Cliché alert!

Yes, it’s a bike on King’s Parade, no prizes for originality, I know… but in an attempt to make something interesting out of a dreary January afternoon’s shooting in central Cambridge, I thought I would instead show you the stages in which the shot went through in post.

Stage 1 – That ugly bike lock

From the lens

A classically styled bicycle in a grand setting, but as you can see, the initial shot is completely dominated by by that bright pink lock. So first things first, use the clone tool to meticulously clone it out. This was actually more tricky than it first seemed, because when it came to cloning near the wheel, the replacement area needed to match the arch of the wheel itself. Hard to explain, but it was tough.

While I was there, I also decided to de-saturate the basket of the bike behind, so that the eye was drawn less by that too.

Stage 2 – Sky replacement

Sans lurid lock

I decided to replace the bright white, blown out sky with a subtle, cloudy but fresh looking one that I found on Google (this image isn’t going to be sold, so there are no complications there). I selected a colour range to map most of the sky and create a masking layer from it. Once created, I used a black brush to remove the white areas not in the sky, on the front of the chapel, for example. The hardest part of this was modifying the edge of the selection so that the tree had enough detail included in the selection, rather than a single outline.


Stage 3 – Vintage tone

The cherry on the cake really; the easiest part, but one that probably has the most obvious impact. Firstly, using a tone curve, I raised the mid and lower tones to effectively reduce the contrast. Once I was happy with the balance, I then applied a colour lookup layer straight from the stock Photoshop collection – “Kodak 2395” – and bing! “Jobsa good’un”.

If you actually read all that, liked what I did or would have done things differently, please do let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

Final image:

New sky, vintage wash