This image came together very much like a recorded song. When you listen to a recorded song you are hearing the final product put together from multiple parts. From the notes, chords, and melody played by various instruments and singers. The choice of instruments, amplifiers, microphones, reverbs, effects, etc. all play a role in the sound. Then the recording process takes those sounds and enhances and balances them until they all work cohesively to what the artist(s) has in mind for the final output.
I liked this shot of a street musician I took in Charleston but I found the background a bit too distracting. There was a traffic light near the top and a car passing by on the street. I knew the car was there when I shot it and I subsequently took more shots without traffic but for some reason I liked all of the other elements in this shot better than the others.
Time to go into the “studio”!
So my first thought was to crop out the traffic light, easy enough, and then figure out what to do with the remainder of the background. I decided to use a layer mask in a solid beige color to mask out the background. I, of course, removed the mask on the left side of the photo and some of the bottom, allowing the sidewalk to kind of fade away. Right away I knew I wanted to add some textures since I have fun experimenting with them and I haven’t used them on this type of photo before, so I was curious how that would work.
The textures looked good but I still had too much of a blank area on the right so I changed the opacity of the masked area to bring back in some of the original background. The building across the street was red brick, which I didn’t care for, so I stayed fairly subtle on the levels to show only the doorways. This looked good to my eye but I still had that distracting passing car, so I went the clone route and got rid of it which significantly simplified the background. I followed up with some saturation and contrast levels and ended up with my final product.
Perfect? No, probably not. I would have liked a bit more space under his feet at the bottom, and that can be done, but I had to stop somewhere, else I would be processing forever. Just like when recording a song – you can play with levels all day and take multiple takes but eventually you have to say good enough for rock-n-roll!
A little TMI?