Amy and Nick are one of my couples whose wedding I am photographing later this year. They met up with me in Bryant Park in Manhattan this past weekend, and course we had to get photographs of them going for a ride on the carousel.
Every time they went by me on the carousel, I would fire off a series of images. The carousel presented a lighting problem in that towards the outside, it was brightly lit by clouded sun .. and towards the inside, it would be much more shaded. Usually I will try to control the contrast of a scene by using fill-flash of some kind. But in this situation with the carousel, and given the scope of this kind of shoot, getting a perfect photo in-camera would be impossible.
Simple on-camera fill-flash would not help here because there are parts of the carousel in the way. Also, as they swung by me, Nick would be much closer to me and the fill-flash would be of no help whatsoever in getting more light onto Amy.
Therefore, because of the wide range in exposure from the outside of the carousel to the interior, the images I took here needed some additional work in Photoshop to achieve the final result I envisioned for my couple.
For comparison, here is the image straight out of camera. The basic exposure is good, but of course the scene is very unevenly lit. The white balance is off too.
I started off by editing the RAW file mainly for exposure, contrast, and white balance. But I also changed the vibrancy, brightness, recovery and clarity. This got me to a basic image that looked good. I then converted this edited RAW file as the first of a series of JPGs.
I continued the editing process by adjusting the exposure slider on the RAW image. I then generated a second JPG which now had the exposure lifted a little bit to bring up the detail in the shaded interior of the carousel.
The third JPG that I created from the edited raw file had the exposure pulled down a lot to bring back detail in the outer areas.
I then layered all three of these images in Photoshop and used layer masks to blend various parts of the layers into the final image. I also burnt in the bright area on the pony in the front. And in this way I created an image which has even exposure across the relevant parts of the scene.
Finally, I felt that this image could use a little bit of snap, and
for this I used one of Doug Boutwell’s Totally Rad Actions again.
And here is the resulting image.
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