Lumination Bookmark This page

Jeanne left a comment concerning a photo posted on SpittoonExtra as an illustration of the Arnaldo Capria Cookery School; basically asking if the picture was HDR. Well yes, sorta, is the answer.

Technically HDR should be a composite of multiple exposures. This particular photo is but a single shot, run through Photoshop and a Topaz labs filter and then cropped. Thought it might be interesting to compare the original and the final result, which, I should add isn’t quite right.

The original photo simply didn’t work for me. The lighting is off, there is a random head portion on the left and a mobile phone and hand on the right plus the strip lights are dominant. Then there is fact that the people are all holding cameras and/or moving. Even the chefs hand is annoying. And don’t get me started on the light fallout against the chaps elbow…

A photo to be rejected immediately; except that I needed something to set the scene of the cooking school and this was the best of a poor bunch. As is the nature of these things, on such tours and visits in large groups as this was (as part of the IWinetc 2012 trip to Italy) one has no control on the situation.

What I do like about the image though is the dramatic sweep down the table cloth and the organised array of colanders and placemats. While not a great photo it has potential I thought. So with a little cutting to emphasise the sweep and to remove the annoyances and a play with a Topaz HDR pre-set the final picture was the result. But it still isn’t quite right. The red is too dominant – look at the knitted sweater on the left; should have toned that down and the fruit on the right are too saturated too…

The third image is another attempt; the red has been toned down for example. Workflow – denoise (as taken at high ISO) using Topaz DeNoise 5, Sharpened using Photoshop Unsharp Mask, Topaz Adjust 5 HDR filter, dodging over red inside Topaz Ajust, resized to 1000 pixel width in Photoshop.


  1. Well, I am flattered that you take any notice of my ramblings!! ;o)

    Interesting – so it is and isn’t HDR. Definitely agree with the crop and the HDR- like effect but yes, it does v odd things to the reds. Although the sweater is better in the 3rd one, now the red on that knife handle is freaking me out! Nitpickers anonymous ;) Really interesting post!

Leave a Comment »


Galleries on 500px and Instagram


© 2011-2014 Andrew Barrow All Rights Reserved