values for each as each photo is different. The intention is to give the image an aged/film look.
As mentioned above, distortion is a bit of a problem with this image but thankfully it’s not too difficult to improve the appearance. One of the great things about Lightroom is that it has built-in corrective profiles for lenses. Unfortunately the lens used is not that common and I couldn’t find a profile for it. As you can see, I chose the profile of the newer 55-250mm and it did the trick. Not perfect, but good enough for me.
You might notice a couple of the lines still look off… but if you look at the edges of the door you’ll see that these are aligned correctly. I chose to use the door as a point of reference because, at least by my logic, a wonky door is more of a distraction than a sloping wall.
After applying a couple of sharpening and noise reduction tweaks, and adding a post crop vignette of -10, the edit was finished.
Hope you like it!