After Before Friday: Week 48

The After Before Friday Forum is hosted by Stacy from Visual Venturing, it features a weekly behind the scenes look at various editing processes. Featuring a gathering of photographers all keen to learn from each other, each week we post an image before and after  editing. If you want to find out more, or just visit and look at the images, click on this link. This week I am going back to a picture that I edited in an ABFriday post a few weeks ago. An appropriate image as our country asserts its democratic right. We might not all be happy with today’s result, but at least we have the right to choose. St Stephen's tower-after When I first edited it, I couldn’t find a way of removing the distracting roof in the top left corner. However, with the launch of Lightroom CC, I decide to take the leap with the Adobe photographers plan, including Photoshop (which I have just summoned up the courage to download). It is going to be a huge learning curve, but in a nerdy way, I am really looking forward to it. Anyway, it gives me the opportunity to revisit this picture with the chance to remove the offending thing at the top! Like I said, it is a steep learning curve, I am starting at the bottom and have been looking up tutorials on the internet like crazy! There are plenty out there! Heres what I did… Firstly, I opened up the original image in Lightroom, then right clicked and chose open in Photoshop. Then I tried to select the top area and used the content aware fill to remove it. This presented a problem as it removed the roof, but left a line along the edge, not good! Then I tried using the healing brush on that line and it just looked a mess. There had to be a better way! I found a video on removing unwanted areas on Planet Photoshop, which gave me a much better way of doing it. It suggested that when you make the selection, you click Select-Modify-Expand to increase the selection edge before you fill the area, this worked a treat, no hard edge anymore. It did duplicate the spire at the top unfortunately, and no amount of unfilling and refilling would alter this, so I used the lasso tool to select the area and again used content aware fill to get rid of it. I saved it to go back to Lightroom, then added a post crop vignette to even out the edge tones and lightened it up a little. Elizabeth Tower - after again I feel that it is a big improvement on the last after, what do you think? Comments and feedback are welcome. Please have a look at the other AfterBefore images on Visual Venturing 


After a comment by The Twilit Lens regarding the halo around the tower (I had been too busy concentrating on the roof removal to notice this before, but now, despite that you can hardly see it in the post image, when I look at it in LR it is glaringly obvious!) I decided to see how to remove it. There seem to be many, many methods, in the end, using the healing brush on the edge worked best for me. So here is the after, after, after image. I promise, I won’t post any more versions now!! 🙂

Elizabeth Tower - after again, and again!


32 thoughts on “After Before Friday: Week 48

  1. You can’t get much more iconic than Big Ben. Wonderful shot and article. Thank for sharing this. Photoshop and Lightroom have some fantastic tools, don’t they? By the way, is it just my eyes or am I seeing some slight haloing at the top of the tower? I sometimes see this in my own HDR work, and it becomes a point for further editing. But it’s minor at best. Good job, Katie!

    1. Hi, thanks so much for your wonderful comments they are really appreciated. Lightroom and Photoshop do have some really great tools, its very interesting to see how they work together. So far I’ve just been using LR, but now can see that PS will expand my capabilities. Looking at the top of the image back in LR, I could also see some fringing, maybe this is the next technique to learn! Thanks again and thanks for the reblog!

      1. When I looked at it again zoomed in close, the fringing was all over the tower. I have now found a technique to get rid of the halo and used it on the image. Like I said, this going to be a steep learning curve, maybe I should be writing it all down! Anyway, I’ve updated the post with the new image. Thanks for the input, I appreciate it!

      1. I’ve never used Aperture before, I always found iPhotos such a hassle to use, so avoided it by association! I’ve loved using Lightroom, so I suppose Ps seemed the “next step”, so far so good!

      2. Aperture is a great programme, way ahead of iPhoto, but now superseded by a much less functional programme.

    1. Thanks Ben, I really appreciate your comment. I’ve just updated the post after removing the halo round the tower edge. There is so much to learn with Photoshop, it is going to be great fun, and yes, I am keeping an eye on your Digital Darkroom posts!

  2. As Ben said, congratulations on signing up for Photoshop CC. Very nice work on this image; I also remember the earlier version and agree that this is even better. Maybe my eyes are going, but I didn’t notice the halo on my monitor, but I am a big fan of the Edit-Fill-Content Aware tool. As you have already found out, when the offending object is rather large and very close to something you want to keep, the tool will often bring in some new details that were not wanted. One way I have found to be helpful is to first use the clone tool to eliminate a small part of the area targeted for removal that is closest to the object you want to keep (in your case, the tower). Then if you “loosely” select the remaining section (I use the polygon lasso and set the feather to 0 pixels) it often does just fine. I tried it on your before image (with a very small brush for the clone part), taking out about 5-10% of the roof and then applied the Edit-Fill. Seemed to be fine and took less than a minute. That’s one of the great things about PS, there are usually at least 5 ways to solve a given problem.

    1. Thanks Robin, for your considered comments, they are very much appreciated. I had a quick go on the roof area using the method you suggested and it worked very well. Like you said, there seem to be many ways to get the results you want in PS and with a bit of practice, I hope that I can remember what is available to use! You can only see the halo a little bit on the image in the post, but when I looked back on the NEF file, it was quite obvious, and it gave me an opportunity to find out how to “mend” it. I’m looking forward to learning lots more about PS!

  3. Great work on this! Removing unwanted pieces is something I struggle with. My favorite is the clone tool, but that can be limiting. when there isn’t an area that can be duplicated.

    1. Hi Sabina, thanks for your comment. The content aware fill worked a treat, I needed to make sure my selection extended a few pixels over the edge of the object, but once I did that it filled it perfectly. Check out Robin’s comment too, he really knows what he’s talking about!

  4. Katie, for reasons you already know, this is the better image 🙂 Thanks for spelling out what worked as well as what didn’t. I usually stick to the clone tool, only because I can’t seem to get the others to work for me (totally user error). So I’m going to pick a photo and go back in, trying what you describe. And Robin’s solution too. This is such a basic PS action but so powerful and really should be part of my post-processing arsenal. Great iconic image of the glorious Big Ben!

    1. Thanks Stacy, there are many ways to get to the same end in PS! I’m finding, there is more problem solving than with LR! I hope you have some joy with these techniques. 🙂

  5. For the life of me I can’t find any halo, or any real difference, between the two after images. Maybe it’s very subtle, and so many haloes on images posted on the web are anything but subtle, mostly caused when the sky is radically darkened. It’s a nice shot!

    1. It’s very subtle on the web sized images, but very noticeable on the larger files before they were exported to use in WP. I am glad it was brought to my attention though, I have to admit to not really noticing or knowing what it was and what to do about it, but now I do! Thanks very much for taking the time to comment.

  6. Hi Katie – enjoyed reading about the PS learning – and for some reason I just cannot see the halo that the other blogger and you noticed. I looked and looked…

    1. Hi, this is what everyone is saying!. I assure you that when I look back at it in LR, it really is obvious and it has given me something new to fix/learn. Every day is a learning opportunity as they say! 😉

  7. I’m still looking but see no halo in your After- just an incredibly beautiful, iconic image. Love the angle and the clarity against the sky!

    1. Thank you so much Lita. We all see things in very different ways. I see this as a very imposing building, as you say an icon that is familiar to us from a very early age and I wanted to bring this out in my picture. Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate your comment.

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