After Before Friday|One Photo Focus: September

The After Before Friday Forum is hosted by Stacy from Visual Venturing, it features a twice monthly behind the scenes look at various editing processes. Featuring a gathering of photographers all keen to learn from each other, 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 month the One Photo Focus image is brought to us courtesy of Ben Rowe at Aperture64. Pendennis Castle, near Falmouth in Cornwall, was built by Henry VIII in the 1500s to defend the river Fal from the French and Spanish naval threat. This castle brings back happy, carefree memories of travelling round Cornwall in my late teens with my friend in her old banger!

Ben very kindly provided us with several images, so I used these to create a HDR image in Lightroom and gave it a crop and some basic adjustments. I wanted to export it to Photoshop and then try something new (for me!) with it.

Here is the image with the basic Lightroom adjustments.

OPF - Sept before

I have really wanted to have a go at replacing the sky in an image and this seemed a great opportunity. I had a “sky image” that I had taken late in the evening on a cloudy day that was a bit more “dramatic” so I opted for this. My stages were as follows…

  • Opened both images from Lightroom as layers in Photoshop.
  • Duplicated the original “castle” layer.
  • Selected the castle and foreground and clicked the add new layer mask button which created a new layer with the sky chopped out.
  • Made sure that the masked castle layer was above the sky layer and used the brush tool to clean up the edges.
  • With the sky layer selected, moved it to where I thought was best using the move/transform tool.
  • Created a curves layer and a brightness/contrast layer for each of the images and clipped these to the layers so that they only affected those layers.
  • Attempted to clone out the benches and castle sign.
  • Saved and went back to Lightroom to add some final touches using the adjustment brush to sort out the shadows on the castle.

After I had done this I saw a post Laura Macky (click link to go to her excellent tutorial) had done about this very thing, I wished I’d seen it before, the selection process looked at lot less complicated. I tried again using her method too and used the magic wand tool (doesn’t that sound amazing!) to select the areas and saved them so I didn’t have to keep re-doing them. It was a bit more straightforward, although it still created quite hard edges which I softened with the brush. So, thanks Laura, I’ll try it this way again!

Anyway, here is my final image.

OPF - Sept

I would love to know what you think. I know that I need more practise with that clone tool, so any suggestions would be welcome!

Click on any of the images to see a bigger version.

Please go and check out the other versions at Stacy’s One Photo Focus

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23 thoughts on “After Before Friday|One Photo Focus: September

  1. Katie it looks great, isolating the castle without the distraction from anything else. I must follow yours and Laura’s sky tool as I have found it difficult to replace a sky myself. I will have to practice so thanks for your steps above. Great sky image as well 🙂

  2. Katie, I really like your moody sky. It looks good. The other thing about the sky I like, is your adding it on the left near the horizon. To me, this gives a feeling that the castle is high up. I really like it and the overall image 😃

  3. You did a brilliant job of replacing the sky and cloning out the benches, Katie. Thanks for describing your process and for also providing Laura’s link. I had seen her post but haven’t had a chance to get back to it. Really wonderful after image!

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