I usually have some hard time knowing what to do with this kind of project, specially because I have an image to work with but it jumps in the middle of the creative process. What I mean with this is, when I make a photo, I have the final outcome in mind before I press the shutter (maybe this is something that crossed from film) and I know what I want to do with it in processing. Grabbing someone else’s photo and deciding what to do with it is simply missing that “other part”, the why.
But here is my attempt.
In the beginning…
This is the original image Phill provided.
Before even trying to do anything with it, I started by trying to figure out where my eyes were moving in the image – the right upper corner. Not good. Somehow I wanted to focus on the patterns in the building, not in some clouds. Also, the separation between the edge of the building and the sky surrounding it didn’t attract me. So, time to correct this.
In Lightroom, lowering the luminance of blue and green and a slight S curve improved it. But there was still that patch of clouds on the right upper corner… Time for Photoshop and a little cloning.
This is the result after these steps.
Ok, so time to focus on the sky. It looks ugly now. Since the building is out of ordinary in design and gives a feeling of coldness and separation (at least to me), time to give it some out of ordinary sky and make it more “steel-looking”.
I inserted a channel mixer layer set to monochrome and a +62% blue. This layer was set to overlay with 75% opacity. Usually, this leads to an image with way too much contrast and saturation. So, a new curves layer, set to luminosity, was used to try and correct it and decrease the general contrast a bit. After this, time to give it the “steel-look”. A new hue & saturation layer with a 50% reduction in overall saturation.
It now looked like this.
I was starting to get happy with it. But my eyes were still not locking on the dark shapes on the building. Still too much distraction around the bottom. I needed more contrast in the building. A new curves layer to increase contrast masked for the building (excluding the sky) improved it. Now for the final touch, back in Lightroom. A little touch of vignette just to slightly darken the corners and really direct the eyes to those shapes in the building.
And this is it…
I won’t say this was the best way to process it, or even that I’d process it this way if it was my photo. But I was happy with the final result. I think the overall effect suits the building.
What do you think about it?