This is the second part of a three post series on my post production workflow for architectural photography.
In part one I went through five steps that included:

  1. Import
  2. Sharpening of the image set
  3. Stitching together panorama shots
  4. Merging any HDR / blending images
  5. First round selection of images
So at this point I have a first round selection of images which is typically 150 to 300 shots. I’ve eliminated completely horrible images and made ready any special images like panoramas and HDRs. The next steps are about refining, improving and eventually polishing the final wow shots.

6. Adjust overall exposure

Because I’m shooting in RAW format instead of jpg I have more flexibility with my exposure. Raw files provide around 1 stop of exposure control up and down. So if the overall image is too bright or too dark I use Lightroom’s exposure slider to adjust it. The problem with the exposure slider however is that it’s adjusting the entire image, which is a bit like taking a meat cleaver to an image. So I use this slider sparingly and prefer to use the local adjustment tool.

Lightroom exposure slider

7. Check alignment of images

It’s a good idea to get your shots level when you take them (you can find out how here), but if I find a shot that is not spot on then I use Lightroom’s alignment tool to level it up.

8. Adjust white balance

I don’t play with white balance a whole lot, but on occasion I do adjust it in Lightroom. The primary reason would be to get internal white walls perfectly white, or to ensure a specific colour is spot on.

Lightroom white balance controls

9. Remove distracting elements

I remove distracting elements from a shot when I can. A couple examples would be a street lamp jutting in from the side, or a TV antenna from a neighbours house, or a bird in the distance that just looks like a black speck. These items tend to be isolated elements that are surrounded by one color, ie a blue sky, and therefore easy to remove with either Lightroom’s Spot Removal Tool, or with photoshop’s content aware fill tool.

10. Check and correct perspective

I try to get correct perspective in camera by using a tilt shift lens, but if for some reasons the perspective is off, then the image may warrant jumping out to Photoshop (or Gimp) and correcting it.

in part three of of this series I’ll go through the blue colour slider, local adjustments, round two selection of images, final selection, and export.