In the Lab – “Starting Catcher” Post-processing Tutorial Part 3

In The Lab, Post-processing | August 22, 2015 | By

Catcher Before After

In part 1 of this three part post-processing tutorial, I made some basic lighting adjustments and isolated the player from the original background.  In part 2, I cleaned up a few details and added a grunge look to the player.  In this final session, I drop the player into a stadium background and make a few final edits to the overall image using:

  • Adobe Photoshop CC
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • On1 Perfect Effects 

So, without further ado, here is Part 3.

If you like the stadium background, you can find it and other great sports backdrops at


Questions?  Feel free to leave them in the comments section.




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In the Lab – “Starting Catcher” Post-processing Tutorial Part 2

In The Lab, Post-processing | August 12, 2015 | By

Catcher Before After


In part 1 of this tutorial, I made some basic lighting adjustments and isolated the player from the original background.  In part 2 of this tutorial, I work mainly in Photoshop CC to clean up a few details and add a grunge look to the player using the following tools/techniques:

  • Liquify tool
  • Topaz Adjust plug-in
  • Dodging and burning using curves adjustment layers
  • Saturation adjustments using hue/saturation layers


We’ll wrap up the tutorial in part 3 where I will drop the player into the stadium background and make the final image adjustments.  You can check out part 2 below.



If you have questions or would like to see additional tutorials on any of the tools used here, please leave a note in the comments.



In the Lab – “Starting Catcher” Tutorial (Part I)

In The Lab, Post-processing | July 30, 2015 | By

“Starting Catcher” is one of my favorite images and I’ve put together a couple of brief tutorials to share the workflow that I used in creating this image. Part 1 of this tutorial focuses on basic lighting adjustments to the subject in Adobe Lightroom and isolation of the subject from the background using the Topaz Labs ReMask plugin in Adobe Photoshop.  


For those with a keen eye ;), you will note that the image I chose for the tutorial is a slightly different pose than the original and, no doubt, the final product will not be an exact replica of the image below.  I typically edit my images in a rather “stream of consciousness” fashion which, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view of the image), does not result in my producing the same image twice.  You will, however, get a glimpse of my post-processing thought process and see how I use various tools to achieve this overall look.  

Stay tuned for Part 2.  If you would like to see more in depth tutorials on any of the tools used here, please feel free to leave a comment below.



The Lightroom Develop Module: Setting a custom white balance

In The Lab | July 16, 2015 | By

The first step in my post-processing workflow is to check and, if necessary, adjust the white balance in my image.  Lightroom CC provides three tools within the Basic panel for adjusting white balance.  You can choose from (1) a variety of presets (e.g. cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent), (2) you can move the temperature slider to the left or right (although I’m generally a bit over-caffeinated for this to be a realistic option), or (3) you can use the eyedropper tool as I demonstrate in the brief video below.

While the white balance adjustment in this example is rather subtle, you will achieve much more dramatic results when you apply this technique, for example, to images taken within a gymnasium.  Give it a try and let me know which tool you prefer!



PS – If you find yourself in a situation where “eyeballing” a proper white balance will not suffice, you might try one of the following products:

ColorChecker Passport

EzyBalance Gray Card

ExpoDisc 2.0 77mm White Balance Filter

**B&H Photo is my vendor of choice. Please note that these are affiliate links.


Quick Tip – Improve your food photography with glass block

Food Photography | July 13, 2015 | By

Most food photographers will agree that natural light makes for the best photographs.  Unfortunately, it is not always possible to take advantage of natural light.  In these cases you are left to artificial light, usually in the form of speedlights or strobes.  While artificial light can be used to produce beautiful images, it generally requires the use of some type of modifier as, on its own, artificial light tends to be harsh and flat.  Modifiers come in all shapes, sizes, and forms – from the DIY bedsheet diffuser to a professional Softbox.