SOTD in the making

Some of you guys wanted to see how I create my SOTD pictures. In general, I take two different styles of shots, one involves using a LED cube for high key shots and the other involves taking a series of shots in the dark with a method called light painting and later merging those shots into one.

After merging I use software to enhance the picture to make it shine and pop.
Below I have tried to put together a 10-step walkthrough to let you in on my secrets.

  1. Used equipment
    1.  Hardware
      1.     Canon 60D
      2.     Canon kit lens EF-S 18-55mm
      3.     Hähnel Giga T Pro II wireless remote trigger set replaced by Hähnel Captur Timer Kit
      4.     Manfrotto tripod
      5.     iPhone 8 with “Light Paint” app
    2.   Software
      1.     Adobe Lightroom CC Classic
      2.     Adobe Photoshop CC
      3.     Nik Collection
  2. Choosing the shaving gear
  3.   Stage the scene
  4. Setup the camera, focus on the objects one by one, go to manual focus and go into dark mode (i.e. in this shot I first did step 4 and 5 for the splash, then 4 and 5 for the brush, etc., etc.)
  5. Use the iPhone as a light source to paint in the light with the “Light Paint” app, using the full white screen on highest brightness setting, whilst the camera is in Bulb mode, which I trigger with the remote trigger.
  6. Repeat step 4 and 5 until you have enough good lighted pictures of all the objects
  7. Clean up the table. (yup…OCD)
  8. Post processing
    1.     Lightroom CC
      1. Import the pictures into LR
      2. Set the lens profile and sync this across all photos
      3. With all pictures selected, export this to Photoshop as layers
    2. Photoshop CC
      1. Select all layers and auto-align them
      2. Sort the layers and color label them to remind myself which layers are focussing on what objects. The colors are randomly chosen.
      3. With layer masks, paint in the portions you want from all layers
      4. Make sure you go through every layer mask and make sure there is no light spill
      5. Flatten the image
      6. Crop the image so there is no more transparent space visible again
      7. Use the healing brush in different ways to correct blemishes/dust/particles/flaws
      8. Save and quit to LR, remove all other images and use the merged image in next steps
    3. Nik Collection
      1.  Export to RAW Presharpener for extra sharpness
      2.  Export to Dfine to remove noise
      3.  Export to Viveza 2 for colour corrections
      4.  Export to Color Effex Pro 4 for extra contrast
    4. Lightroom CC
      1. Use the brush tool to do the final touches for clarity, contrast and saturation
      2. Scale, rotate, crop
      3. the file, save and export
    5. Before
    6. After
  9. Post to social media
  10. Done

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