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Interior Photography Retouching Help - How to get

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  • Interior Photography Retouching Help - How to get

    Hi guys,

    I'm a full-time working photographer specializing in interiors and architecture.

    I do all of my own retouching and I feel like it's quite decent. I can mostly get good results out of the somewhat basic Photoshopping skills that I have. And after all, for what I do, I generally don't need to do a whole lot of complicated retouching.

    But sometimes I'm looking for a more slick and processed look for hospitality clients. This is where I start to have trouble.

    The following shots are from Nikolas Koenig's work for Edition Hotels:




    Photo 1: It is bright and airy, perfectly toned, and just all around flawless looking to my eyes. I'm not quite sure how he's achieved this look. It's very well balanced. Could be a bit more lighting trickery than I imagine (super soft light all around)?

    Photo 2: Just like the first photo, perfectly balanced with highlights and shadows. Light fixtures not blown out. Great glow coming from them. Everything very crisp but a great mood throughout the photo.

    Photo 3: Great color tone and lighting. Like all of the shots, seems like there's a lot of color work going on.

    Any ideas about some of the techniques he (or his retoucher) might have used for these photos?



  • #2
    Re: Interior Photography Retouching Help - How to

    Photo 1 - Obviously multiple exposures for inside and outside
    Photo 2 - Again multiple exposures, and again for the area near the window, but could be brightened up in PS as well
    Photo 3 - First row of candles brightened up

    Industry standard techniques, nothing "wild" here. So, Straightening verticals, cloning, healing, dodge and burn, color correction.


    • #3
      Re: Interior Photography Retouching Help - How to

      Thanks for the reply Skoobey

      I probably should have specified in my post that I’m aware that there are multiple exposures in all of the shots. It’s how I work as well.

      I guess the thing that gets me is that any transition between light and dark spots is really smooth. Like for photo 1, the edges of the curtains and the chair where it meets the outside exposure look really perfect from what I can see. Very seamless transition. These kinds of areas are always quite tricky to get looking really good and it looks quite natural in this shot I think. I pretty much blend these by hand but it never looks as pristine as it does here.

      Maybe I just need to go back and learn more about color correction, toning, and masking? :p


      • #4
        Re: Interior Photography Retouching Help - How to

        That is done by dnb. You shade to push transitions where you want them, smooth out surfaces, add or remove contrast or direct attention.

        There is not much to learn about it, really, it's about the practice. I would suggest you find a similar set of yours and keep working while keeping the reference file open as well.

        DNB is especially obvious in the second image, as the bed was darkened considerably.


        • #5
          Re: Interior Photography Retouching Help - How to

          All three images appear to be shot with natural light - based on the shadows, but I wonder if he used reflectors for fill, especially in the first one. Definitely multiple exposures for 1, maybe for 2, maybe not for 3. With the higher quality chips these days, dragging the shutter can work almost as well as it did using film, with more options to adjust after the fact.


          • #6
            Re: Interior Photography Retouching Help - How to

            I would say learn to mask really really well. If someone asked me to retouch something to a similar feel to the third, I would probably need to color correct that floor and get the brightness just right. Translucent curtains tend to make things look flat, so I might have to add some selective contrast to ensure that things like the couches read well. If it came down to it, I would lighten or darken individual panels slightly (I mean very slightly) get get sufficient separation.

            The same kind of thing applies with the accent pieces on the first, specifically the drapery like thing on the bed and the outdoor chair. Both of those are pieces that could be difficult to nail in camera.

            With light fixtures I would make sure you have shots with them turned on and turned off. That way you have good reference but can compensate if they're blown out. Ideally change to dimmer bulbs if they're too bright. It's easier to get a natural look that way without a lot of post. You can also mask out the areas around candles for something like the third.

            If this sounds complicated to you, hire someone to do it. I'm just eyeballing these, and this stuff pops out at me immediately.


            • #7
              Re: Interior Photography Retouching Help - How to

              Thanks for sharing this. I L O V E image #1 too! Such a gorgeous example.

              There is a lot of just slightly muted off color white in this image... with the true, brighter, purer, whites masked onto the pillows, the chair and the outside balcony and clouds. The eye will follow the brightest parts of an image even if its subtle. This photographer/retoucher uses his light to illustrate a story of great sleep, relaxing, the balcony and the ocean clouds. I get invited into each of the rooms benefits in this first image!!!. The outside blue/cyan is a beautiful complement to the wood tones. This image is a great combination of photography, Photoshop, craftsmanship and art.

              Here are some elements that an architectural photographer / retoucher will be aware of...and will seek to use... as he shoots a room for professional use. Its not exhaustive...but shows some of the areas and focus points a pro thinks about.

              1. Doing multiple exposures of each image element to get the fullest exposure range.

              2. Aligning each separate exposure image... and then fine tuning each layers best points with masking... to get the perfect balance visual balance.

              3. Separate images to account for different color balances of inside/outside/tungsten/strobe.

              4. Using an interior designer mindset to get just the right accessories, chairs and angles on each piece of furniture.

              5. Using a locked down tripod and a shutter remote controller to get 20+ registered exposures of the room... then registering and overlapping and individual layer masking of each element for that perfect end balance.

              6. Using non-destructive color correction adjustment layers to get just the perfect transparent color corrections. Using a full gray scale tonal range to male sure image has total richness and depth.

              8. Knowing how to balance indoor and outdoor for exposures and color balance and time of day differences.

              9. Using painting with light in the room or exterior to eliminate reflections, shadows and identifiable sources of light.

              10. The right use of camera lenses, tilt lenses, and multiple depth of focus exposures to get lines, planes and sharpness all perfect everywhere in the same image.

              11. Learning the use of Photoshop for proper importing, registering images, making masking layers for each effect, hand painting masks, adjustment layers for exposure, tonality range and color balance, keeping everything non-destructive so all elements can be adjusted and balanced in the end... to create the final balanced and perfect end product.

              Go here below to see 10 free YouTube videos on how to use cameras, lights and Photoshop TOGETHER... to get perfect looking architectural images. Good images are a balance of all 3 skills usually. Highly informative:

              There is also an absolutely professional and a very, very detailed 8 hour video training video course out on how to professionally shoot and retouch architectural images like these...indoors and outdoors. Its mostly made for professional use and it covers topics and solutions I have not seen dealt with elsewhere. Its expensive...but its one of the best practical / professional quality training sessions ive seen on this subject. Im not a salesman for this...just a happy customer.

              See the details of the 8 hour training course here:
              After years of perfecting his unique “light painting with speedlights” technique, Mike Kelley has quickly become one of the most sought after architecture and interior photographers around. Mixing artificial light, natural ambient light, and high powered strobe light, Mike’s images create a hyper realistic mood that has become a staple in the commercial and advertising world. Unlike traditional techniques such as single long exposures or high dynamic range renders, Mike’s light painting technique allows him to have the most amount of control over every light source seen in his images. It is only after you have seen Mike’s before and after examples that you can really appreciate just how impressive his work truly is.

              Last edited by ray12; 03-14-2016, 07:24 PM.


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